Cook your book: Anne of Green Gables’ raspberry cordial

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I was infatuated with the freckly, fiery Anne ‘with an E’ from the moment my Granny introduced me to her. There are eight books in total, following Anne’s life from a lively misfit of eleven to a happily married mother of six. One evening, I announced that I wanted to start reading ‘adult books’. The next time I saw my Granny, she had brought along the first in the series, Anne of Green Gables, and from then onwards I was obsessed. 

There are many memorable scenes across the series, from the ridiculous to the moving, but the raspberry cordial scene is one that stands out most to me. The scene appears in a chapter titled ‘Diana is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results’, and indeed, tragic results do occur, but they are also rather funny at the same time. One autumn afternoon, Anne’s adoptive mother, Marilla, leaves town and allows Anne to invite her best friend Diana to the house for tea while she is gone. This is a big moment for Anne, who had already created a name for herself when it came to troublemaking.

“When Anne came back from the kitchen Diana was drinking her second glassful of cordial; and, being entreated thereto by Anne, she offered no particular objection to the drinking of a third. The tumblerfuls were generous ones and the raspberry cordial was certainly very nice.

The nicest I ever drank’ said Diana. ‘It’s ever so much nicer than Mrs. Lynde’s, although she brags of hers so much. It doesn’t taste a bit like hers.’” – Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 16. 

As the scene proceeds, it becomes clear that the reason the cordial doesn’t taste like Mrs Lynde’s is because it isn’t raspberry cordial. Anne had actually mistaken a bottle of currant wine for cordial, which results in Diana becoming unavailingly drunk. I remember chuckling to myself when this happened, as the thought of accidentally getting a friend drunk seemed like a situation that only poor Anne could wind herself up in. This was certainly the kind of entertainment I was searching for in my quest to enhance my literary pursuits. 

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The best thing about the raspberry cordial is that it’s a simple recipe that only has three ingredients: 

~ 300g raspberries 

~ 160g white caster sugar 

~ 2 lemons, juiced 

  1. Wash and drain your raspberries before putting them in a big pan on a medium heat. Add in half a cup of water to help the juices flow. 
  2. Add in your sugar and keep stirring until it has completely dissolved. Stir for around 5 minutes and then strain the mixture into another bowl. 
  3. Add your squeezed lemon juice and keep stirring. Strain it one more time to get rid of any lemon pulp and transfer the cordial liquid into an airtight container and place in the fridge. 

Finish off a glass by just adding water and a slice of lemon or a raspberry, or spice it up a little and add lemonade to get a nice fizz. Unlike Anne and Diana, you could even take it a step further and add a splash of gin to make a cocktail – but maybe check with your guests first! 

Image: Smudge 9000 via Flickr

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