February is dry. Not hot and dry, always, but usually it is both in the Huon Valley. Dry, so that the Welsh-like green hills burn off to a golden brown under the power of the sun. We daub on the sunscreen and get out the kayaks, and spend quite a bit of time watering the garden and filling the wallows.
We also like to drink a cordial or two. For us, the fruit is usually the inspiration. An ice-cold lemonade is even better with a little makrut lime and ginger added to it. Strawberries are made all the better for a touch of rose geranium (and I don’t really mind a bit of vodka in the resultant drink).
And watermelons, while pretty sensational cut into giant slices and eaten chilled straight from the fridge, also make a marvellous drink at the end of a hot day’s play.
When making these drinks and cordials, the idea is to produce something of flavour. And if you’re chugging down plenty, use just a hint of the makrut cordial rather than a lot. If you’re having a few adult mates around, be generous with the gin bottle, and if it’s for the kids, perhaps it’s best to make sure they don’t consume their body weight in sugar before the day is out.
Photography Alan Benson
As seen in Feast magazine, February 2014, Issue 28. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.