Drinks Digest was fascinated to attend a The Botanist Gin picnic on a gorgeous autumn day to learn more about the spirit and the story behind its hand-foraged botanicals.
The Botanist’s unique flavours come from its 22 hand-foraged botanicals – including apple mint, heather, red clover, and meadowsweet – which are sustainably harvested across the island of Islay. The distillery’s mission is to support the island through the creation of The Botanist Foundation, which aims to conserve its biodiversity.
As such, The Botanist Gin is distilled for just eight days of the year, to ensure the island has enough resources for foraging without causing environmental impacts. As a result, the distillery only has a limited production run.
Our picnic was artfully arranged in the herb garden of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, with foraged foods expert Diego Bonneto – aka The Weedy One – taking guests on a quick tour of some of the interesting plants surrounding us, which even included an absinthe bush!
Drinks Digest also discovered new friends at the picnic, including former Masterchef contestant and thoroughly nice bloke Jimmy Wong (above), who you can find and follow at @jimmywongeats.
Our other new follows included the Sunday Telegraph’s fabulous @sydneyeatstreet (above, left) and celebrity fashion stylist @jamieazzopardi (below, left). We can also confirm that former Home & Away star Lincoln Younes is a lovely picnic companion.
While the cocktails were delicious in themselves, it was great to hear more about the art of foraging and how it makes The Botanist so special. Bonneto’s passion is showing people how to find ingredients scattered throughout varied urban landscapes; similiarly, The Botanist has its own full-time professional forager, James Donaldson, who sustainably hand picks the 22 local botanicals used in the distillation of the dry gin.
The result for The Botanist is a spirit that has a nose that’s filled with a bouquet of herbal freshness, juniper and sweet citrus, which opens to sweet, spicy and earthy notes of cassia and coriander. It has a round mouthfeel, with a relaxed, balanced finish of water mint, hawthorn, wood sage, cinnamon and soft juniper.
Our favourite cocktail, created during the picnic by The Botanist’s Australian ambassador Josh O’Brien, was the “Passion is Fashion” (above), which featured The Botanist Gin, chamomile and passionfruit infused wild honey, orange blossom, with the most divine passionfruit shell sherbet on the side of the glass.
Below is a gallery of photographs from the beautiful event:
The Botanist Gin is stocked by BWS, Dan Murphy’s and independent retailers. $86 RRP.