The Botanist, the first and only dry gin from the rich Isle of Islay in Scotland, has been in the market for a while and has grown to be one of DrinkManila.com’s favorite gins. The artisanal Scottish gin has been highlighted in our G&T and cocktail recipes and was one of our featured spirits for the Women and Tipple series. With its rich and mellow flavor, citrusy freshness, and layered complexity, It’s a staple in our liquor cabinet and is easily one of our go-to gins for G&T, cocktails, and even neat or on the rocks.

The small batch and hand-crafted gin uses 22 wild botanicals foraged locally in the Scottish island—apple mint, sweet chamomile, creeping thistle, downy birch, elder, gorse (whin), hawthorn, heather, juniper, lady’s bedstraw, lemon balm, meadowsweet, mugwort, red clover, spearmint, sweet cicely, bog myrtle (sweet gale), tansy, water mint, white clover, wild thyme, and wood sage. Picked when it best suits the season and climate, these botanicals augment nine other berries, barks, seeds, and peels during a slow, simmer distillation process that uses Islay spring water.

The Botanist professional forager James Donaldson

All good things take time; The Botanist’s distillation takes seventeen hours (four times longer than whisky distillation); and it is slowly distilled in “Ugly Betty”, one of the last Lomond Stills in the world. 22 might be a large number of botanicals, but The Botanist is blended with such skill, that all these elements are beautifully balanced, resulting in a fragrant and floral gin.

As an artisanal gin coming from a renowned whisky maker Bruichladdich Distillery, The Botanist has carved its place in the bars of the world and has risen above the din of numerous gin brands in the market. Ingredients hand-foraged by two people from the peaty hills of a remote Scottish island, plus the achingly slow distillation process in a beaten up old pot still (one of a few left in existence), add a sense of romance to this fascinating gin.

Poppy’s Gin Bar at The Island

An intimate gathering to an inspirational introduction into foraged flavors was held at Poppy’s Gin Bar at The Island on September 16, part of the launch of The Botanist’s #BeTheBotanist campaign, an empowering call to action to drive a deeper, more intimate connection with nature. The Botanist is pushing a global foraging movement that encourages people to embrace a field-to-table relationship with the food and drinks they consume, rekindling people’s relationship with their surrounding. This approach is steadily gaining ground with chefs, bartenders, and foragers patronizing local flavors.

Bartender Alyona Vinodagrova-Jeffrey and host Stephanie Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi

During the event, refreshing glasses of The Botanist and Fever-Tree tonics (Indian, Light, and Mediterranean) with a gorgeous spread of fruits, herbs, and spices were laid out on the bar for guests to choose from for their customized G&T. Bartender Alyona Vinodagrova-Jeffrey gave some suggestions to those who were a bit overwhelmed by the vast selection of garnishes. She lined the insides of the Copa de Balon with citrus first to add to the aroma of the drink.

Guests were encouraged to experiment with the garnishes, and a contest was held to see who come up with a different combination for a Botanist G&T. Ronald Manalag from handpickedbyronandchris.blogspot.com impressed judges Alyona, Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, and Remy Cointreau International’s Joey Pineda with his bold choice of orange, mango, lime, and mint, plus his winning personality. His tropical G&T won him a nice bartending kit from Crate and Barrel.

(center) Ronald Manalag from handpickedbyronandchris.blogspot.com won the G&T challenge

The Scottish gin brand wants to inspire its patrons to unleash their inner forager, to rediscover their local environment, and to explore a world of local flavors that would go well with it. Take the idea of foraging, and try to see what kinds of local products could be used to expand your Botanist gin and tonic repertoire. Anything local, fresh, and seasonal could potentially create something new. The Botanist’s depth and complexity lend itself to various flavor profiles. Try different combinations like the classic citrus staples, or grapefruit and rosemary, or olives, basil and green apple, dalandan and mint. Don’t be afraid to try things out. The possibilities are endless, remember, The Botanist creates the spirit, but you create the drinks.

For more information follow #BeTheBotanist on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to send in your own The Botanist cocktail recipes visit this link and share your #BeTheBotanist foraged recipe together with enthusiasts from around the world.

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