I’m the kind of drinker who’s dancing topless on the coffee table after a thimble of Chablis. And I know the tedium of the tepid glass of juice that is the usual offering at a party, if you’re not drinking alcohol. So, for Granny’s big bash (see previous post), I wanted to offer the sober folk something with a bit of a zing in it. This lemon cordial has a lot of zip, due to the large amount of zest in the syrup, and the addition of tartaric acid. I served the lemon cordial mixed with soda water, and funneled into  recycled Italian juice bottles. The pretty party straws were purchased from www.shopsweetlulu.com, where I also found the beautiful candles that I used in the cupcakes (again,see prior post).


1.5kg (3lb,4oz) sugar
1.5kg (3lb,4oz) lemons
1 litre cold water
1 tbsp tartaric acid

Things to know; the standard supermarket lemon here in NZ is the Meyer lemon. Whilst their sweetly floral juice is lovely, it does not have the tang that we’re looking for here. Hunt out Yen Ben’s or Lisbons for a sharper edge in the cordial. Also, I would usually use a Microplane zester to grate lemon rind, but here we need long shards of zest, so use either a box grater or, for the very patient, an zesting tool that peels away thin strips.

Grate the rind of all the lemons, being careful not to include the bitter white pith. Then juice the lemons. Stir the sugar into the water in a large saucepan. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat, then add the grated rind and tartaric acid. Bring syrup to the boil, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, then funnel into clean bottles. Store in the fridge, keeps for up to 2 weeks.

To serve: use cordial in a 1-5 ratio with iced water or soda water. It is particularly good with a sprig of bruised mint tucked in the glass.