Who doesn’t love a good forage, especially when the weather is glorious, the location picture-perfect Kelmarna Gardens and the wandering is accompanied by a delicious, chilled, tall G&T. This is where I found myself a few days ago, joined by a motley crew of media (happy birthday Cam Mansel – enjoy that prize!), being educated and entertained by the good people of The Botanist. It was great fun fossicking in the garden, scissors in hand, to snip tasty samples of our edible finds. My favourites were the pineapple sage and fig leaves (both sweet and aromatic), which I put to good use in my Botanist G&T creation a little later, but I also enjoyed the peppery horopito and nasturtium, oniony (no surprises there) onion weed and pretty blue borage flowers. Once we had collected our foraged treasure we learned a little more about the Botanist Gin (the ‘22’ on the bottle indicates the number of botanicals that it features, all sourced through hand-foraging on the island of Islay in Scotland), and enjoyed muddling our own concoctions while nibbling on delicious food provided by the super-talented Jess of Jess’ Underground Kitchen. My pineapple and fig combo was the winner on the day (possibly because I used half and half tonic and soda to let the gin and aromatics shine through (highly advised if you do some experimenting); however, Cam won ‘best (and very impressive) notes’, so we had an epic game of Paper Scissors Rock to decide who would take home the prize of a bumper 1.5-litre of Botanist gin and who’d take the regular size.
It was great fun to experiment with flavours and enjoy a delicious drink on a sunny day, and I highly recommend the experience – however, please remember to check that any foraged plants are in fact edible before using them!