The Botanist.

Wild. Foraged. Distilled.

22
Foraged Island Botanicals
The first and only Islay dry gin

22 FORAGED ISLAND BOTANICALS. HAND-PICKED LOCALLY AND SUSTAINABLY HERE ON ISLAY BY OUR OWN BOTANICAL SCIENTISTS.

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Richard Mavis Gulliver The Botanist gin Douglas Taylor

Richard and Mavis Retire

by Carl Reavey on 17th October 2017 in People.

We enjoyed a very splendid cake last week, beautifully baked by Katie to mark the retirement of our botanical scientists Dr.

wild angelica growing on Islay

Carrot Family Bitters

by Jane Carswell on 5th October 2017 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

There are members of the carrot family growing wild and in abundance that are potentially fatal - you must be able to tell apart the diff

Andy Hamilton and wormwood tinctures

Wormwood - A love affair & DIY Absinthe

by Andy Hamilton on 2nd October 2017 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

A romance can last a few hours or a few decades. Short ones can burn so brightly that they forever brand themselves inside your soul.

easy recipe for rose-infused gin

How to Make Infused Gin

by Hannah Carmichael on 25th September 2017 in Our Foraging.

Our homemade rose petal-infused gin has been a hit as of late on the Laddieshop's Botanist tours, having been used in a couple of our

Scratch foraged Islay grenadine

A Scratch Grenadine

by Jane Carswell on 6th September 2017 in Recipes, Our Foraging.

Flicking through Harry Craddock's Savoy

The Botanist Gin Islay Octomore grist bread

Is there any more of that bread and butter?

by Kate Hannett on 2nd September 2017 in Real Food.

Butter has a special place in my life.  When I say special I mean everyday and on everything.  The Danish term 'tandsmør', meani

The Botanist Gin Islay Cheese Rennet Kate Hannett

Bedstraw Cheese

by Kate Hannett on 1st September 2017 in Real Food.

Almost a year ago I spent several days under the tutelage of Kathy Biss of

Hannah Carmichael's daisy tincture

Beginner's Cocktail Syrups

by Hannah Carmichael on 29th August 2017 in Our Foraging.

While a traditional gin and tonic tends to be my drink of choice, I do have much love for cocktails - so I was very excited to find out t

Nori Chips

Porphyra - wild nori

by Roushanna Gray on 25th August 2017 in Know Your Plants, Recipes, Real Food.

There are about 150 different types of Porphyra species growing around the world.

Japanese knotweed

Wild Plants and the Law

by The Botanist Editor on 24th August 2017 in Mindful Foraging.

The law governing foraging - the picking of wild plants for your personal use - varies from country to country around the world.  You sho

homemade sherbet ingredients in the grinder

Homemade Sherbet

by Kate Hannett on 15th August 2017 in Recipes.

Childhood sweetie memories. Remember sherbet dib-dabs or flying saucers.

learn to forage and fend for yourself

Thoughts on Wild Flavour

by Jane Carswell on 11th August 2017 in Thinking Wild.

Now I've worked for The Botanist for a bit, I quite regularly catch myself saying things like, "foraging, you're always 

james donaldson forager for the botanist first blog

Foraging - it takes your brain to another dimension

by James Donaldson on 1st August 2017 in Thinking Wild, The Botanist News.

At the beginning of May, I took up my new role, Professional Forager for The Botanist.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin Meadowsweet

RSPB Foraging Walks along the woodland trail

by Carl Reavey on 28th July 2017 in Mindful Foraging.

Responsible foraging is at the heart of how The Botanist is made at Bruichladdich Distillery and

Set to make seasonal bitters at Bruichladdich

Beginner's Tinctures

by Hannah Carmichael on 28th July 2017 in Our Foraging.

Despite having grown up on Islay, I was never one to take an interest in the wildlife around me - something that became a regret after I

batched and bottled absinthe v1

Academy Garden Absinthe - v1

by Jane Carswell on 25th July 2017 in Our Foraging.

There's a spirit of DIY permeating this distillery...

The Machair flora islay

The Machair

by Kate Hannett on 21st July 2017 in Thinking Wild.

My childhood was spent by the sea. The summers were longer and warmer then. Weren’t they?

Michael Kaplan Great British Vermouth and The Botanis

The Great British Vermouth

by Jane Carswell on 18th July 2017 in The Botanist News.

We had a visit from Michael Kaplan of Great British Vermouth Ltd this week.

Wood sage an unfashionable plant

Wood Sage

by Andy Hamilton on 17th July 2017 in Know Your Plants.

It is odd how things come in and out of fashion and I'm not just talking clothes but food, language, garden plants, and even kitchens.

Yao Lu gin cocktail competition winner

From China to Islay

by Jane Carswell on 12th July 2017 in Recipes.

The Botanist Gin launched in China in October last year.

Liz Knight on Islay

Forager Profile - Liz Knight

by Jane Carswell on 1st July 2017 in People.

Liz Knight founded Forage Fine Foods in 2011, supplying what sh

edible flowers prep in kitchen

Freezing edible flowers - Summer

by Liz Knight on 29th June 2017 in Techniques.

