Drinking Jars

Drinking Jars

Posted by The Wares Team on 29th Aug 2020

This year has proved to be something of a topsy-turvy year in more ways than one, with the Coronavirus lockdown turning everything on its head and the weather mixing things up quite a bit to boot. At the start of lockdown, we had 10 weeks of unseasonably warm, dry weather in early Spring. However, this was followed by some on-off, stop-start summer sunshine alternating with cold, windy and wet weather during what would have been the start of the school summer holidays, and this weather pattern looks set to continue for a week or two at least. As September approaches though, we’re hopeful for some late summer sun and opportunities to get back outside to enjoy our gardens, and to visit the beach and countryside for some much-needed fresh air and relaxation. In today’s blog post, we’re going to talk about some fun and delicious drinks for your outdoor entertaining over the coming weeks, with some great ideas for serving these drinks too.

What exactly are glass drinking jars?

If you’ve never heard of glass drinking jars, you may be wondering what on earth we are talking about. Drinking jars have become extremely popular in recent years, and they essentially look like a jam jar with a handle. Just like a jam jar, they also have a lid, and this typically has a hole for a reusable straw. They are great for outdoor parties and barbecues, and also for picnics or days out at the beach because their lids mean that you can’t spill their contents and those pesky wasps that are so annoying at this time of year can’t get into your sweet-smelling cocktail or mocktail. On the beach, you can enjoy your drink without getting sand in it, and wherever you are, having different coloured straws means that you can keep track of which glass is yours, even if you pop it down on a table with other people’s drinks.

Drinking jars became popular a few years ago in the trendy hipster bars of Hoxton, East London. Those hipster bartenders were looking for inexpensive ways to stand out from the crowd and offer their customers something new and different. So they decided to serve drinks in old jam jars, and the craze really took off. As the idea spread into mainstream culture, the concept was refined and glass drinking jars were manufactured with lids and handles to make the experience a little easier. Handles mean that hot drinks, such as mulled wine, or warm coffee liqueurs can be served and enjoyed, as well as cocktails served over ice.

Summertime drinks ideas

Now that we’ve convinced you of the joys of drinking jars, it’s time to think about some fun and mouthwatering ideas for homemade drinks to enjoy in them. Earlier in the year, we talked about making elderflower cordial and how sensational it is. Now, assuming that you didn’t strip those elder bushes completely when you made your elderflower cordial, those remaining flower heads should have transformed into sprays of ripe, dark berries, and these are just about ready now to be transformed into elderberry cordial.

You’ll need about 500gms of ripe elderberries - weigh them after you have stripped them from the stems using a fork. Wash the berries and get rid of any leaf or stem debris, then place in a large maslin pan, with 500ml of water, and the rind of a lemon. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the fruit has broken down into a mushy pulp. When the berry mix has cooled, strain it through muslin into a bowl, pressing the pulp to get all the liquid out. Put the juice back into the maslin pan, and add 400gms of sugar and the juice of that lemon we used earlier. Heat the liquid until the sugar has dissolved, stirring gently. Once all of the sugar has gone, pour the cordial into clean, sterilised glass bottles and seal. When you’re ready to enjoy, dilute it with water as you would any other cordial. It’s also delicious diluted with vodka or gin, for a simple yet grown-up drink.

If you’re having a few friends or family over, lockdown rules permitting of course, then you might want to create a few cocktails and mocktails for everyone to enjoy. A fruit punch is a great idea, as it’s quick and easy to prepare, and you can create an alcoholic version and a non-alcoholic version to keep everyone happy. Start with a fruit juice base, and add whatever fruits you have to hand. Orange juice and pineapple juice are great for a tropical base, and you could then add vodka or rum to it, to give it that alcoholic kick, and garnish it with halved strawberries and sprigs of mint. For the alcohol-free version, simply add some fizzy mineral water, and load your drinking glasses with ice, before serving.

If you’d like to share your recipes for summertime drinks, we’d love to hear from you and see your photos. Get in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!