There are several traditional recipes for this nourishing natural beverage. Here is a favourite of mine:
Cut the fresh young tips of the nettles and put them in plastic bag, exclude as much of the air as you can, then seal tightly. Separately, cut the thick woody stalks of the older nettles and nind them tightly with string.
Dry the shoots and the woody bits in a hot oven for an hour or two. Then put the fresh tips in a blender with some salt and vinegar and blend finely. Meanwhile, cut the thick woody stalks into short sections using a blunt knife so that the fibres are squashed and ragged, rather than cleanly cut.
Place the sections of stalks and the blended tips in a pan with some oil and fry gently before tipping the resultant mixture into a pan of iced water. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring vigorously. Boil for half an hour on a rolling boil.
Add milk and sugar to taste, or a slice of lemon if preferred.
It tastes bloody awful, but it makes you feel so much better about falling full length in the nettles when wearing only a thin T shirt and Lycra shorts.