NZ Woman's Weekly

Summer syrups

With summer just around the corner it’s time for barbecues, picnics and sharing food with friends and family. A favourite old-fashioned, but responsible, thing to do is to provide cordials mixed up in jugs with sparkling soda water, a few sprigs of herbs and a sprinkling of fruit.

I found a lovely old recipe for lavender syrup, which makes a fabulous sparkling drink when mixed with soda water, and it got me searching for other cordials that Nana would have made, to share with our friends and children.

Lavender syrup
1. Cut eight lavender flowers, leaving 5cm of the stem beneath the flower.

2. Make up a honey syrup – mix two cups of water with 1/2 cup honey and bring to the boil.

3. Turn the heat off and add the flowers to the syrup. Leave to steep for 30 minutes and then pour into a sterilised bottle, flowers removed.

4. Mix with water 1:5, add a squeeze of lemon and enjoy.

My husband is a big fan of grenadine, which is made with the juice of pomegranates. New Zealand nanas probably wouldn’t have known what a pomegranate is, but Indian nanas would. Now the fruit is sometimes available in local stores, but I have visions of making grenadine for my husband from pomegranates I have grown, so I bought a tree to plant in our garden.

So far it is only about half a metre tall, so we might have to wait a while. But it did come with this lovely recipe for grenadine. If you can’t find pomegranates, you can use bought pomegranate juice (no sugar added) which you can sometimes find in ethnic food shops and supermarkets.

1. Juice four pomegranates. To do this, cut in half, turn over onto a plate and whack the back of the fruit until the seeds pop out onto the plate. Do this with each of the pomegranates, until you have harvested all the seeds.

2. Put in a food processor and whizz briefly to release the juice. Do not grind up completely or the seeds will give the juice a bitter taste. You just want the juice to start gathering. Put all through a sieve to strain off the juice.

3. To make grenadine, combine equal portions of pomegranate juice and sugar. Let stand for 24 hours, then bring to the boil and simmer until it thickens and turns syrupy.

4. Pour into sterilised bottles, seal and store in the fridge.

5. Mix the grenadine 1:5 with cold still or sparkling water.

Rose syrup
I make this every summer as it goes very nicely with a shot of gin and then topped up with soda water. I call it Turkish Gin.

  • 400g sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75ml rosewater
  • A few drops of natural food colouring, if you want it pink

1. Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes – do not stir.

3. Add the rosewater and food colouring, if you are using it. Stir and simmer until it thickens slightly – a few minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and let cool before pouring into sterilised bottles and storing in the fridge.

Do you have a Nana recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at: or write to Nana’s Pantry, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

Issue 1541

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