'Christmas in a bottle' is how Sarah Moore describes her Sorrel cordial.
After seeing her recipe for mulled wine on www.woodfordandwarner.com, I began to feel I’d got my timing wrong.
However, I was assured that the non-alcoholic cordial is ideal for all seasons.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what sorrel was, although I had a feeling it was leafy and green. Although it’s a herb with arrow shaped leaves used in salads, it’s not the type used in sorrel cordial.
Sarah uses Caribbean sorrel, Hibiscus Sabdariffa and a recipe from her native Trinidad.
The dried sepals are boiled with cinnamon bark and cloves, before being cooled, strained, sweetened and bottled in old fashioned swing-top bottles.
As well as being completely homemade the cordial has no additives or preservatives and its rich crimson colour simply comes from the brightly coloured hibiscus flowers.
I mixed the cordial with chilled, sparkling water which made a refreshing, distinctive drink: ideal for a driver at a party. It would equally go down well with children who would love the colour.
A splash of cordial in my gin and tonic provided a twist on an old favourite, and although Roast in Borough Market serves up a hibiscus martini made with Sarah’s cordial, I experimented using it in my favourite cocktail, a margarita, which I drank from sugar-rimmed glasses. Absolutely delicious.
Sarah has also now teemed up with Taywell Ice Creams (www.taywell.co.uk) to make a richly coloured Sorel sorbet. As well as making a great summer pudding, Sarah suggests floating a spoonful on the top of a glass of prosecco.
For a more substantial pudding, cover your favourite fruit (I used cherries) with cordial and poach for 10 minutes, gently stirring to ensure the fruit is well coated. Serve chilled or with a scoop of sorbet.
Sarah was right, both the cordial and sorbet are versatile and are now both store cupboard staples.
Sarah began Woodford and Warner two years ago having being made redundant from her job in retail as it was something she could combine with bringing up her two young children.
I suspect we’ll see much more of Woodford and Warner soon as Sarah is full of ideas for expanding and diversifying.
Hopefully the next thing on her list will be giving us some more seasonal recipes and tips on her website! After all, Christmas only comes once a year.