Yes, you read it right, we’ve made a Cardiff Foragers Gin Cocktail. We’re used to living a city life; spending time in the parks and museums, joining the crowds watching the rugby and eating as many Salkaara curries as we can get our hands on. Lockdown has forced us to live very differently for the past few months. We have stayed close to home, only venturing out into the garden or the little lanes around our house.
Getting out into the countryside has given us the chance to grow an appreciation of nature, re-establishing a connection which is almost totally cut-off by modern urban life. We have watched the gentle progression of spring; the buds appearing on trees, wildflowers blooming in hedgerows and the arrival of the migrating swallows.
On the back lanes around Cardiff, nature has taken over whilst the cars and council lawnmowers have stayed home. Have you noticed the abundance of wildflowers this year? The charity PlantlifeUK estimates that there are only 85,000 hectares of species-rich grassland in the UK. When you compare that with the 238,000 hectares of roadside verges you start to see how important these little mini-meadows are.
Spurred on by the resilience of nature all around us, we have used lockdown to start to learn more about the different uses for the plants around us. The wild garlic down by the river smells fantastic and makes the best pesto. Nettles are surprisingly delicious when you sprinkle them with oil and roast them into crisps. The Ribwort Plantain that sprung up outside our house is a natural antihistamine and fantastic for nettle stings picked up during said crisp making!
En hommage to nature which has kept us sane these past few months, we’ve used our gin in a ‘forager’ cocktail. The drink includes forget-me-not and lilac flowers which can easily be found in gardens and verges around Wales. Please remember! when foraging, always make sure that you can identify the plant accurately. When in doubt, leave it out! Seek expert advice if you are unsure. Please use common sense when foraging for ingredients. Leave 1/3 for wildlife, 1/3 for sustainability and 1/3 for foraging.
Ingredients for Cardiff Foragers Gin Cocktail
- 50ml Treganna Gin
- 100ml quality tonic (we used Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic)
- 25ml fresh lemon juice
- 20ml sugar syrup (we used Monin Lavender syrup)
- Edible wild flowers for garnish (we used forget-me-not and lilac flowers)
- Fill your glass of choice with crushed ice, Treganna gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup
- Stir and fill to the brim with tonic water (add more gin or ice if you prefer!)
- Gather your foraged and washed flowers or herbs and decorate