I’d like to start today’s suggestion with a lecture on etymology. I was going to start it with a pun but I got distracted. Both meanings of cordial come from cordialis ‘of or for the heart,’ from Latin cor (genitive cordis) ‘heart’. I don’t know that I would consider ‘cordial’ and ‘heartfelt’ synonyms but they technically are.
So, anyway, how to get from ‘heart’ to ‘sweet drink syrup’, the answer is via medicine. A cordial was originally a draught to stimulate the heart. If you think of a lot of traditional cordially flavours you can see the continuation of this medical theme. Dandelion and Burdock, and Sarsaparilla were both ascribed a myriad of health benefits. Kind of like today’s health drinks that are ‘rich in antioxidants’ or whatever dubious health trend is kicking around this week.
Anyway with this in mind I have scoured the net for interesting, traditional and faintly medicinal cordials to stimulate your heart all the way through into next month.
Mr Fitzpatrick’s is a survivor of the Temperance movement (which we are bringing back, someone come up with a snappy hashtag). Mr Fitzpatrick’s still own and operate a little Victorian bar situated in the Lancashire town of Rawtenstall. There’s something a little Victorian about some of the flavours on offer as well. Blackcurrant and Liquorice, Sarasaphilla, and Rhubarb and Rosehip sound like offerings from an old fashioned sweet shop. All of them taste amazingly of what they are supposed to.
Five Valleys offer some sugar free options like Apple and Lemonbalm and Cherry and Elderflower. They also have exciting offerings like Coconut and Kafir, or the more British Sloe and Raspberry via Cherry and Beetroot and Peach and Lychee. They are the winners of a taste of the West and Great Taste awards.
Available from Waitrose and fine food shops and delis from £3.25 for 375ml.
If Five Valleys are adventurous, some of Thorncroft’s flavours are just plain weird. Do you really want nettle cordial? Or kombucha? Why not just buy kombucha? The flavours are based around the flavours of an English Hedgerow (Rosehip, Dandelion and Burdock disguised as ‘Detox’ which makes sense, except maybe the kombucha).
Available online £3.49 for 50ml
Apparently this isn’t a cordial, it’s a ‘water enhancer’. Take from that what you will. There’s three coconut variations, fruit flavours and a tea and lemon. If I can get instant lemon ice tea I can carry around everywhere I will ignore any stupid jargon they like. These are kind of handbag sized and also 0 calories, it’s sweetened with stevia which is the go to ‘natural’ sweetener.
These organic cordials are made with fruit, sugar and Devon spring water. And that’s about it! Made outside Exeter, these are easily available throughout the UK in Lime, Blackcurrant, Orange, Summer Fruit and Ginger.