Liz Knight of forage fine foods advises which edible summer flo

here and now foraging blog at bruichladdich

Here and Now - a lunchtime walk

by Jane Carswell on 20th June 2017 in Our Foraging.

A lunchtime stroll around the distillery perimeter yesterday revealed all sorts of edible plants, at an interesting intersection of promi

Ellen Zachos demonstrating a wildcrafted cocktail with The Botanist Gin

Forager Profile - Ellen Zachos

by Jane Carswell on 12th June 2017 in People.

Ellen Zachos, author of Backyard Foragi

The-Botanist-gin-hawthorn-flowers

The Mayflower

by Kate Hannett on 7th June 2017 in Know Your Plants.

The month of May has seen an branch-drooping display of the Hawthorn blossom across Islay and apparently across a lot of the UK.

edible fern or carcinogen, fiddleheads and bracken growing together on Islay

Fern or Foe

by Jane Carswell on 26th May 2017 in Know Your Plants.

Fiddlehead ferns are seemingly all the rage in farmers markets, especially in the United States.

Seaweed and citrus cordial

by Roushanna Gray on 25th May 2017 in Recipes.

Seaweed cordial...sounds fishy? Tastes sublime. The subtle infusion of seaweed adds a unique umami layer to this citrus drink.

edible cherry blossom

Freezing Edible Flowers - Blossom

by Liz Knight on 16th May 2017 in Techniques.

Freezing flowers does affect the cell structure of most flowers & when they thaw they will be more limp than freshly plucked flowers

Umami Icecream

Kelp and Cocoa Ice cream

by Roushanna Gray on 15th May 2017 in Recipes, Flavour Science.

This is the trifecta of kelp recipes. Unusually, this particular seaweed recipe is for sweet treats and not a sea veg dish.

looking thirstily at the tree line

Lime sap, Alder sap, Walnut sap, Hickory sap; Drink Trees!

by Liz Knight on 2nd May 2017 in Thinking Wild, The Devils Nettle Society.

My lightbulb moment that there were bigger trees to tap and drink than my loyal birches [

David Keyte designer

Universal Works

by Jane Carswell on 27th April 2017 in The Botanist News.

Since 2014, we've been involved in celebrating Nottingham-based Universal Works' new seasons collections.

birch leaves

Birch Bitters

by Liz Knight on 25th April 2017 in Know Your Plants, Techniques.

Blink for long enough in the early spring & you’ll close your eyes to a twiggy, brown world & open them to vibrant green.

Foraged pickings from Bridgend

Here and Now - Spring

by Jane Carswell on 25th April 2017 in Our Foraging.

Elder in Leaf

juniper berries, ingredients in gin

What Plants Are in The Botanist Gin?

by Jane Carswell on 19th April 2017 in Distillation.

Developing the final recipe for The Botanist took five years.

edible flowers flowering currant

Edible flowers you can freeze - early spring

by Liz Knight on 18th April 2017 in Techniques.

At the core of my little preserving business are edible flowers; most of my products I make play host to flowers gathered in their prime,

ellen zachos foraging in winter

Mushroom Bitters

by Ellen Zachos on 5th April 2017 in Techniques, Recipes.

Ellen Zachos: Turkey Tail mushroom,

Mina Ebihara The Botanist Gin academy on Islay

Mina's Global Garden

by Jane Carswell on 24th March 2017 in The Botanist News.

Islay and Tokyo might be about as far apart as it is possible to imagine, in several many respects.

sea arrowgrass coriander grass triglochin marítima

Sea Arrowgrass

by Jane Carswell on 22nd March 2017 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants.

We asked Mark Williams what had been his most memorable discovery in his career as a forager. 

birch sap season

Birch Sap Rhapsody

by Jane Carswell on 20th March 2017 in Thinking Wild.

Intel from two experienced foragers, Liz Knight @foragefinefoods

Liz Knight's wild freezer

A foragers' freezer

by Liz Knight on 17th March 2017 in Thinking Wild.

Foraging first claimed my food cupboards, one by one jars of preserved foraged finds replaced packets of pasta, rice & tins.

Helibores in full flower, Islay Community Garden

Winter Into Spring

by Jane Carswell on 7th March 2017 in Know Your Plants.

It's clear to see that we're at the junction of the seasons just now in Islay.

foraged liquorice fern bitters Ellen zachos

Make Your Own Bitters

by Ellen Zachos on 6th March 2017 in Techniques.

Anyone who appreciates a craft cocktail knows that bitters are essential to the well-stocked liquor cabinet.

Winter

Here and Now - Winter

by The Botanist Editor on 4th March 2017 in Our Foraging.

Hairy bittercress

artemisia absinthium

The Louche/Ouzo effect and anethole - video

by Andy Hamilton on 3rd March 2017 in The Devils Nettle Society, Flavour Science.

Back when it was considered sophisticated to drink Stella (

gin and tonic with sour fig vermouth

Sour Fig

by The Botanist Editor on 1st March 2017 in Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, The Devils Nettle Society.

