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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know your plants

Foraging for edible weeds - broad leafed dock Rumex obtusifolius

The Rumex Cube

by Jane Carswell on 12th December 2017 in Know Your Plants, Our Foraging.

It was only recently that I discovered you could eat dock. My way in was through the stems. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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,

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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

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

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.

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.  

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).

 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.

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

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.

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

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

Articles

Carbonated Spruce Gimlet

The recipe for a wild native twist on a classic Gimlet.

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New sizes of The Botanist include a Magnum

We are delighted to be able to announce that we have introduced a number of new sizes for The Botanist, the first and only Islay Dry Gin.

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Richard and Mavis Retire

We enjoyed a very splendid cake last week, to mark the retirement of our botanical scientists Dr. Richard and Mavis Gulliver.

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Foraged Drinks
Gin Hog Zinger

An original cocktail made by Fraser for today's Botani

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Live Reviver

This is a really simple foraged cocktail, that uses the proportions of the corpse reviver, hence it's name.

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Belmont Berry Fleur

We adapted this recipe from Harry Cr

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Our Foraging
The Rumex Cube

It was only recently that I discovered you could eat dock. My way in was through the stems. 

Read more

Kate's Wild Rosehip Syrup

Rosehips are one of autumn and winter’s brightest hedgerow bounty.  In the UK, our gardens, school yards and pathways are surrounded in s

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How to Make Infused Gin

Our homemade rose petal-infused gin has been a hit as of late on the Laddieshop's Botanist tours.

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Events

TASTE Festival

The Botanist, Islay’s first and only dry gin will be offering a wild experience like no other at TASTE Festive this year, bringing Islay

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Shadow Session 8 at Chambar, Vancouver

Live at Chambar restaurant, Vancouver, Canada Join them on Thursday 16th November

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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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