When our three children were little, that seems like an age away… they are now all thirty or older, I was determined they would not be exposed to artificial colourings and flavourings. I was also on a strict budget, as in those days, buying your first house was a massive undertaking with interest rates 15% and higher. So, I made as much as I could from the produce our garden pumped out.

As a new mum, it was a productive time in many ways. Our herb knot garden in Ballarat grew an abundance of herbs all year through. Our kiwi fruits, citrus, apricot and plum trees bore well and the vegetable garden grew a veritable feast.  Nearby, farmers grew all manner of stone fruit, and pome fruits and sold off the excess in large boxes for a song. You could pick raspberries from the farm, blackberries from farms who didn’t spray them, and mushrooms directly from the paddock.

Our choices were terrific, and from the kitchen came all manner of flavoured drinks, preserves, vinegars, jams and tasty goodies.

A move to Queensland opened up a whole range of tropical fruits for us . The garden not only grew herbs, and vegies, but bore Panama berries, white Shahtoot mulberries, Davidson’s Plums, bananas and mangoes. Another QLD garden now and we have an even bigger range.

Many of these fruits make the most wonderful drinks and syrups, and we are rarely without bottles of them in the pantry or fridge. The Davidson’s Plums combined with cinnamon are a culinary delight, rose apple cordial with star anise is wonderful, star fruit with star anise is equally awesome. Pineapple cordial (Tepache) is indulgently spicy and the citrus, well, they are the backbone of all cordials.

So, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you our Lemon and Mint Cordial. I show teens how to make this at the Council library workshops I run,  and they love it. So easy for them to make their own cordial and to have a hand in drinking to their health.

I don’t recommend you drink it all the time, as like all cordials, it’s sweet. But when water is not as appealing, an occasional dash of lemon mint cordial is thirst quenching and refreshing.

Give it a try. It’s easy.


150 ml lemon juice

2 ½ cups white sugar

2 cups water

1 teaspoon Cream of tartar

1 teaspoon Citric acid

½ cup fresh mint leaves (my preference is for spearmint, but apple mint or Chocolate mint are also nice.)

Add the lemon juice, sugar, water, Cream of tartar and Citric acid to a saucepan.

Turn the heat top high. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 1 minute before removing the saucepan from the heat

Add the mint leaves and stir them through the hot liquid.

Ste aside until it cools sufficiently to handle.

Pour the cordial through a sieve lined with kitchen muslin to strain out the mint leaves.

Bottle it into sterilised, warmed bottles. Seal and store in the fridge. I find it keeps safely for 1 month

If you wish to keep it longer, it will need to go through a Fowler’s bottling outfit in suitable heatproof bottles.SERVE


Serve diluted with chilled water or soda water and add some fresh mint leaves, lemon slices or flowers to each glass of cordial.