If you've been inspired by your trip to Midnight Apothecary, why not have a go at making our cocktails for yourself? Our recipes and full instructions (from foraging to infusing to garnishing) can be found in Lottie Muir's books: Wild Cocktails from the Midnight Apothecary and Wild Mocktails & Healthy Cocktails from the Midnight Apothecary. Here's a little taster to get you started:
RASPBERRY AND SCENTED GERANIUM SOUR
This very pretty, delicious, pink cocktail is a riff on raspberries and lemon treated in various ways, with an extra layer of depth provided by the use of scented geraniums (Pelargonium) and vinegar. Although you can’t taste it directly, the vinegar in the Shrub gives a savory umami depth, which is rounded off with a dash of angostura bitters. The frothy body of the egg-white foam provides a mildness and beautiful mouth-feel in contrast to the strong, punchy gold rum, creating a very balanced, luxurious cocktail.
30ml Scented Geranium Vodka
30ml gold rum
22ml Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Syrup
10ml Raspberry and Scented Geranium Shrub
10ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white
Dash of angostura bitters
Cocktail shaker with strainer,
Garnish: Scented geranium (Pelargonium) leaf, 3 tiny edible flowers, such as rosemary or viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare)
Chill the glass thoroughly in the freezer or refrigerator for 2 or 4 hours respectively. Alternatively, fill the glass with ice.
Pour all the ingredients (but no ice) into the cocktail shaker. Cover and dry-shake hard for 20 seconds to consolidate all the ingredients and really emulsify the egg white. Add ice to the shaker, cover again, and shake hard for another 20 seconds. If you used ice to chill your glass, empty it out. Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass. Let the egg-white foam settle. Place the scented geranium leaf and the 3 edible flowers on top of the foam, using tweezers if necessary, and then serve.
Rub and sniff the scented geranium leaf in the garnish before drinking to release the essential oils and stimulate the taste buds.
The garnish of three little flowers provides pleasure for the eyes to ensure that no sense is left unsated! Top candidates for this are the exquisite flowers of plants from the mint (Lamiaceae) or borage (Boraginaceae) family, such as rosemary or viper’s bugloss.
Scented Geranium Vodka
2 large handfuls of unsprayed rose-scented geranium leaves, such as Pelargonium graveolens or P. ‘Attar of Roses’
700 or 750ml bottle of vodka, 80 proof/40% ABV
1-litre wide-mouthed, sealable jar, sterilized
Sealable presentation bottle(s), sterilized
Makes approximately 750ml
Smack the individual unwashed leaves between your hands to release the essential oil before dropping them into the jar. Cover with the vodka. Seal and upend the jar gently a couple of times. Leave in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. Taste to see if you are getting a strong flavor of scented geranium. If you aren’t, reseal and leave for a maximum of 48 hours. Strain the infusion into a wide-mouthed pitcher, then funnel into the sterilized presentation bottle(s) and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and use within 6 months.
Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Syrup
400g caster sugar (you could substitute half the sugar with 2 tbsp/5g or 2 young stems of sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) leaves, finely chopped, for a slight aniseed flavor)
4 lemon verbena leaves
Sealable, heatproof presentation
Makes approximately 500ml
Stir the water and sugar together in a nonreactive pan over a low heat to make a simple syrup. Once it has reached boiling point, add the raspberries and lemon verbena leaves, stir, and let simmer until the raspberries have collapsed (about 10 minutes). Strain while still piping hot, but not boiling, into a wide-mouthed pitcher—you really don’t want raspberry pips in this syrup—then funnel into the sterilized presentation bottle(s). Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The remaining raspberry (with the lemon verbena solids removed) can be used as a compote over yogurt or ice cream.
Raspberry and Scented Geranium Shrub
500g very ripe raspberries, washed
10 scented geranium (Pelargonium) leaves
800g caster sugar
Approximately 500ml champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Sealable presentation bottle(s), sterilized
Makes very approximately 500ml
Place the raspberries in a large bowl. Smack the unwashed scented geranium leaves between your palms to release the essential oils, and place them among the raspberries. Cover them with the sugar. Drape a clean dishtowel over the top of the bowl and leave on a countertop.
The maceration will take up to 48 hours—you will notice the sugar turn red, and under the crust an amazing bright raspberry liquid will appear. Strain the liquid into a measuring cup. Add an equal amount of champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the amount of liquid in the measuring cup. Stir to make sure all the sugar in the liquid has dissolved. Funnel into the sterilized presentation bottle(s) and seal. This shrub will mellow with time, so try to leave it for a week before consuming. Store in the refrigerator once opened and consume within 6 months.