As soon as I saw the recipe for lime cordial on The Traveler’s Lunchbox I knew I had to make a batch. A sale on grapefruit and oranges prompted me into action and the result could not be more delicious. It became a sip of summer in my chilly Sydney flat. With Australia being my new home, I thought it was high time I featured some Australian art. Technically Weaver Hawkins is British but he was a significant artist in the 1940s in Sydney and his work is found in most of the public collections. A dynamic painting needs a dynamic drink and I find this to be the perfect partnership of art fare.

Weaver Hawkins, Little Group with Grapefruit, 1942
oil on board, 36 x 46 cm, Private collection

Weaver Hawkins, also known as Raokin, was born in London before moving to Australia. His work was heavily impacted by his experiences in WWII where he lost complete control of his right arm and partial control of his left. His art is characterized by vibrant colour and form influenced by Cezanne‘s tendency to map out geometric shapes. His strong line and balanced composition illustrates the architectural context many modernist artists were working within at the time (1). His still life Group with Grapefruit is visually dynamic with the circular form exaggerated in the spoon, plate, bowl, lid, fruits, and the mouth of the jug. The repetition of the annular shape keeps the viewer’s eye moving in circles around the canvas again replicating the idea of the circle as a round and continuous entity.

Cordial or squash as it is known in the United Kingdom is a flavoured drink that is diluted with water. Depending on personal taste it is typically 1 part cordial to 4 or 5 parts water (still or sparkling). It works out to be a very cost-effective way to maximize the juice from any fruit and is an excellent cocktail mixer. Simply shift the proportions to 1 part cordial to 3 parts water and 1 part vodka or other spirit. Cordials are commonly found in the UK and Ireland, South Africa and Kenya, Australia and New Zealand, Scandinavia, India, and Israel (2). The flavour combinations are limitless so get creative!

{Citrus Cordial}

adapted from the Traveler’s Lunchbox
makes 2 large bottles

5 c water
3 c vanilla sugar
1 bunch fresh mint
3 c juice of a combination of oranges and grapefruit
juice of 2 lemons
sparkling or still water to serve

Bring the sugar, water, and mint to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling reduce the heat to medium and boil for about 8 minutes.

Add the citrus juice and continue to simmer until the liquid thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool and strain (I used my French press). Store in clean bottles and refrigerate. Will keep for 1 month.

To serve combine 1 TB of the cordial with a glass of cold water and stir to combine. Makes an excellent cocktail mixer.