Under Grandmother’s Sink

swing top bottles

Your grandmother’s kitchen didn’t have modern appliances or electrical gadgets, nor was the décor regularly updated. It may have had an icebox and a monster stove, but despite the utilitarian atmosphere, the most delicious treats scented the air. Home-made bread, malt loaf, scones and teacakes regularly emerged, smothered in butter and jam.

Apart from the food, grandmother’s kitchen contained a number of other cute and funky items that grew out of fashion for a while but are now part of an ongoing style renaissance – Mason Cash style mixing bowls, balance scales, swing top bottles and whistling kettles. Add a few of these classic items to give your kitchen a traditional air.

Drinks in Swing Top Bottles

Among the treasures of grandmother’s kitchen were a collection of swing top bottles in which she used to store things like home-made cordial, iced tea and ginger beer. These are incredibly easy to recreate and the array of colourful bottles looks beautiful.

Blackcurrant Cordial

The colour of this blackcurrant cordial is vivid and delicious:

  • 450g blackcurrants, washed and stalks removed
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 260ml water
  • 1 lemon
  • Sterilised swing top bottles

Add the blackcurrants, sugar and water to a heavy based pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the lemon rind and juice. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pass the cordial mix through a fine sieve and a funnel into the sterilised glass bottles and store in the refrigerator. Dilute with sparkling water and serve cold, with ice-cubes.

Tangy Iced Tea

This iced tea has a wonderfully refreshing citrusy twist:

  • 6 teabags
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 10 sprigs mint
  • 300ml fresh orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Mint leaves

Brew up the teabags with 1.2 litres of water and the sugar. Add the mint leaves, infuse for 10 minutes, strain and allow to cool. Once cool, stir in the orange and lime juices. Serve cold with ice-cubes and decorated with slices of orange and more fresh mint leaves.

Virgin Ginger Beer in Swing Top Bottles

This is an alcohol-free version of the traditional ginger beer which is beautifully simple to make:

  • 100g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, chopped
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 litre of lemonade or sparkling water, chilled

Add the ginger and lemon to a blender with 300ml of water and whizz until very smooth. Strain the mixture to remove the bits, add the sugar and blend again. Pour through a funnel into sterilised glass bottles and store in the refrigerator. Dilute with lemonade or sparkling water to serve.

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