"Leaves are eaten by tortoises... Flowers are eaten by antelopes and baboons.

Seaweed and mussel soup recipe

Mermaid Soup Recipe

by Roushanna Gray on 21st February 2017 in Thinking Wild, Recipes.

This seaweed and mussel broth recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and is very healthy and comforting - a perfect chicken noodle soup sub

yarrow tincture

Seasonal Tinctures

by Ellen Zachos on 6th February 2017 in Know Your Plants, Techniques.

When deciding what to tincture, consider the season. Foragers generally harvest plants and mushrooms when they are at their peak.

The High Road

Wayfarers' world

by Jane Carswell on 1st February 2017 in Thinking Wild.

On the road there is a linden tree, this is where I first rested to sleep, Under this linden tree, who blew his blossoms over me… [Gustav

gin and tonic with watermint garnish

Mint

by Andy Hamilton on 31st January 2017 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes.

Mint - the drinkers herb

Sea lettuce, an easy seaweed

Sea lettuce

by Roushanna Gray on 13th January 2017 in Mindful Foraging, Our Foraging.

 

finished tinctures by Ellen Zachos

Tinkering with Tinctures

by Ellen Zachos on 11th January 2017 in Thinking Wild, Techniques.

Ellen Zachos: I first learned to make t

Cooking with Kelp

Kelp - Ecklonia maxima

by Roushanna Gray on 5th January 2017 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants.

KELP – Ecklonia maxima

ling heather, Islay

Heather - one of the 22

by Andy Hamilton on 20th December 2016 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Recipes, Our Foraging.

Ca' them where the heather grows, Ca' them where the burnierowes,

Out foraging on Islay

Profile - Rupert Waites

by Jane Carswell on 14th December 2016 in People, Real Food.

Rupert Waites is half of respected wild food outfit 'Buck and Birch', based in Scotland's East Lothian.

Sea Scones

Sea Lettuce Sea Scone recipe

by Roushanna Gray on 8th December 2016 in Recipes.

This is an easy to make, delicious and nutritious coastal take on the tea scone.

foraging for spruce tips

Pining for Pinene

by Craig Grozier on 7th December 2016 in The Devils Nettle Society, Flavour Science.

I thought pinene was an appropriate compound to start a flavour journey with as it’s perhaps the most distinctive flavour we find in gin,

Douglas fir harvest resin wild food

Drinker's Guide To Conifers

by Mark Williams on 5th December 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Recipes, Our Foraging.

While juniper is the only conifer that must legally be present in gin, many of its evergreen cousins can also contribute to a gr

linalool

Linalool don't it make you feel good?

by Andy Hamilton on 29th November 2016 in The Devils Nettle Society, Flavour Science.

Even if you haven't heard of Linalool I could bet all the money in my wallet that you have smelt it (currently £1.23).

harvesting pepper dulse on Islay

Pepper Dulse

by Jane Carswell on 28th November 2016 in Our Foraging.

While all seaweeds to be found on the shores of the British Isles are edible (there are some toxic ones but they are rare and dwell in th

Ally Kelsey of White Lyan

The opposite of air miles

by Jane Carswell on 24th November 2016

We champion local flavours.  Wherever you happen to be in the world we like to encourage creativity in using what you find locally (provi

Foragers @foragelondon and @markwildfood on Islay

Forager Profile - Mark Williams

by Jane Carswell on 17th November 2016 in People.

We are very glad to have Mark Williams, Scotland’s only full-time foraging tutor, with us regularly on Islay, sharing some of his knowled

hogweed wild carrot and angelica seeds and leaves

Season of the Seedheads

by Jane Carswell on 16th November 2016 in Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

This is the time of year when plant volume ebbs to reveal some of the architecture of the undergrowth.

caitlin and her foraged cocktail

Interview with Caitlin Hill

by Jane Carswell on 28th October 2016 in People.

Caitlin Hill, of 'Mother's Ruin' Gin Bar, Cape Town, visited us this October as part of the #BotanistSA foraged cocktails winners' delega

foraged meal salad course

Eating Islay

by Jane Carswell on 27th October 2016 in Real Food.

For a week this summer, we had the company of some exciting talents in wild food and drink.

Climbing for the fruits of the Blackthorn, Galloway

Recipe: Sloe Vermouth

by Danny Whelan on 24th October 2016 in Recipes, The Devils Nettle Society.

The Blackthorn bush is a hedgerow mainstay, synonymous with foraging in the UK for it's autumn sloeberries.

Mark Williams, forager, Bridgend Woods

Foraged Vermouth

by Mark Williams on 16th October 2016 in Thinking Wild, The Devils Nettle Society.

The more I play around making drinks from wild plants, the more I am drawn towards bitter/aromatic herbs.

The Botanist Gin Cocktails London Cocktail Week 2016

London Cocktail Week 2016

by Jane Carswell on 5th October 2016 in The Botanist News.

