We ask three of our creative foraging friends why they innovate when it comes to simple gin and tonic?
Writer Andy Hamilton claims to have come to wild plants out of laziness and impatience. ‘Wild plants don’t take any effort. I kept an allotment for a few years, and my interest grew because I couldn’t be bothered to weed! So I was inspired by laziness. That’s why I like rapid infusions too – the more rapid the better. They provide instant flavours.’
‘You can’t get fresher than straight from the garden,’ says Ally Kelsey, manager at White Lyan in London. ‘It’s a classic drink, a gin and tonic, but it’s always nice to enhance it very slightlywith a foraged flavour.
‘You always garnish gin, just for a bit of acidity. Conventionally, you use a bit of lime or lemon, so why not use sorrel to give that zestiness instead? Different green flavours come through really nicely with gin, so it keeps it nice and fresh.’
American author Ellen Zachos says: ‘There is nothing wrong with a conventional G&T. Sometimes it’s the perfect drink. But as a forager I revel in wild, un-buyable flavours that represent a special place or a moment in time. Take elderflower cordial or champagne. Either makes a cocktail that tastes like midsummer at our home in the Pennsylvania woods, surrounded by a thousand shades of green. Foraged ingredients like these offer more than just interest. They are emotional responses to our sense of time and place, which adds to their deliciousness.’