Sunday, 13 March 2011

My favourite childhood drink was Dandelion and Burdock. I still like it and drink it regularly. It's the Marmite of the soft drinks' world - you either love it or hate it.

According to folk history, we've been drinking it since about 1265 thanks to Thomas Aquinas. It's naturally sparkling and traditionally made from lightly fermented dandelion and burdock roots. (Modern recipes use dried, ground root.) Other ingredients include ginger and star anise which gives it the distinctive flavour I like  (I must have been a dog in a previous incarnation).

Like most soft drinks, it's high in sugar, so I drink the diet version. My favourite is Morrison's own brand. Yes, I know there are no natural ingredients in the mass produced D&B so the benefits to the liver are missing. Traditionally-made versions can be bought but - high sugar content.


  • 2 teaspoons fine ground dandelion root (Might need a mortar & pestle)
  • 1.5 teaspoons fine ground burdock root (Might need a mortar & pestle)
  • 5x 50p sized slices of root ginger
  • 1 1/2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon of citric acid
  • Zest of an orange
Leave that little lot to simmer for 15-20 minutes, (it will smell a lot like a health food shop), then strain through a tea towel. Whilst the liquid is still hot you need to dissolve about 750g sugar.  Adjust the sugar to taste. If you’re finding the drink a bit flavourless simply add more sugar, it accentuates the flavours of the roots and anise.