Our presence at London Cocktail Week this year centres around serves 

Craig Grozier at The Botanist academy on Islay

Chef profile - Craig Grozier

by Jane Carswell on 4th October 2016 in Thinking Wild, People, Real Food.

We’ve been working with Scottish chef Craig Grozier since sampling his foraged canapés for the

lime blossom linden infusion

What Does Here Taste Like?

by Ellen Zachos on 29th September 2016 in Thinking Wild, Our Foraging.

It's not a question everyone asks themselves, but I bet most foragers do, 'What does here taste like?'.

Singapore Launch

Botanist Arrives In Singapore

by Sharon.McHarrie on 19th September 2016

For The Botanist launch in the concrete jungle that is Singapore, the focus was on urban foraging.

Carl Reavey

The Botanist Foundation.

by Carl Reavey on 16th September 2016 in The Botanist News.

The Botanist Foundation, a Community Interest Company (CIC) was officially introduced at the launch of 'The State of Nature' report in Ed

Roushanna Gray on set

West Coast flavours

by Roushanna Gray on 16th September 2016 in Thinking Wild, Recipes.

Springtime on the West Coast of South Africa

Mint can make your mouth feel cold

Chemesthesis - How do we feel flavour?

by Andy Hamilton on 15th September 2016 in The Devils Nettle Society, Flavour Science.

Chances are you have had thousands of chemesthetic sensations and just never known what they were called.

plum blossom close up

Ume No Hana

by Ellen Zachos on 13th September 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Recipes.

Ellen Zachos, who has worked with us on The Botanist for several years, gives us an interesting recipe using vodka from her new book, 

Ellen Zachos

G and T and Free

by Jane Carswell on 30th August 2016 in Thinking Wild.

We ask three of our creative foraging friends why they  innovate when it comes to simple gin and tonic?

Sweet cicely seeds by Alfredo Claiz

Sweet Cicely the godfather of the carrot family

by Andy Hamilton on 19th August 2016 in Mindful Foraging.

I'm sure that most towns and cities across the planet will have a family whose power and influence spreads throughout the town.

Tansy at its riverbank home

Tansy - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

by Andy Hamilton on 8th August 2016 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Recipes.

Tansy is one of those plants that you smell before you see.

South-east Islay

Chef profile - Philippa Marsden

by Jane Carswell on 27th July 2016 in People.

'Whilst I was growing up in rural Yorkshire, on a largely self-sufficient small-holding, my parents (when they had time to cook) would us

The distinctive purplish floret in the centre of the white umbel

Wild carrot, Daucus carota

by acuvital on 26th July 2016 in Know Your Plants.

Finding the wild carrot, Daucus carota is like stepping back in history, a virtual time travel if you will.

Andy Hamilton working by taste - taken by Alfredo Caliz

bog myrtle - alcohol's favourite herb

by Andy Hamilton on 21st July 2016 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques.

The first time I ever came across bog myrtle was when I was researching a book about beer.

foraged negroni, Andy Hamilton

Limonene

by Andy Hamilton on 4th July 2016 in Recipes, The Devils Nettle Society, Flavour Science.

At the end of a night when you just want that final drink, and the drinks cabinet has run dry, you don't reach for the flash liquid/lysol

Mark Williams stepping out

Foraging and Creativity

by Mark Williams on 1st July 2016 in Thinking Wild, Real Food.

“No place for her in the slow, terrible armies of the cautious. She ran ahead where there were no paths.”

Creeping thistle flower used in the botanist gin

Creeping Thistle

by Andy Hamilton on 21st June 2016 in Know Your Plants, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

In a crowded and noisy pub many moons ago I was asked what I'd been up to that day by a friend of my partner's mum.

The Botanist Tent 2016

by Carl Reavey on 8th June 2016 in The Botanist News.

Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music is a wonderful opportunity to introduce lots of our guests to new concepts - and the idea

Gin in a kilner jar

How to make foraged gin in three minutes

by Andy Hamilton on 17th May 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants, Techniques.

One of my favourite things about making drinks from foraged ingredients is that you can not only drink the seasons but you can design dri

wild flavours - venison

He Got Game

by Craig Grozier on 13th May 2016 in Thinking Wild, People, Real Food.

Game Plan

Wild mint and Berry gin and tonic

WILD MINT – Mentha longifolia

by Roushanna Gray on 11th May 2016 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

As there are three different types of mint in the 22 foraged botanicals found in the The Botanist Gin, I thought I would introduce you to

Osyris berries infusing

Osyris compressa

by Roushanna Gray on 1st April 2016 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

Osyris compressa

Joanne-Brown-Turkey-Botanist-Visit

Botanical Talk In Turkey

by John McCallum on 9th March 2016 in Recipes, People, The Botanist News.

Botanist brand ambassador Joanne Brown travelled to Istanbul late last month to spread the word about our Islay-made gin.

Hawthorn bush taken by Roy Hunt

Hawthorn - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

by Andy Hamilton on 7th March 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

Without being too much exaggeration I can safely say that the Hawthorn has been crucial in helping to shape the world to its present stat

Lemon Balm - taken by Andy Hamilton

Lemon Balm - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 1st February 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants, Recipes.

