Along the River Kelvin – Glasgow


There are some beautifully verdant, semi-wild areas of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.  The name Glasgow means “green hollow” and has often been translated as “dear green place” – and there is still no shortage of parks and green spaces in the city boundaries. We joined up with the Glasgow Gin Club for a fascinating Foraging Walk starting in a west end park on Saturday 4th July.  Our guides were Mark Williams, who is Scotland’s only professional foraging tutor, and Danny Whelan of the very wonderful Kelvingrove Café. It was good to see some of Glasgow’s digital community joining us – Emma and Mark from Food and Drink Glasgow and Lyndsey of Girl Versus Food.

After an introductory cupful of Mark’s delicious sparkling elderflower wine, our group of around 15 enthusiasts were soon experiencing the diverse range of scents and flavours that surround us.

During the walk we came across many of the 22 botanicals that we use in The Botanist.  Thyme, mugwort, sweet cicely, juniper and apple mint showed up, though we only nibbled tiny amounts of these as they had been lovingly planted! It was great to see some of our lovely Botanist ingredients growing in a different context.  We also found elder, hawthorn, tansy, spearmint the delectible meadow sweet.

Foraged cocktails by the Kelvin

Every bit as interesting were those that we don’t use in our gin, but can still provide new dimensions, new experiences.

Every bit as interesting were those that we don’t use in our gin, but can still provide new dimensions, new experiences.  We were to taste the chocolate orange seeds of the common hogweed, bitter dandelion and the fruity aromatics of pineappleweed. Mark regularly pulled bottles of infusions, brews, bitters and shrubs that he had pre-prepared to allow us to taste how the wild flavours can be interpreted.

After our amble along the picturesque River Kelvin we stopped on a bridge that crosses the river for Danny and Mark to give us an impromptu foraged cocktail experience.  These involved the use of an ISI Cream Whipper as a rapid infusion device, blasting flavours from the leaves we had gathered using wee canisters of nitrous oxide – a great way to drink our walk.

Back in the Kelvingrove Café, we tried some delicious, and generously proportioned, foraged ‘canapes’, which were very welcome after we had tried The Botanist neat, over ice and finally with a foraged tonic.  Delicious.

Huge thanks to Steven and Graeme of the Glasgow Gin Club, and to chef Dave and all at the Kelvingrove.

more features

Due to regulations in your own country of residence, you cannot access this website

By entering you accept the use of cookies to enhance your user experience and collect information on the use of the website. Find out more