Pardon us for name-dropping, but last week we were invited to a corporate booze schmooze at ace chef Marco Pierre White’s splendid hotel, The Rudloe Arms, in Corsham, Wiltshire. We were there to work, inviting sozzled guests to a degustation of beverages, all artfully pimped up with garden harvestables.
We gave them syrups flavoured with fruits and herbs to plunge into their glasses of expensive champers; we mixed up our much heralded summer cup, a riotously fruity punch packed with a multitude of home grown flavours; we let them savour the olfactory delights of our lavender gin. And such was the success of this floral tonic we’ve decided to share our recipe with you all.
How to make lavender gin
The lavender choosing…
First up, make sure you go for English lavender, for its oily essences are far superior to those butterfly-crested French varieties. How much you pick depends on numerous factors including precise variety, size and time of year – it’ll be at its aroma giving best if picked at the peak of its blooming powers during the mid-morning sun – but our trials suggest 15 lavender heads will be ample in 375ml gin.
The lavender infusing…
This is a delicate, delightful tipple in which the gin is simply infused with the perfumed magnificence of lavender, so you want a quality spirit as your base. We reckon The Botanist Gin is as good as it gets. It’s made with 22 wild and foraged botanicals, is distilled on the Scottish island of Islay and comes in an equally magnificent bottle. To infuse your lavender bounty, simply drop the flower heads into the booze (either directly in the bottle or a clean, glass jar) and leave overnight before removing them.
The lavender boozing…
You now have your own lavender gin, a light, dusky gold liquid with the relaxing essence of lavender to accompany the botanical delights of the booze. It’s a thing of subtle beauty, so allow it to work its emollient charms in the purest form possible – perhaps diluted with tonic or lemonade; given the martini treatment with a touch of vermouth; or served simply on the rocks.
For more on the wild, foraged ingredients that go into The Botanist Gin, visit their website at www.thebotanist.com
Our Summer Cup is one of the many recipes in our book Brew it Yourself, available in most good bookshops here on Amazon