Chamomile, lime blossom, and lemon balm can all be used by a herbali

Gorse -  A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

Gorse - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 1st February 2016 in Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

Other names: Furze, Whin Latin name: Ulex europaeus

How to make Alexanders bitters

Alexanders and How to make Alexanders bitters - Video

by Andy Hamilton on 20th January 2016 in Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging.

The Romans can't have travelled light as it often seems they bought much of the naturalised flora and fauna to the UK and Alexanders is n

Gathering kelp on the Atlantic shores

Foodie Turned Forager: Roushanna Gray

by John McCallum on 20th January 2016 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, People.

South Africa’s Cape coast in summer: a high sun, parched kelp on the rocks, but with numbingly cold waters launched upon it from Southern

meadowsweet growing in the Brecon Beacons

Meadowsweet - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

by Andy Hamilton on 18th January 2016 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants.

Last autumn I went island hopping around Scotland with a fellow plant fan, a herbalist from B

Juniper in the fog

Juniper - one of the 22

by Andy Hamilton on 18th January 2016 in Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

Juniper - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

botanist-gin-belgrade-serbia-launch

Going Places: The Botanist Launches in Serbia

by John McCallum on 12th January 2016 in Recipes, The Botanist News.

It was uncharted territory for The Botanist last month, when the gin was officially launched in Serbia.

 The Botanist Foraged Cocktail Competition - Japan

The Botanist Foraged Cocktail Competition - Japan

by John McCallum on 7th January 2016 in Recipes, The Botanist News.

The Botanist Japan held its first foraged cocktail competition, comprising a host of bartenders from across Tokyo.

Ladies Bedstraw image CC Benjamin Zwittnig

Lady's Bedstraw - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 4th January 2016 in Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

Bedstraw's is a low scrambling plant native to Europe, Asia and of course the Hebrides.

Wild thyme

Wild Thyme - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

by Andy Hamilton on 18th December 2015 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants.

Every year I head off to the South of France with my family.

Cheese infused with citrus Buchu

The Botanist South Africa - Wild Food and Cocktail Pairing

by Roushanna Gray on 18th December 2015 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Recipes.

Dreaming up the menu is always the romantic part of a wild food dinner for me.

The Absinthe fairy

Thujone, is it safe?

by Andy Hamilton on 7th December 2015 in Know Your Plants, Techniques.

Thujone is a known poison and the FDA (food and drug adminstration in the U.S) have res

Botanical drawing of mugwort

Mugwort - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS by Andy Hamilton

by Andy Hamilton on 2nd November 2015 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes.

Beer without hops is rather sweet and therefore needs something to counter this.

Andy hamilton - the 22 - Chamomile

Chamomile - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 2nd November 2015 in Techniques, Recipes.

There is a patch of Chamomile growing in my adopted city of Bristol; it grows in a park near the M32 motorway.

The Botanist Forager's Bag by Millican

The Botanist Forager's Bag by Millican

by Carl Reavey on 2nd October 2015 in Techniques.

Millican is a creative travel and outdoor bag brand, based in the English Lake District.

White clover

White Clover - A MISCELLANY OF THE 22 BOTANIST BOTANICALS

by Andy Hamilton on 15th September 2015 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

As a small child in my first year at school I can remember spending ages scouring a grassy bank near our school for four leaf clovers.

Apple mint growing in France

Apple Mint - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 27th July 2015 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

aka  Egyptian Mint, Mojito mint.  

Botanist Fragers Summit 2015

In Pursuit of Foraged Flavours: The First Islay Foragers’ Summit

by Lynton Davidson on 27th July 2015 in Thinking Wild, Our Foraging, People.

Over the last few years we have begun to explore the flavours of our island home in ever greater depth; tasting the botanical life of thi

Galgorm Resort and Spa

Galgorm Resort and Spa

by Carl Reavey on 7th July 2015 in People.

It is a real privilege to be able to present the ideas and philosophy behind The Botanist in some of the most spectacular locations and v

A medievil depection of a woman gathering herbs - creative commons licence

Sambocade - Elderflower and Rosewater cheese tart

by Andy Hamilton on 7th July 2015 in Recipes, Real Food.

Serves 8 or 2 very greedy people

New sensory experiences

Along the River Kelvin - Glasgow

by Carl Reavey on 7th July 2015 in Mindful Foraging, People.

There are some beautifully verdant, semi-wild areas of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.  The name Glasgow means "green hollow" and has o

The Botanist in South Africa

The Botanist in South Africa

by Carl Reavey on 29th June 2015 in People, The Botanist News.

The first event saw eight of South Africa's top mixologists join media on a foraging excursion in the spectacular Cape Point Nature Reser

Barney in Wales

Always Whittle

by Tom Abbott on 24th June 2015 in Thinking Wild.

There’s just something about whittling.

Elderflower

Elderflower - A Miscellany of the 22 Botanist Botanicals

by Andy Hamilton on 19th June 2015 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants.

The bright umbels of white flowers a familiar sight across Europe (and beyond).

