Honey-flower Martini

By Jane Carswell


This is actually a bit more like a gimlet-martini cross, which we are serving on today’s Botanist gin tour. We used bought lime cordial, so to offset our guilt and make it more interesting, we spiced it up with something foraged and home-made!

  • 40ml Botanist Gin
  • 20ml lime cordial (or lime juice plus 2:1 simple syrup instead)
  • Barspoon Tio Pepe
  • Barspoon honey-flower shrub
  • 10ml still water (the tours are before noon!)



Stir all the ingredients with a large amount of ice in a mixing glass until chilled. Strain into a martini glass, preferably one that has been in the freezer for half an hour. Garnish with seasonal flowers. We picked the last lemon-y flavoured flowers from the Berberis (“Barberry”) bush in the Academy garden at the distillery to scatter on top.

Honey-flower shrub. This is a sweet, thick, flavoured vinegar, good for finishing off cocktails, especially sours types. We made ours in June when there were lots of flowers around on Islay, right at their peak.

You need equal parts of apple cider vinegar and sugar, perhaps 200ml to 200g. Heat them together until they are dissolved and nice and thick. Cool and then pour onto the flowers you have collected (in a jam jar or kilner jar). Our flowers were a mixture of dandelion, cats ear (very like a dandelion), yellow vetch, sea campion and wild rose. Leave for three days and then strain. With the acidity, and the sugar content, ours has kept fine in a wee kilner jar for 3 months so far; to be sure, you could keep it in the fridge.

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