Since these berries contain small seeds, they are ideal to use to make jelly or Darwin’s Barberry syrup. These can then be mixed with cocktails to give it a lovely colour and flavour. Alternatively, you can infuse the berries in Caorunn gin for three months, adding sugar to taste to create your own twist on the classic Sloe Gin.
Foraging is fast becoming a major trend in the world's best bars and restaurants – Caorunn is at the heart of this renaissance. Expertly crafted by our Gin Master, Simon from handpicked botanicals, Caorunn invites drink connoisseurs to rediscover local ingredients and create truly remarkable drinks.
We're inviting you to discover wild ingredients & enjoy truly remarkable drinks
Foraging reconnects you with the seasons and the bounty of tastes, smells and flavours that nature provides. There’s nothing more exciting than discovering what wild plants are in season and combining them with Caorunn to delicious effect.
Our foragers have unearthed the seasons bounty and collected some of nature's finest ingredients from which the team of drink experts have crafted some delightful unique Caorunn G&T's and gin cocktails to savour at home and in the best bars.
Simon Buley, Gin Master
With Caorunn we have distilled the Scottish Highlands into a glass. The foraging initiative celebrates the lengths that artisans will go to create balance and flavour.
Meet our Foragers
Foraging is the heart of Caorunn and fundamental to all aspects of our Scottish gin; from how it's crafted to how it's enjoyed. On Speyside, Gin Master Simon Buley personally forages for the five Celtic botanicals that we infuse to make Caorunn.
Further afield, we work with a dedicated team of foragers throughout Europe and the USA to gather some of nature’s finest local ingredients. Through partnerships with the bar community they craft these species into a distinctive range of unique Caorunn Gin cocktails. A feast for the senses, they are as easily savoured at home as in the world’s top bars.
Foraged Cocktail Botanicals
Caorunn's dedicated team of foragers have searched throughout Europe and the USA, gathering the finest botanicals nature has to offer. They have compiled a handy guide, giving you an introduction to each botanical and how it can be used to uplift your drinks.
Bog Myrtle infusion is used to give a gentle lift to your cocktails.
Rowan Berries can be used to make gourmet jellies for your favourite drinks. A bold taste expression, this is not the kind of jelly you would have for breakfast!
A plant of traditional hedgerows where in some parts can be locally abundant, it is also found in open woodland, woodland edges and parks. A tried and tested recipe for generations, Sloe Gin provides a method of harnessing the natural sugars and flavours from these normally bitter berries. Make a Sloe Gin jelly by using the Caorunn gin soaked berries left over from the sloe gin. Boil them up, strain then mix with sugar to create a distinctive, grown up jam for the morning toast.
Hawthorn is a truly wonderful plant. Using a flavoured vinegar (infusing the haws in cider vinegar for at least 6 weeks) is a great way of preserving the flavour and medicinal value of the plant. You could make this infusion into a shrub for cocktails or infuse in gin for a Caorunn Hawthorn Gin.
Water Mint is an excellent addition to any cocktail. Add a few sprigs as a garnish or combine with liquorice for a deliciously fresh taste.
The fruit of the bramble bush, blackberries have near endless possibilities. From jams and jellies to tea, the fruit is incredibly versatile. A syrup made from the berries is simply stunning and a great way of preserving its rich flavour throughout the winter months. You could also make a Caorunn Blackberry Gin, using the traditional sloe gin recipe but replacing the sloes with blackberries.
Seeds can be added to cocktails to give a beautiful aniseed flavour. Adding just one or two seeds is sufficient to impart great flavour without making the drink messy. Make a Caorunn Red Snapper using the stem of Sweet Cicely as a garnish instead of the usual celery stick. An infusion with the seeds can also make a wonderful Aniseed Caorunn Gin.
One of the world’s finest flavours, Rose scent can be captured in a number of different ways. Making Rose water is a popular method although the home-made product has a short shelf life. Rose syrup makes a handy summer ingredient, giving your drinks a refreshing taste and amazing pink colour. The petals can also be dried and added as a garnish; slowly turning the drink pink and releasing beautiful flavour.
Freshly pressed apple juice goes well in cocktails and even infusing the apple peel in gin makes a well balanced product. Jams and jellies are also traditional uses for apples with herbs like mint or rosemary added to impart even more flavour
Bilberry syrup has a lovely flavour and is full of anti-oxidants. Infused in Caorunn gin the results are divine.
