THE CONVIVIALISTS

Share the moment

THE CONVIVIALIST

Share the moment

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Make Urban Foraged Cocktails

4 MIN READ

Susanne Masters, Ethnobotanist

So you have gone out into the big wide world of foraging and found some edible delights, here's what to do next...

If you’ve already checked out our feature on Urban Foraging you’ll know there are edible delights all around us. Here are some top tips on throwing your own cocktail party and giving your friends a taste of your neighborhood. Not only is it a great way to let people customize their own drinks for their own taste or needs it’s so much fun to prepare.

We recommend you create an infused spirit, a cold tea, decorative ice cubes, bitters, syrup, and a brined pickle

Then all you need is to grab a bag of ice, a standard out of the bottle spirit, and some soda water for your guests to create flavours from sour to sweet.

Juneberries or serviceberries make a fruity and vibrant red syrup

Infused spirit

Bay leaves have a warm green and spicy flavor that works well with gin and rum. They are evergreen, and so available year round, but the leaves are tough and keep the flavor inside.

  • Roughly tear them and grind in a pestle and mortar with a spoonful of sugar as its rough crystals help to break up the leaves.
  • Infuse the crushed leaves and sugar in the spirit for 12 hours or more.

Cold tea

Linden blossom (also known as flowers from basswood trees in the USA or lime trees in the UK) makes an excellent tea that provides mouthfeel with its tannic notes and honey floral aroma. Linden trees are commonly planted as street trees.

  • Loosely fill a ceramic teapot with linden blossom.
  • Cover with boiling water and leave for 12 hours or overnight to infuse and cool to room temperature.

Borage flowers are a good size for fitting into ice cubes and visually appealing.

Decorative ice cubes

Borage flowers are a good size for fitting into ice cubes and are visually appealing.  Borage often grows in disturbed ground.

  • The trick to freezing small flowers inside ice cubes is to fill an ice cube tray one third full and allow it to freeze.
  • Place the flowers in the tray and add another third of water and then allow to freeze.
  • Then you can add the final third of water and leave in the freezer until needed – the flowers, which are held by the middle layer of ice, won’t float to the top while the ice is freezing.

Syrup

Juneberries or serviceberries look like small red blueberries and easily make a fruity and vibrant red syrup. They grow on small trees so are usually within reach.

  • Using the ratio of 4 parts juneberries: 2 parts sugar: 1 part water, put berries, sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer until the berries pop then remove from heat and leave to cool.
  • Sieve and store in the fridge until used – it will keep for about a week.

Making a syrup is a great base for any cocktail providing color and flavor

Bitters

Epazote’s slightly rocket fuelled punchy aroma is perfect for using as an accent note dispensed in drops. This Mexican herb can be found growing wild in the middle of Brooklyn.

  • Put a small bunch of epazote in a jar and cover with high proof neutral spirit.
  • Allow to infuse for at least a week and then remove the epazote – it will keep indefinitely.

Brined pickle

Daylilies have flowers that only last a day so they usually have an array of buds at the ready. They have been used in Chinese cuisine for centuries, although in the USA and UK they are mostly known as garden ornamentals.

  • Bring 1.5 cups of water, 1.5 cups of wine vinegar, 0.5 cup of sugar and 1.5 tablespoons of salt to boil.
  • Simmer and stir until all the salt and sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the hot brine over 3 cups of daylily buds in jar, cover, and leave to cool.
  • It will be ready in 12 hours but will keep in the fridge for around two weeks.