Budding Botanist

By Mark Williams


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


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.

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.

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