Nick Moyle and Richard Hood both grew up during the UK home-brew boom of the 1970s and 80s, with parents who regularly made their own drinks from home-grown produce, enlisting their help. This fired up a life-long obsession for the art of brewing and in 2008 they built their own cider press and have been producing cider for local pubs, beer festivals and deserving friends ever since. They started their Two Thirsty Gardeners website in 2012, which inspires thousands of loyal followers.
Can you describe your book in few words? What should the reader expect from it?
A huge range of easy to make booze recipes.
The reader should expect inspiration and advice on how to turn every day ingredients into tasty alcoholic drinks – from quality beers, ciders and wines to curious international concoctions and crafty cocktails.
When did your passion for brewing begin?
We both grew up in the 1970s when the last home brew boom was taking place and became mesmerised by the steady trickle of gas bubbling through an airlock, knowing that one day demijohns full of murky liquid would eventually be transformed into bright, clear drinks. We both moved to Bath, surrounded by Somerset apples, so it wasn’t long before we were dusting down our parents demijohns and filling them with pressed apple juice to turn into cider.
How did you meet and how Two Thirsty Gardeners came about?
We met at university in Coventry and, coincidentally, both ended up working in Bath. After making those first batches of cider Rich acquired an allotment so we thought it would be fun to plant our own apple trees and see if we could grow anything else to turn into booze. We then decided to chronicle our digging and swigging adventures on a website.
What was the biggest challenge in writing Brew it Yourself?
Some wines take quite a while to be ready, and are based on seasonal ingredients, so we had to try out lots of recipes each season and weren’t able to select the best ones until the following year… so it was quite a while before we knew exactly which recipes would make it into the book. We’re graphic designers by trade so we also designed the book and took all the photographs – deadline was a blur of writing, tasting, designing and taking pictures
What inspires you in what you do?
Rich is quite a perfectionist with his recipes, so has made lots of ciders, trying to get the recipe and combination of apples and other ingredients as perfect as possible. Nick is much more inspired by discovering new drinks and experimentation. I guess that combination works well.
What are some of the perks in your job?
We wish brewing and gardening were full time jobs! At the moment, it’s all done in our spare time – although we’re both self employed so we’re lucky that we can find a bit more spare time than most people. It’s always great when we get to meet experts in one particular craft, from gin makers to brewers and specialist gardeners. Their dedication to their craft inspires us.
What was the first recipe that you mastered?
Cider, although Rich would probably say you never really master cider. One of the first recipes we put on the website, and our most popular, is rhubarb wine. We’re currently growing seven different varieties of rhubarb to see if they produce different results.
What is the best recipe to get started?
Making liqueurs couldn’t be easier – it simply involved dropping some ingredients into a spirit, with sugar, and allowing them to infuse. We’ve also got a really cheap and easy beer recipe for anyone wanting to get started brewing, and the rhubarb wine recipe is a great one for first time wine makers. For something a little different there’s a really refreshing sparkling drink from Mexico called ‘tepache’ that involves quickly fermenting pineapple rind.
What is your typical day like?
Working on the day job, squeezing in recipes and writing whenever we can.
Can you tell us 3 hacks for a successful drinks making?
In Autumn, make a really easy rosehip syrup and plunge it into cocktails or cider; Drop an edible flower – borage being our favourite – into your ice cube tray before freezing; Chuck a liquorice stick into stout while brewing – it’ll give you a even richer, tastier beer.
Nick Moyle and Richard Hood
Brew It Yourself
Available in July 2015
Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.