When the whin is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion

When Terroir Strikes!

by Craig Grozier on 11th June 2015 in People, Real Food.

Central to my philosophy in all my cooking is an extreme focus on locality and seasonality.

Escargot á la Kelvin

Escargot á la Kelvin

by Craig Grozier on 2nd June 2015 in Recipes, Real Food.

Following my recent battle with our new Gastropod friends, I

 crab apple verjus varieties

Drinker's Guide to Crab Apples: Get Over Your Citrus Addiction

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Mindful Foraging, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

In Northern climes, we have become addicted to the citrus fruits of warmer places and this is most obvious in the drinks industry.

Meadowsweet in flower

Drinker's Guide to Meadowsweet

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

One of the prettiest and most fragrant of all hedgerow plants, meadowsweet's creamy yellow clouds of tiny flowers are rich in honey, hay

Cloveroot in the kitchen

Drinker's Guide to Wood Avens

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Mindful Foraging, Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Recipes, Our Foraging.

Wood avens (geum urbanum)  is also commonly referred to as herb bennet - which always makes me imagine a 1950's trumpet player.

Sweet cicely, flower and seeds

Drinker's Guide to Sweet Cicely

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Know Your Plants, Recipes.

Sweet cicely offers many sensual pleasures to the forager.

elderberry vinegar

Elderberry Shrub Recipe

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Techniques, Recipes.

Elderberries should not be eaten raw in any quantities, and the small twigs they hang from are toxic.

Elder in full flower

Drinker's Guide To Elder - Flowers and Berries

by Mark Williams on 20th May 2015 in Know Your Plants, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

We were delighted to spot the first elderflowers of the season on Islay last week.

raw, skimmed japanese knotweed juice

Drinks uses of Japanese Knotweed

by Mark Williams on 23rd April 2015 in Mindful Foraging, Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes.

Mention japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica in the UK or Polygonum cuspidatum in the US) to most people and they are q

The Mystery of the 'Gastropod'

The Mystery of the 'Gastropod'

by Craig Grozier on 16th April 2015 in Thinking Wild, Real Food.

It’s a beautiful sunny March day and I'm driving past the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay to pick some foraged ingredients

graveyard foraged toinic water

Foraged Tonic Water - The Graveyard B & T

by Mark Williams on 30th March 2015 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging.

I may be drummed out of The Guild of Foragers for saying this, but I'm not a huge fan of eating dandelion leaves.

Sloes, sloe berries, blackthorn fruit, sloe gin, foraging, basket, harvest, wild food, drinks, cocktails

Sloe Reactions

by Mark Williams on 13th January 2015 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

As we re-engage with forgotten wild ingredients, its always interesting to note those which have never dropped out of favour.

Common hogweed, shoots,  heracleum sphondylium, foraging, drinks, cocktails, wild food, gin, identification, leaf

Common Hogweed

by Mark Williams on 12th December 2014 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

“Weed (n): A plant that has mastered every aspect of survival except growing in straight lines”

hemlock, conium maculatum, cow parsley, anthriscus sylvestris, comparison

The Carrot Family

by Mark Williams on 27th November 2014 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

If I were forced to choose only one plant family to rely on for food and flavour it would be the carrot family.

Area Hopping - A tincture of Wild Hops

Area Hopping - A tincture of Wild Hops

by Danny Whelan on 21st November 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

Mark found hops growing wild on the Galloway coast near his home.

Carbonated Wild Botanical Iced Tea

Carbonated Wild Botanical Iced Tea

by Danny Whelan on 21st November 2014 in Recipes, Techniques.

This can be used as a base recipe for making foraged sodas, no matter what the ingredients or season you may be playing with!

Delivers a pleasing foam

Rapid Infuse Your Walk

by Mark Williams on 14th October 2014 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

I have grazed, nibbled and browsed my edible landscape for many years, but never imagined it would be possible to drink as well as eat a

Elf Food. Cally Woods, Gatehouse of Fleet, February

Taste your Walk

by Mark Williams on 13th October 2014 in Thinking Wild, Know Your Plants, Our Foraging, Real Food.

When people think of foraging, generally they imagine baskets of berries and fungi being filled during long afternoons in the woods or he

The Foraged Red Snapper

The Search for a Scottish Bloody Mary

by Danny Whelan on 3rd October 2014 in Recipes, Our Foraging.

Inspired by the creativity of bartenders throughout history with this classic 'hair-of-the-dog' cocktail I set myself the task of replica

Water pepper

Water-Pepper Infused Botanist

by Danny Whelan on 3rd October 2014 in Recipes.

A recent trip to stormy beaches of Scotland's West Coast proved fruitful in the search of added spice, umami and wasabi.

Waulkmill Cider Vinegars

Tomato, Lovage and Lemon Balm Shrub

by Danny Whelan on 3rd October 2014 in Recipes.

Stemming from the Arabic term 'sharab', meaning 'to drink', making a shrub preserves the flavours of in-season produce using sweeteners a

Soaking the dried mushrooms in neutral spirit

Porcini Mushroom Tincture - Scottish Umami

by Danny Whelan on 3rd October 2014 in Recipes.

