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History Cookbook: Redcurrant and Raspberry Cordial

This recipe is in category Stuarts
About this recipe
Healthiness : (169 votes)
Difficulty:  2 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: You need to boil sugar and water together to make syrup - this can get extremely hot; please take great care and get a grown up to help.

Mashing can be done in a blender but it is much more fun to do it by hand. If you have washed your hands properly, then they are probably the best mashers of all!
Preparation Time: 20 mins + 1 hour for fruit to strain
Cooking Time: 3 mins
Number of servings: 12-14
Serving suggestions: Dilute with water, sparkling water or soda water - add ice to make a really refreshing summer drink
This is a vegetarian recipe

Redcurrants are native to Western Europe and became more popular in Britain in 17th Century and have since been hightly valued for their healthy properties: lots of vitamin C, many minerals and much fibre.

Raspberries are similarly healthy (and don't lose that in preserving - they freeze well without any preparation). They probably came over with the Romans who were great raspberry lovers.

In the 17th Century, sugar became both more popular and easily available (due to the Transatlantic Slave Trade - see The Abolition Project) and fresh fruit became thought to be harmful to the digestive system, so it was mostly eaten cooked.

The Cordial makes a delightful summer drink and combines the Stuarts love of sugar with their suspicion of raw fruit.

Once made, it can be bottled and kept in the refrigerator for a week or two.

It is a cordial and so it needs watering down (like squash) when you drink it. In Stuart times, it may well have been combined with brandy as well as water. Today it is good with lemonade or soda water, if you like something less sweet, and ice, to make a refreshing and healthy drink for a warm summer's day!!!!

Tip: If, like me, you cannot bear to waste the fruit pulp that is left when you have strained the cordial, combine it with cooking apples and use to make a delicious crumble, brown betty or pie.
For the syrup:
  • 350g sugar
  • 600ml water

For the cordial:
  • 450g redcurrants
  • 225g raspberries (both these weights are approximate a little more of one or the other will not make much difference) 
  • 125g sugar
  • 200ml cold water
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Masher or pestle & mortar
  • Fine sieve or muslin cloth
  • Bottle for storage
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

Start with the sugar syrup:
  1. Slowly heat the sugar and water together in a saucepan, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved
  2. Bring to the boil and boil for 2 - 3 minutes (until it becomes a little syrupy)
  3. Set aside to cool

For the main cordial:
  1. Put water and sugar to boil in a saucepan
  2. Meanwhile, remove any stalks or green from the fruit
  3. Crush the fruit well with a masher or wooden spoon or largish pestle
  4. Add the fruit to the water and stir well
  5. Strain the fruit mixture through a muslin cloth or fine sieve
  6. This may take some time, so leave it to drip for an hour
  7. Mix together the syrup and cordial
  8. Bottle and keep in a fridge
Redcurrant and Raspberry Cordial - print view  Redcurrant and Raspberry Cordial - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
There are 5 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Christine 20th July 2015
Still being discovered, made and enjoyed in 2015. I'm on my second batch of the year as the first went so quickly, enjoyed by all.
Name: Jane Plant 18th August 2014
Not at all time-consuming and quite delicious. I often use more redcurrants than raspberries., as I have more of these, but still delicious, a bit more tangy, and very popular with the family. However you must keep it cold as sometimes there have been explosions! I sometimes freeze my concentrate in ice cube trays to make it last longer, if I've made a lot of bottles.
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