Last week we headed to Botanical Garden, a collaboration between The Botanist Gin from the Scottish Island of Islay and Worship Street Whistling Shop to create a green, underground oasis letting Londoners discover, taste and learn about UK-foraged botanicals and experimental cocktails.
The specially created menu is inspired by local and seasonal plants, which we are told can all be foraged for in many London parks. Each cocktail focuses on one botanical, including nettle, sorrel, and chamomile. It’s eye-opening to think that London has all this diversity and few of us ever give it a second thought. Being able to touch and smell the botanicals brought be closer to the product and the flavour combinations than I can remember.
Upon entering the Whistling Shop and walking into the right-hand side of the bar, we were immersed in the colours and smells of the botanicals. We were encouraged to explore the botanicals and it almost felt like we had become botanists ourselves as we explored the botanicals laid out on a foraging table, before taking our chosen ones to the bar to learn more about the plant and sip a cocktail created in its honour.
With six cocktails on the menu and only a limited time, we tried the Nettle, a long sparkling herbaceous and leafy cocktail which had a nice refreshing quality to it with the nettles and leafy notes running through the cocktail, it was very different from a traditional G&T.
Next up was the Meadowsweet, a medium cocktail with a sweet mellow texture. This, as you can see in the picture was something very different. This was much sweeter, but importantly not too sweet.
Jay Sebode, the creator of the menu, gin teacher and ‘cocktail slinger’ at Worship Street Whistling Shop, says: “The cocktails were inspired by our visit on Islay to meet the people who make the Botanist. To forage with them and discover the wild flavours that compose the gin allowed us to understand the unique character of The Botanist and the wild island it comes from, helping us to truly reflect this in our cocktails. Each of the drinks features one particular botanical that not only is flavoursome but also widely available in nature, even around London.”
We have loved the Worship Street Whistling Shop for years and now the weather isn’t quite as nice, we decided to head to the other side of the bar and taste a couple of drinks from the main menu. If you can experience both sides, why wouldn’t you?
The stand out drink was surprisingly a Ginger rum cocktail, with the only downside being that I had no idea that I’d finished it due to the darkness of the container. Other than that it was lovely and perfect for those Ginger and rum loving types.
The Botanist takeover at Whistling Street Whistling Shop runs from now until the end of September.