Homemade drinks to keep you cool on hot summer days

Keeping it cool, clockwise from top left: Kombucha brewers Sue Mangan and Lilian Forrest, Aner and Gilad Ben Ari of Byron Cane Juice, Jane Boniface of Rancho Relax Cordial and Peter, Nora and Daan Brils of Jungle Juice.
Keeping it cool, clockwise from top left: Kombucha brewers Sue Mangan and Lilian Forrest, Aner and Gilad Ben Ari of Byron Cane Juice, Jane Boniface of Rancho Relax Cordial and Peter, Nora and Daan Brils of Jungle Juice.


Popular in the 60s and 70s, kombucha is enjoying a revival, thanks to a growing interest in gut health and the benefits of fermented foods. Former home economics teacher and now full-time organic farmer, Sue Mangan, has been brewing this fermented tea - created with a scoby (a culture of bacteria and yeast) - for decades, and says it is full of probiotics that can help improve digestion and wellbeing. Sue flavours her kombucha with organic home grown ingredients including hibiscus, elderflower, ginger, turmeric and lemon, which all have anti-inflammatory properties. Vibrantly coloured and slightly effervescent, Sue's kombuchas have a subtle taste, and served chilled they are a real thirst quencher: "At the end of the day working on the farm, it's so refreshing. Much better than a beer,” says Sue. Available by the bottle at the Organic Forrest stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

Home-grown cordial

Jane Boniface's award-winning cordials are made using fresh organic limes, lemons and mandarins picked from her orchard at Numulgi, near Dunoon. They're free from the preservatives and additives you'll find in mass-produced supermarket cordials and you can really taste the difference. The delicately flavoured Elderflower cordial is made using Jane's home grown elderflowers. They're soaked with organic lemons for 48 hours and then hand-squeezed through muslin. It has a florally lemon flavour that's just right for a hot summer's day. Enjoy straight up with some ice or soda water, or added to your bubbles, gin or vodka. Jane's cordials are available by the glass and the bottle at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday, and by the bottle only at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market on Fridays.

Sugar Cane Juice

Surprisingly low in sugar (the equivalent of 2 teaspoons per litre - 10 times less than apple juice), raw sugar cane juice also contains B Vitamins and iron, and has a low GI, which means it won't give you a blood sugar spike. Aner Yeffet, who crushes sugar cane fresh each week at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market, says cane juice is particularly popular among athletes: "I have a lot of sporty clients, bike riders, runners. It won't give you a sugar spike, it'll give you lasting energy for the day.” Cane juice has a sweet, neutral taste, which Aner enhances with flavourings like lime, ginger, passionfruit and mint, or blends with fresh greens for extra goodness. Available by the cup or in take home bottles from the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

Exotic smoothies

Each week Peter and Nora Brils head out into their Mooball orchard to pick a selection of their fresh home grown fruit for their Mullumbimby Farmers Market stall, Jungle Juice. Along with the more familiar juice blends like watermelon, orange and pineapple, Peter and Nora offer some more exotic choices - like the rich and creamy Black Mamba smoothie, made from black sapote - otherwise known as chocolate pudding fruit - coconut cream, banana and milk; and the Dragon Tail, which combines, dragonfruit, passionfruit, berries and banana. Every Friday at Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

Topics:  drinks homemade local northern rivers produce summer

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