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In honour of The Drunken Botanist the FT’s cocktail team invented seven botanical-based drinks. Four of the cocktails were chosen by Jo Farish, founder of the itinerant Gin Garden, and made by her mixologist, Nathan Cable, at Clifton Nurseries in London.
The Pink ’un/The 125 by Jane Owen, editor of House & Home
1 measure of London gin
2 measures of soda
Big splash of Angostura bitters
Teaspoon of caster sugar
Pink rose petals and a large sprig of mint
Nathan says: 5/5
My personal choice. The bitters and gin compliment beautifully and the sugar balances the act. Full of flavour and class. Rim the glass with caster sugar. A little bitters goes a long way, so don’t go nuts! Only use a garnish to add aesthetics to a drink. Apple mint sprigs are perfect.
Mint comes in many different forms from apple mint to spearmint to eau de cologne mint. Jane’s preference is for Moroccan mint or Bowles mint. Most mints are pretty bomb proof, need sun and will tolerate most soil types. They take easily from root cuttings. Some varieties are so invasive that they should be grown in a container rather than a bed.
The Prince by Laura Battle, deputy editor of House & Home
1 measure of No. 3 gin (to denote the third in line to the throne)
1 lime, include juice and pith
Sprig of mint leaves
Bitter lemon (for the republicans out there)
1 borage flower
Juice the lime and muddle the lime pith and skin along with mint leaves in the bottom of a high ball glass. Add the measure of gin and top up with bitter lemon. Garnish with a borage flower.
Nathan says: 4/5
An elegant and simple take on a classic: the perfect blend of bitter/sweet. This drink can be bitter so add a teaspoon of caster sugar to balance it. Using spearmint will give it a lovely smoothness.
Borage grows to about a metre high with large hairy leaves and blue/purple flowers. It self-seeds and thrives in most well-drained soils. Sow in situ in spring or beg some seedlings from a friend.
My name is Prince (dedicated to Prince George and the Artist known as Prince) by Aundray Forde, IT technical specialist
Crushed raspberries (beret)
Crushed passion flower
(Sign of the) Thyme
(I wanna be your) Lovage
Lotus flower and a tear from a dove
Nathan says: 3/5
A touch bland for my taste; the dry notes play too much in this cocktail. Combine the fruit and vodka then strain into a flute. The Champagne bubbles will bring the fruits’ sweetness to the surface. Decorate with a lemon twist.
Thyme needs a hot, sunny site and poor soil. Propagation is best from layered cuttings.
Cherry Aid by Hannah Bishop, Pictures
A sweet and sour hit for those who never want to grow up – think lazy summers and golden days drinking ice cold cherryade. Forever young in a glass.
Squeeze of lemon juice
A few crushed cherries in bottom of glass
1 tsp of honey
Serve on ice, with cherries to garnish
Nathan says: 5/5
Great fun, a good looking and tasty cocktail. On the sweeter side but finds a great balance. Remember that honey is sweeter than sugar, but takes much longer to dissolve. Make in a rocks glass, using crushed ice. Top with lemonade to compliment and sweeten.
Lemon verbena loves a hot, sunny site and a rich well-drained soil. It needs protection from frost. Propagation: stem cuttings taken in summer.
And the runners-up are:
Gin Blossom by Tamzin Baker, commissioning editor on House & Home
Gin blossom is slang for the capillaries in your nose and face that burst because of excessive drinking. This is a botanical take on the gin and lime juice cocktail called a gimlet – which uses Rose’s lime cordial. However, this recipe calls for fresh lime juice, verbena and, in tribute to the green syrup, one rose for garnish.
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
Zest of ½ a lime
Juice of 2 limes
½ cup of gin
Clipping of verbena
Roses will grow in most climates so long as they are planted into rich soil.
Banker’s bonus (or “Taxpayers gin and bear it”) by Jason Woodward, production editor of House & Home
Like its name, this is flash, indulgent, wears plenty of ice and is totally minted. Best of all, you alone can decide if you deserve one or not.
Lemon juice (squeeze till the pips squeak)
Lots of mint
Plenty of ice
Serve with a sugar frosted glass rim
Stocks (optional) for decoration
Stocks grow easily from seed in a sunny, fertile well-drained soil. Sow direct into the soil in late spring.
The Yellow Jersey by John Sunyer, commissioning editor on House & Home
1x banana liqueur
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Optional: 4x mineral water
Stir together with crushed ice and decorate with calendula flowers and thyme
Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold, is easy to grow. Sow seeds in situ, in a sunny position, as soon as the earth is warm.
The Drunken Botanist: Intoxicated by plants