Popularity is blossoming for raiding natures larder. As we go back to our roots, we turn our heads to wherever our local area might be. This week we have been foraging in the capital in Edinburgh on a mission to find natural, hand picked garnishes that add a little something to our Arbikie spirits.
After conducting some secondary research (for fear of eating a radically dangerous plant) we sent off on the adventures with a vague direction of what is and is NOT edible. Confession time, the first stop on the foraging trip was actually the back garden. It may not be adventurous but the back garden proved to provide some delightful spots for potential garnishes. After realising the courgettes (that are now almost fully grown) develop from a flower that is entirely edible, as you can see in the picture bellow.
The flower that is left behind once a courgette is fully grown, is sweet much like the veg. Paired beautifully with AK's Gin, which has subtle honey notes, encouraged the garnish to strengthen these sweet flavours.
Next up we have something you can find almost anywhere in the UK - it's both easy and plentiful to find. Elderflower can be found on roadside or in woods, the elderflowers picked to garnish our Nàdar Gin was hand picked by Edinburgh's stunning and scenic Arthur's Seat.
Nàdar gin, meaning nature in Gaelic is made using the botanicals; lemongrass and citrus leaf. These create a smooth silky and refreshing palate that are complimented beautifully by the elderflower, however the flavours are much more subtle and would benefit from being turned into a syrup and mixed up in a cocktail rather than a garnish.
Later in the year these elderflowers turn into elderberries which could be something exciting to forage for a different time in the year.
Finally we have lavender which again is a stunning garnish in both appearance and scent! I'm sure you can guess which Arbikie Gin we paired with this flower...
At Arbikie we commonly associate the flavour of Kirsty's Gin with Spring and Summer, the same way many of us would do the same with lavender. Garnished with a Kirsty's and tonic this G&T looks and tasted beautifully summery.
After leaving it to soak not only did it enhance Kirsty's already crisp floral character but it created a whole new dimension to the flavour adding a balance of sweetness and earthiness.
During our foraging adventures we certainly stumbled across some risky options along the way, berry's that weren't necessarily for eating and leaves that left a sting but, hopefully our foraged finds have left you with some food for thought!