There are so many plants to be foraged in the spring, we’re spoilt for choice! And so much can be done with them; from salads to teas, pickling and preserving, it’s great to have fresh green springy growth after what felt like a long winter!
We don’t know about you, but we think the very best thing to do with your forage is make a cocktail! Keep reading for our Garden G&T cocktail recipe…
For this cocktail we picked nettles and cleavers, two absolutely epic superfoods! You may know cleavers by another name- sticky weed, catchweed or sticky willy, and you’ll recognise it from it’s whorl of leaves, radiating from the central stem like petals on a flower, and from the fact it sticks to your clothes!
Cleavers are great for your lymphatic system, part of your immune system, improving your ability to flush out toxins, decrease congestion and even reduce swelling.
Nettles are another super easy forage, probably one of the first plants you learnt as a child! The fresh spring growth is great, just be sure to wear gloves or use a pair of scissors to forage safely.
The list of health benefits of nettles is pretty long- containing vitamins A, C and K, as well as several B vitamins. Nettles also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, and have been shown to do everything from reducing inflammation, treating hay fever and lowering blood pressure- don’t let anyone tell you your cocktail isn’t good for you!
So how do you make it? Here’s our recipe for a Garden G&T (and there are plenty of great 0% alcohol ‘spirits’ out there if you’d rather make a mocktail version)
Garden G&T Cocktail
10ml Raspberry syrup
35ml Lemon juice
35ml Conkers gin
Top with Nettle, cleavers and forced rhubarb tonic
Add a slice of cucumber
Garnish with half lime slice
Make your own foraged tonic
Juice and peel of 1 lemon
Juice and peel of 1 lime
2 large handfuls of cleavers
2 large handfuls of nettles
4 diced forced rhubarb
1.5 l of water
20g gentian root
10 g of citric acid
Add to a pan and bring to the boil
Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour
Remove from heat and let steep for another half an hour
Strain through muslin
Add to a sterilized bottle
To make tonic water add 1 part tonic to 3 parts carbonated water. Make as you need it and store the syrup in the fridge and it should last for up to 4 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
Make your own fruit syrup
We like to make up a batch of syrups in the summer months and freeze them so that when we’re waiting for berry season to arrive we don’t go without. You could make a rhubarb syrup instead of using raspberry for a stronger rhubarb hit in this cocktail.
A syrup is more concentrated than a tonic. You need to boil equal parts sugar to water. For a thicker sweeter syrup, use more sugar. For a lighter syrup, use less. Heat until the sugar dissolves. To make a fruit syrup add another equal measure of fruit. Heat until the syrup starts to come together and thicken and then strain through a muslin.