Botanical Drinks Bliss

I recently spent the most enjoyable morning at a Botanical Drinks workshop, held at Mawgan Porth Village Hall by the talented and very well qualified Sarah from Alchemilla Apothecary.

‘Sticky Weed’, a relative of the Coffee family!
A comforting ‘welcome’ homemade blend herbal tea.

We were greeted by a lovely herbal tea with warm notes and flavours, setting the scene for the rest of the workshop.

The first part of the workshop was learning about and creating ‘Shrubs’. I’d been especially looking forward to this, as I’d known of the health benefits of drinking vinegar (we even give apple cider vinegar to the horses!), but I’d never been brave enough to try it myself. The results were delicious! I could quite happily swap an alcoholic drink for a Shrub mocktail, it’s no wonder there are dedicated shrub bars becoming popular in the USA, both alcoholic and non. My favourite was the ‘Haymakers Punch’, really refreshing and the bottle didn’t last long in this warm weather once home!

We also made an Elderberry syrup using vinegar. I’ve made plenty of hedgerow syrups before, just not with vinegar. Equally refreshing and I’ve been using as a cordial ever since.

We moved on to botanical drinks, which I am more familiar with, but it was really good to try new recipes and discuss flavours and ingredients with other participants. Learning the specific health benefits of the plants was also fascinating.

‘Bruising’ Fennel Seeds
‘Dew of the Sea’

Finally, we were treated to a simply scrumptious homemade lunch, over which we reflected on how we were going to take our learning back home. I certainly know what my friends and family are going to receive this Christmas (just don’t tell them…) and as the seasons start to turn a page, sloes, blackberries and rosehips are starting to emerge. I’ve purchased both books and I’m aiming to become a little more adventurous than just using berries. I’ll certainly be attending more of Sarah’s walks and workshops over the year!

You can check out the history of drinking vinegars by Sarah on The Herbalists Diary, well worth a read or listen! You can also keep up to date with local workshops and walks by Alchemilla Apothecary here.

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