The Botanist.

Wild. Foraged. Distilled.

Foraged Island Botanicals
The first and only Islay dry gin


The Ogilvie

By Jane Carswell

14th July 2017

Carol and Malcolm Ogilvie are some of our neighbours at the distillery. They have a beautiful garden which just now is filled with white and magenta flowers of Rosa Rugosa, and their scent. They offered us some petals and this is summer negroni style drink is what Ashley did with them, to create a seasonal serve for yesterday's Botanist Gin tour.

15ml rose infused Botanist

20ml Botanist

15ml currant and dock sour juice

10ml Hawthorn syrup, fortified to 18% 

Barspoon campari

Stir for 40 seconds with ice in a mixing glass, strain, garnish with rose petals

Foraging Notes

To make rose-infused gin, we collected a kilner jar of petals in the morning before the dew had dried, or any oils could evaporate, and steeped them for 24 hours. We ended up with a deep pink liquid, which we filtered and used.

Meanwhile, in our endless quest for non-imported sours, we have recently discovered the dock stem. There are two extremely common types of dock in this country - Broad leafed Rumex obtusifolius and Curled Rumex crispus - this time of year, easily found by the flagpoles of brown seeds. Just now, alhough some of the leaves have become discoloured in the sunlight, in the shadier spots the leaf stalks are still succulent, and can be chomped raw to release a naturally balanced sweet/sour juice with a hint of damson or rhubarb.

It's also white currant season, so we couldn't refuse a punnet of them from Islay House Community Garden in the mix. To make the sour juice, we cleaned and chopped the dock stalks and currants, waterbathed them in a kilner jar for less than 10 minutes to soften them a little, added a teaspoon of citric acid, which helped release the colour (from the dock we think), blitzed it with a stick blender, and passed it through a conical sieve.

We made the Hawthorn syrup in May, from blossoms and simple sugar syrup [1:1 weight in grams to volume in ml.] It has kept because we fortified it by adding alcohol to make it 18% proof, thereby preventing further fermentation. Hawthorn is in the rose family, but the flavour is a bit more of wood or plum, less floral, so it worked well as the sweetening element here. 

dock stem juice native sours



Richard and Mavis Retire

We enjoyed a very splendid cake last week, to mark the retirement of our botanical scientists Dr. Richard and Mavis Gulliver.

Read more

Carrot Family Bitters

There are members of the carrot family growing wild and in abundance that are potentially fatal - you must be able to tell apart the diff

Read more

Wormwood - A love affair & DIY Absinthe

A romance can last a few hours or a few decades. Short ones can burn so brightly that they forever brand themselves inside your soul.

Read more

Foraged Drinks
Gin Hog Zinger

An original cocktail made by Fraser for today's Botani

Read more

Live Reviver

This is a really simple foraged cocktail, that uses the proportions of the corpse reviver, hence it's name.

Read more

Belmont Berry Fleur

We adapted this recipe from Harry Cr

Read more

Our Foraging
Kate's Wild Rosehip Syrup

Rosehips are one of autumn and winter’s brightest hedgerow bounty.  In the UK, our gardens, school yards and pathways are surrounded in s

Read more

How to Make Infused Gin

Our homemade rose petal-infused gin has been a hit as of late on the Laddieshop's Botanist tours.

Read more

A Scratch Grenadine

Creating a substitute for grenadine from five common native plants of the season. Try it! Full recipe here.

Read more


TASTE Festival

The Botanist, Islay’s first and only dry gin will be offering a wild experience like no other at TASTE Festive this year, bringing Islay

Read more

Shadow Session 8 at Chambar, Vancouver

Live at Chambar restaurant, Vancouver, Canada Join them on Thursday 16th November

Read more

London Cocktail Week dinners at Sager + Wilde

After a recent trip to see us at the distillery on Islay and come out foraging, Chris Leach, head chef at Paradise Row, and Marcis Dzelza

Read more