Islay and Tokyo might be about as far apart as it is possible to imagine, in several many respects. But at a Botanist Academy this week, Mina Ebihara of Mugiya, Mayazaki Prefecture, managed to recreate a drink that had already won plaudits in Japan, using all Islay, foraged herbs.
She had brought some back-up ingredients with her from home, but didn’t need to draw on them, finding a spectrum of wild plants and seaweeds here that were unfamiliar in name but gave an equivalent network of flavours. She found a direct substitute for mallow in our native flowering currant and achieved the finishing colour by setting off a chemical reaction between the green and magenta infusions.
You may notice her Botanist lab coat, which was part of her Tokyo competition prize, embroidered with ’37’ rather than our more usual ’22’ because of the number of elements in her cocktail “Perfect Botanical Garden”.
Served with a garnish of Blackthorn blossom, coltsfoot, bronze fennel, bladderwrack hearts, ice plant, flowering currant, and gorse.