Umami flavours can be found across the Scottish landscape, and it only took a trip to my local woodlands to find the perfect umami additi

Bramble jelly

Bramble Jelly

by Kate on 29th September 2014 in Recipes, Our Foraging.

Most days along Islay’s winding single track roads you can be sure to find a local knee-deep in a roadside ditch, gingerly reaching into

Foragers feasting

Scallops in a Scottish Thai Broth

by Craig Grozier on 15th September 2014 in Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

After a hard day's foraging Kate kindly invited us to use her house and kitchen with its amazing views out across Loch Gruinart.

Eat straight from the pan for the freshest experience.

Forager's Eggs - on the beach

by Craig Grozier on 15th September 2014 in Recipes, Our Foraging, Real Food.

This is a simple dish inspired by the Gypsy eggs of Andalucia, which we decided to name Forager's Eggs.

Rose hip syrup

Rose Hip Syrup

by The Botanist Editor on 10th September 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

Rose hips are abundant at this time of year.

Picnic at Port Ban, Islay

Wild Sushi

by The Botanist Editor on 10th September 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

It is apparently possible to make your own nori sheets by collecting laver from the seash

Out foraging - London

We Call It Foraged Mixology

by Lynton Davidson on 14th August 2014 in Thinking Wild, Our Foraging.

We humans are a species of relationship, of connection. To each other. To the world. To nature.

Some plants are fragrant rather than edible - such as these whin flowers

Identifying Plants Safely

by The Botanist Editor on 13th August 2014 in Mindful Foraging.

The Botanist actively encourages exploration but some folk are nervous about foraging because of a perception that wild plants might be p

The spirit of Slow Food

The spirit of Slow Food

by Lynton Davidson on 7th August 2014 in Thinking Wild, Real Food.

The men and women driving progressive thought in the culinary sphere have rejected the industrialised homogeneity of factory-farmed and s

Steeping the cordial in a Kilner jar

Apple Mint Cordial

by The Botanist Editor on 10th July 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

Striking up the camping stove in a nearby lay-by we boiled equal parts of water and sugar (1 litre and 1kg) until the sugar was dissolved

A fizzy glassfull

Meadowsweet Fizzzzz

by The Botanist Editor on 10th July 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

Walking, cycling or even driving along with the windows open, the sweet almond, honey and slight medicated aroma wafts around you.

Delicious with The Botanist gin

Foraged Mixers - A Light Sparkling Elderflower Wine

by The Botanist Editor on 4th July 2014 in Techniques, Recipes, Our Foraging.

The recipe we used for this delightfully light elderflower champagne was adapted by Mark Williams from Roger Phillips book “Wild Food”.

Straining spruce tips

Making Bitters for Cocktails

by The Botanist Editor on 25th June 2014 in Techniques.

You will need both the roots and leaves for a Dandelion bitters – but not the flowers.  Dandelions have a long taproot which is reaso

Islay Water Mint

Islay Spring

by The Botanist Editor on 13th June 2014 in Thinking Wild, Our Foraging.

We have been exploring Islay this week in spring bloom.

Fifty Wild Foods

Introducing Mark Williams, Forager

by The Botanist Editor on 30th May 2014 in Our Foraging, People.

Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods is Scotland's only full-time foraging tutor.

Whin syrup

Whin Syrup

by The Botanist Editor on 28th May 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

Collect 750 (approx.) grams of whin flowers.  Add equal amounts of sugar and mix together in a kilner jar (or similar).

The Scottish Series

The Scottish Series

by The Botanist Editor on 26th May 2014 in People, The Botanist News.

The final day of sailing in this year’s Silvers Marine Scottish Series saw the fleet take part in two races in light and tricky condition

Two bowls of whin flowers with violets, sweet gale and spruce tips

Ellen Zachos - Backyard Foraging

by The Botanist Editor on 21st May 2014 in People, Our Foraging.

It was good to have Ellen Zachos from New York visit us recently.  Ellen is the author of a number of books, including 'Backyard Foraging

The Botanist, violet syrup and slimline tonic

Wild Violet Syrup

by The Botanist Editor on 21st May 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

The common dog violet (Viola viviniana) is abundant on Islay in spring.

The CBC video from LA Group Glasgow

The CBC video from LA Group Glasgow

by The Botanist Editor on 9th May 2014 in Our Foraging, People, The Botanist News.

This classy little video shows the lead up to the Caledonian Bartenders Cup which was held in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday 15th April 201

The Distillation

The Distillation

by The Botanist Editor on 8th May 2014 in Distillation.

The distillation of The Botanist is a slow, slow process.  The temperature of the spirit in the still is increased until it is hand hot. 

Add chopped nettles to syrup and bottle

Stinging Nettle Syrup

by admin on 7th May 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

This really is delicious – both as a mixer for The Botanist and as a cordial.  It is incredibly easy to make.  Pick about a carrier bag f

The CBC Competitors

The Caledonian Bartenders Cup

by The Botanist Editor on 29th April 2014 in People, The Botanist News.

