A little bit of rain goes a long way to ensuring the health of trees. Thankfully, that is exactly what we are getting today. As the City of London issued a tree watering alert yesterday, I am sure that everyone is happy to see that precipitation, plus the cooler weather that it brings. Hopefully that will help not only the grass, shrubs and trees in your yard, but also the trees that provide us with food now and in the upcoming weeks. I am talking about apple, pear, peach, plum, cherry trees and more.
Of course there are other ways to enjoy trees, aside from nibbling on their fruit. All this heat leaves me thirsty and in mind of exploring what summer drinks can be made from my favourite thing – trees!
A TOAST TO TREES
What’s up first? What about popping the top off an icy cool beverage on a hot day? Sounds good doesn’t it? So, who’s interested in a glass of delicious birch beer! Doesn’t that sound refreshing?! Check out this recipe from Group Recipes.
- 5 gallon crock
- 4 quarts finely cut sweet birch twigs
- 1 gallon honey
- 4 gallons birch sap
- 1 cake soft yeast
- 1 slice toasted rye bread
- Measure 4 quarts of finely cut twigs of sweet birch into the bottom of a 5-gallon crock.
- In a large kettle, boil together the honey and birch sap for 10 minutes. Pour over chopped twigs. When cool, strain to remove the twigs. Return to the crock.
- Spread cake of soft yeast on the slice of toasted rye bread. Float on top of the beer in the crock. Cover with a cloth.
- Let ferment until the cloudiness just starts to settle (about a week, but it depends somewhat on temperature).
- Bottle the beer and cap tightly.
- Store in a dark place and serve it cold after the weather gets hot.
- It should stand in the bottles about 3 months before using. If opened too soon, it will foam all over and pop worse than champagne.
**This is not a drink for children
**Sweet Birch, also called Black Birch… Sweet birch or Cherry birch has a fragrant bark and twigs that smell of wintergreen. The sap flows about a month later than maple and much faster than maple. You tap the trees the same as maple but must gather about 3 times as often.
**The sap also can be boiled the same as maple but the syrup is much stronger, more like molasses.
Perhaps you are looking for something that is a little more appropriate for the younger set though. Have I got a summer drinks suggestion for you! What about a glass of icy cold sumac lemonade (recipe found at Frugal Village) to whet everyone’s whistle on a hot summer day.
- Sumac berries
- Sugar to taste
- Gather about half a dozen clusters of ripe sumac berries.
- Place them into a bowl or pitcher and pour cold water over them. (Use more water for a milder drink and less water for a stronger lemonade.)
- Take a spoon or fork and crush the berries thoroughly.
- Place the bowl in a cool place and let it sit for a while to let the berries infuse into the water. Let it sit longer for a stronger taste.
- When the taste is to your liking, cover the container with cheesecloth and drain the liquid into another container. You can then throw away the remnants of the berries that have been trapped in the cheesecloth.
- If you want to sweeten your lemonade, you can add sugar until it is to your liking.
We can’t forget Canada’s favourite tree either. Here’s a summer drink made from maple trees that begs consideration. I found this one at Ask Men, and it is something that I will definitely try at some point soon. Have a gander at;
MAPLE OLD FASHIONED
- 2 oz. bourbon whiskey
- 1/2 oz. maple syrup
- Slice of orange
- Dash of bitters
Measure maple syrup into a glass. Add some ice, pour in bourbon a bit at a time, stirring in between to ensure you’ve properly combined it with the syrup. Add a splash of bitters. Rub an orange slice around the inside of a rocks glass, add fresh ice, and strain the bourbon mixture into the rocks glass. Garnish with orange and serve.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think that I need to whet my whistle. Cheers!