I have very fond memories from my last trip to France. It was quite some years ago, as I was there to watch Scotland playing in the football World Cup. So no, the fond memories weren’t especially of the football. Mostly I remember sipping Pastis or Ricard in sunny gardens. There is something about alcoholic aniseed flavours that works wonderfully with sunshine – as witnessed by the popularity of drinks on the licorice-anise spectrum around the med: absinthe, ouzo, sambuca, anis…I could go on.
So I figured why not use our indigenous (in the north of Britain anyway) sweet cicely (myrrhis oderata) to make a cocktail.
Its simple to put together, though you will have to put a bit of work and advanced planning in with some of the ingredients. As with all my “recipes”, please just use this as guidance and play about with your own proportions/additions. I’ve certainly never made it the same way twice…
Sweet Cicely’s Ruin
- 50ml of sweet cicely juice. An armful of sweet cicely stems and leaves – juiced. I recommend you use a hand-cranked juicer (often sold as a “wheatgrass juicer” and a very useful tool to have in the forager’s kitchen). Be sure to spread around your picking, ideally after the plants have set seed.
- 50ml of a good quality gin – I use The Botanist as it is flavoured already with sweet cicely among other foraged botanicals
- 15ml of crab apple or japanese knotweed verjus – made by juicing crab apples or knotweed and straining through muslin. Keeps for a month, after which I recommend freezing
- Sweet cicely champagne to taste – depending on how long you want the drink (or use cordial diluted with fizzy water). Made in just the same way as elderflower champagne, only add twice the number of flowers.
- Optional – sweet cicely vodka to taste – made by macerating sweet cicely seeds, stems and leaf in vodka, a la sloe gin, only spare the sugar.
- A sweet cicely stem to use as a straw plus some flowers for garnishing
Mix all the ingredients except the fizz with ice, shake, pour, top up with fizz to taste. Scatter flowers. Drinking through the sweet cicely straw sweetens the drink slightly and adds to the anise experience.
- Botanical Booze Foraging
- Foraged cocktail recipe: Islay Spring – including how to make a foraged aromatised wine
- Foraged Cocktail: Wild Whisky Sour
- Sweet Cicely – Identification, Edibility, Distribution
- Browse more foraging recipes