The second Caledonian Bartenders Cup (CBC) competition was held in Glasgow on 15th April 2014 sponsored by the

Hippocrates Refusing the Presents of Artaxerxes

Blood, Black Bile, Yellow Bile and Phlegm

by The Botanist Editor on 29th April 2014 in Thinking Wild.

 Alcohol has long been humanity's favoured lubricant in facilitating social intercourse.  Historically however, good company and good con

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code

by The Botanist Editor on 28th April 2014 in Mindful Foraging.

Please respect the working life of the countryside. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs.

Japanese knotweed syrup

Knotweed Syrup

by The Botanist Editor on 26th April 2014 in Our Foraging, Recipes.

The dreaded Japanese knotweed was once imported as a garden exotic, but it escaped into the wild and has spread like crazy over much of t

The Maillard Shrub

The Maillard Reaction

by The Botanist Editor on 25th March 2014 in Techniques.

The Maillard reaction, named after the French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who first described it in 1912, is one of the most important

Jim McEwan

Jim McEwan

by The Botanist Editor on 25th March 2014 in Distillation, People.

Jim McEwan is one of the best known distillers in Scotland.  He was inducted into Whisky Magazine's "Hall of Fame" at a ceremony held in

Foraging

Foraging

by The Botanist Editor on 21st March 2014 in Mindful Foraging.

Ten thousand short years ago, foraging was the only way of life for everybody and everything.  Millions of years of human development had

Juniper Communis

Islay Juniper

by The Botanist Editor on 21st March 2014 in Mindful Foraging, Our Foraging, Know Your Plants.

Juniper (Juniperus communis ssp.nana), once abundant, is now rare on Islay.  This local variant is a low, prostrate variety that clings l

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

The Botanist in travel retail

by The Botanist Editor on 17th March 2014 in The Botanist News.

A new one litre version of our new white flint glass bottle to house The

The Lomond Still

The Lomond Still

by The Botanist Editor on 14th March 2014 in Distillation.

"An oversized, upside-down dustbin made of copper" is how Tom Morton describes it in his excellent book "Spirit of Adventure".

The Foraged Islay Botanicals

The Foraged Islay Botanicals

by Lynton Davidson on 14th March 2014 in Our Foraging, Distillation.

We are endlessly fascinated by the history of this wild Hebridean island, of its people, its distilling lineage.

The Botanist tops OLN hot list

The Botanist tops OLN hot list

by The Botanist Editor on 16th December 2013 in The Botanist News.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin has won another top gin award, coming firs

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

The Botanist wins 'Fine Spirit of the Year'

by The Botanist Editor on 13th December 2013 in The Botanist News.

We are delighted that The Botanist has been awarded the accolade:

The Lomond Still

What makes the Botanist an Islay dry gin?

by The Botanist Editor on 13th March 2012 in Distillation.

The Botanist owes its name thanks to thirty one botanicals and two botanists.

Ingredients in gin The Botanist botanicals

What are the botanicals in The Botanist Gin?

by The Botanist Editor on 17th January 2012 in Our Foraging, Distillation.

Botanicals are the very essence of gin; its raison d'etre.

Scottish islands explorer - Botanist article

Islay Gin

by The Botanist Editor on 1st July 2011 in Distillation, Our Foraging.

Scottish Islands Explorer Magazine, July/August 2011:

Articles

Richard and Mavis Retire

We enjoyed a very splendid cake last week, beautifully baked by Katie to mark the retirement of our botanical scientists Dr.

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Carrot Family Bitters

There are members of the carrot family growing wild and in abundance that are potentially fatal - you must be able to tell apart the diff

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Wormwood - A love affair & DIY Absinthe

A romance can last a few hours or a few decades. Short ones can burn so brightly that they forever brand themselves inside your soul.

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Foraged Drinks
Nettled Tom Collins

Nettle is a great flavour for sweetness and nose-tickling freshness.

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Hog Reviver

This is a basic corpse reviver number 2 but with hogweed seed tincture rather than absinthe, and finished with a hogweed seed garnish.

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Islay Bramble

We wanted to make a bramble cockt

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Our Foraging
How to Make Infused Gin

Our homemade rose petal-infused gin has been a hit as of late on the Laddieshop's Botanist tours, having been used in a couple of our

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A Scratch Grenadine

Creating a substitute for grenadine from five common native plants of the season. Try it! Full recipe here.

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Beginner's Cocktail Syrups

While a traditional gin and tonic tends to be my drink of choice, I do have much love for cocktails - so I was very excited to find out t

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Events

London Cocktail Week dinners at Sager + Wilde

After a recent trip to see us at the distillery on Islay and come out foraging, Chris Leach, head chef at Paradise Row, and Marcis Dzelza

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Universal Works Present: Designability

Revolution is a catalyst for innovation: political, physical, intellectual and artistic.

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Mistress Madness

Join our brand ambassador for South Africa, Caitlin Hill, for a range of cocktails at the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium on August 8th at 7p

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