wild ideas for... christmas
a golden, sparkling treat for christmas
Christmas is a special time of year as we come together with close ones, give and receive and celebrate all that has gone and all that is to come. It is also a time to indulge – a time to eat and drink like kings and queens! So, to help us all stay ‘Merry and Bright’ we’ve devised a wildly delicious and golden cocktail or mocktail that will inject an extra little bit of sparkle into your festivities.
Makes enough cocktail syrup for four martini sized drinks
For the golden syrup...
Six sprigs of Mahonia flowers
3 springs of Christmas Tree (we used Nordmann Fir)
3 Slices of Lemon
One heaped tablespoons of brown sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter taste, or swap for local honey)
1 Pint of water
To complete the drink...
Sparkling wine or Champagne
Or for a mocktail, sparkling water or ginger beer
Half a lemon
A sprig of Christmas Tree
A few individual Mahonia flowers
- Place all the ingredients into a pan on the hob and bring to the boil. Then simmer on a high heat until the syrup has reduced by half.
- Leave to cool and then pour into a sterilised air-tight jar or bottle. The syrup will be fine to use for two to three months if kept in a cool, dark place.
- Take a glass of your choice – we like a champagne saucer or martini glass shape for this cocktail – rub the rim with some lemon juice and then dip the rim into some Demerara Sugar. Then pour some of your syrup into the base of the glass – about one finger in height – and top up with sparking wine, sparkling water or ginger beer.
The result should be a tasty green lemon and floral cocktail the colour of the golden star adorning your Christmas tree. Cheers!
Mahonia produces sprigs of bright yellow flowers (left) throughout the winter months and is an important source of food for insects during this time, so only forage on special occasions and leave plenty for our little friends! It is easy to spot in gardens and parkland at this time of year not only due to its beautiful golden and fragrant flowers, but also its leaves which are spikey like Holly and often take on a bright red hue. The flowers are edible as are the berries it produces in the Spring which can be used in jams, jellies, cordials and liqueurs.
Mahonia is a fantastic shrub to help with conditions such as Psoriasis and arthritis as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The berries can also help stomach complaints if used in small quantities.
fir, spruce and pine
Most Fir, Spruce and Pine varieties are edible and can add a delicious festive flavour to all sorts of creations. There are a few which are toxic, so please do ensure you know the variety before you pick and consume. Also avoid all members of the Yew family as they are highly toxic. Firs are great for helping with symptoms of coughs, colds, and chest infections. They are also useful in oil form for muscular aches and pains.
Always follow foraging guidelines relating to picking and consuming wild items.