Budding Botanist

By Mark Williams


Ingredients:

This is a great way to combine the early flavours of spring using April flower buds and leaf shoots.

  • 50ml The Botanist Gin
  • 25ml Rowan shoot liqueur : Infuse young rowan leaf buds into neutral spirit for 2 weeks, sweeten to taste with blossom honey or sugar syrup
  • 15ml Magnolia petal/bud shrub : Infuse some magnolia petals in cider vinegar for 4 days and some others in blossom honey for 4 days, then mix vinegar and honey to taste.
  • Sweet cicely soda to taste : Rapid infuse a handful of sweet cicely leaves in mineral water using an iSi cream whipper and 2 charges of N2O then releasing the pressure, straining and recharging with one of CO2
  • Sweet cicely tincture : Made by infusing sweet cicely leaves and stems in strong neutral spirit for 1 – 2 weeks
  • Garnish with mahonia/berberry blossoms and baby rowan shoots

Method:

Stir the gin, liqueur and shrub over ice. Strain into glass with ice. Add soda to taste, stiring gently. Scatter garnish. Mist with sweet cicely tincture.

Foraging notes

I made this drink based on what I found around my garden in Galloway, SW Scotland. Rowan, magnolia and berberry are easily found in cities, especially overhanging suburban gardens, which makes them fair game! Sweet cicely is a member of the carrot/parsley/apiaceae family of plants, only found in damp northern climes – more information here. If it doesn’t grow near you, try other members of the carrot family with flavours on the anise spectrum, such as fennel or carraway.