We haven’t been in contact for a while but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been dreaming up new ways in which to share some of our November Club magic. Many of you will remember our award winning midsummer musical Beyond the End of the Road which played at Hexham Auction Mart and across Northumberland and County Durham in 2017 and 2018. Inspired by the fun we all had back then we have created two midsummer challenges.

As we approach midsummer, we invite you to celebrate the summer solstice with us on Saturday 20th June by making your very own signature midsummer cocktail. There are plenty of things to garnish cocktails with from our gardens or window boxes, but remember that not all plants are edible and some can be poisonous so be careful!

For our cocktail, we have taken inspiration from Hannah Glasse’s pickling recipes. Those of you who saw Foods and Feuds: Two Cooks of Hexham in development at Blackfriars Cookery School or at the Queen’s Hall last year will remember Glasse, the 18th century author of the most successful cookbook of all time: The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Our friends at Abel & Cole have a range of great suggestions for using a pickling solution to make a tasty summer tipple called a Shrub.

A Shrub is a preserve of fruit or vegetable in a 50/50 mix of vinegar and sugar/honey/agave. In the USA, where Hannah’s book was used in the kitchens of people such as George Washington, shrubs are treated like cordials and served with dash of tonic or sparkling water. You could, if so inclined, add a dash of gin!

Our Associate Artist Imogen has made this using raspberries, strawberries, peppercorns, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Imogen is partial to gin so also added some of that.

Strawberries and Raspberries in a bowl (c) Imogen Cloet Soaking Raspberries and Strawberries in pickling liqour (c) Imogen Cloet
The Shrub ingredients in bowls on a wooden bench (c) Imogen Cloet Garnishes for The Shrub cocktail (c) Imogen Cloet
The Shrub finished cocktail (c) Imogen Cloet The Shrub finished cocktail (c) Imogen Cloet

 Watch this short video guide from our friends at Abel & Co

Please send us a photo of your finished masterpiece before you enjoy drinking it, to [email protected] putting SHRUB in the subject heading, no later than Monday 22nd June.

You can also send them by Facebook or Twitter.

Imogen, our Associate Artist will judge your photographs and will award a special prize to the one with the most creative garnish!

Midsummer Poetry Challenge

If pickling isn’t your thing then try your hand at our Midsummer Poetry Challenge.

Using the first letters of Midsummer’s Night Dream, we challenge you to write an anchored terset (as created by North East poet Lisa Matthews for the Northern Poetry Library) and send us your creation.

  • An anchored terset is a very small poem made up of three words – the first begins with the letter M, the second with the letter N and the third with the letter D, capped up, followed by, on the fourth line, a full stop (the anchor).
  • Your terset can be as silly, serious, creative or boring as you like but please stay clear of crude or offensive content.
  • Don’t forget the full-stop at the end.
  • An example we’ve come up with is:





Email us your creation to [email protected] putting TERSET in the subject heading, no later than Friday 19th June so that we can upload them all on to our website in time for the solstice.

We wish you are very happy midsummer’s night and look forward to receiving your photographs and poetry!