Whether you're taking part in Dry January, want a refreshing change from flavoured tonic water, or have children to distract from fizzy drinks, cordial needs to be at the top of your shopping list...
If you've ever taken a refreshing sip of bottlegreen, fruit-flavoured spritzer or margarita, you've probably tasted a cordial. An unsung hero of the mixology world, cordial is a vital ingredient in any bartender's arsenal. While you probably associate the term with schooltime lunches, cordial has transformed from being a simple, generic splash served with a squirt of water into a tasty, complex and premium drink.
Still not entirely sure what a cordial is exactly? Don't worry, you're not alone. The definition of a cordial is something that is regularly debated amongst drinks experts across the world. In Ireland, cordials are mostly a mix of sugar, water, acid and some sort of flavouring from fruit, flowers or herbs to infuse the drink. Think elderflower, passionfruit, apples, rhubarb, etc. Cordials can come in both still and sparkling form with the latter gaining popularity in recent months as a healthier alternative to fizzy drinks.
Most popular in the cocktail world, cordials save time whilst bartending as they serve as flavouring agents as well as mixers. Even though they're sweet, cordials have an impressively smooth and subtle flavour that enhances even the most savoury of drink recipes. So, whiskey lovers, fear not — it pairs well with a wide range of spirits, providing just a splash of fruitiness.
But how and why is it a staple for Dry January, we hear you cry. Well, thanks to its versatility, cordial can be enjoyed over ice on its own or mixed together with some other non-alcoholic ingredients to make the perfect mocktail. Plus, during Dry January, you're likely to fall prey to cravings. However, a refreshing cordial can satisfy your thirst for a specific type of boozy beverage.
So to help you stay sober through the first month of the year, we reached out to the pioneers of cordial, bottlegreen for some delicious mocktails that are so good on their own, you won't even think about adding vodka.
Spiced Apple Chai
For a fruity take on a tall chai, this wonderfully creamy mocktail uses contemporary ingredients such as oat milk and turmeric to give a little seasonal pick me up.
- 150ml oat milk
- 1/2 tsp turmeric chai powder
- 15ml apple and plum cordial
- Grated nutmeg, to garnish
- Gently heat all ingredients in a pan. Once warmed through, serve in a heatproof glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.
Spiced Berry Mulled Wine
Because who says mulled wine is just for Christmas? There's going to come a night when you crave a 5pm glass of wine. Rather than fall to temptation, whip up a delicious batch of this spiced berry mulled wine. A warming blend of blackcurrants, Aronia berries and aromatic spices take this classic to a new level.
- 25ml spiced berry cordial
- 200ml hot water
- 75ml cranberry or cherry juice
- Orange and cloves, to garnish
- Heat all ingredients in a pan with a cinnamon stick before garnishing with an orange slice and cloves.
Hot Apple Cider Margarita
The much-loved classic Margarita receives a refreshing makeover with this creative spin on mulled cider. The sweet notes of honey and apple juice are perfectly paired with the rich warmth of ginger & lemongrass.
- 175ml pressed apple juice
- 1 tsp honey/agave nectar
- 20ml ginger and lemongrass cordial
- 1 star anise
- Cinnamon sugar rum and dehydrated fruit slice
- Gently heat all ingredients in pan, serve in heatproof glass, with a cinnamon sugar rim garnish.
READ MORE: How to do (and stick with) Dry January