In the summer Elderberry produces large fragrant flowers that are used for making anything from cordials and champagne to jellies and vinegars. It’s perfect as a summer dressing and later in the year produces big bunches of small dark berries that are full of flavour and health benefits.
Handmade Cocktail Ingredients
Rowan and Apple Jelly
This is not the kind of jelly you would have for breakfast but it’s bitter notes go well with cheese and biscuits.
Place 1kg of Rowan berries and 1kg of Apples with the juice of one lemon into a large preserving pan with 1 litre of water. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil then simmer. Pass the mixture through muslin and preferably leave hung up overnight for the liquid to all drip through. For every 600ml of liquid use 400g of sugar and bring the sugar and liquid to the boil in a large preserving pan. Using a thermometer wait until it reads 104.5 degrees Celsius before pour the liquid into clean sterilised jars. Seal and allow to cool down. Use within the year.
Love the sound of a delectable Wild Urban Bramble cocktail? - then why not create your own handmade Elderberry Syrup.
Pick, de-stalk and rinse Elderberries. Place in a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with enough water that they are just covered. Bring slowly to a boil then simmer for 20-25minutes. Allow to cool and then pour the berries through muslin into a bowl. Measure how much juice you have & for every 100ml of liquid add 100g of sugar and place in the cleaned pan. Heat for around five minutes to dissolve the sugar. You can add spices at this point if you want to make it more festive, a few gloves, a cinnamon stick and some star anise for example. Strain through a sieve if using the above ingredients.
Homemade Rose Water
You can make rose water from clean rose petals, water, ice (or any other herb) and extract at home with a bit of time and patience.
Place a heavy glass ramekin into a deep stockpot & 3/4 with water. Place rose petals around the exterior of the ramekin in the bottom of the pot and cover with water halfway up the side of the ramekin. Place a shallow soup bowl on top of the ramekin. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Place a stainless steel bowl on top of the stockpot. Fill the top bowl with ice. Simmer the mixture for a further 3 to 4 hours, depending on the amount. As the mixture boils, the heat rises and hits the cold bowl, causing it to condense and drip down into the inner bowl. Replace ice as needed as it melts. When done, the small bowl will contain the rose water. It will have a layer of rose oil (or herb oil) that is the essential oil or extract. The oil can be separated from the water if required.
This process is the same whether you use alcohol or a vinegar and it can be adjusted to suit your own taste.
To start with get a jar. Fill the jar a third full of whatever it is you would like to infuse the flavour of, this could be blackberries, raspberries or even a plant like meadowsweet. Fill the jar with a 1/3 of sugar (granulated is fine but other sugars will ideas different flavours so you can always experiment). Top up the jar till it is filled to the top with Caorunn, put the lid on, shake well and leave until you get your desired taste. This will vary, raspberries and blackberries take around a month and flowers even shorter, there is no exact science, just go with your taste buds. Before dispensing, shake the jar vigorously then pour through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and into sterilized bottles. You now have your own foraged infusion!
Tinctures & Bitters
Infusing without sugar is known as a tincture. This process leaves the botanical to infuse its flavour and medicinal properties in alcohol for a period of time. Bitters are the same process but using a very bitter botanical, such as mugwort, wormwood, dandelion root, burdock root, gentian root or even orange peel. These provide a very bitter flavour and are so strong that only droplets should be used in a drink to change its character. You can mix and match the tinctures and bitters to create interesting flavours, using your own ratios to taste, i.e 12 parts lavender tincture to 4 parts orange peel bitters.
Bog Myrtle Tinctur
To craft the lucious taste of a Caorunn Rich Pickings cocktail you firstly need to start with creating a handmade Bog Mertyle syrup.
Add Bog Myrtle to Caorunn and leave for 2 weeks. Remove bog myrtle and decant into a spring bottle.
Syrups are a great way to infuse a lot of flavour into a drink; they are also very easy to prepare.
Add your ingredients to a heavy bottomed pan. The ingredients being used dictate on how much water you will need. Raspberries, blackberries and elderberries will only need a little bit of water (100ml for 1kg of fruit) but apples and harder fruit will need a lot more water (enough so the water is just below the top of the fruit). Boil the fruit up until it has softened and become liquid, strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and put the strained liquid into a measuring jug. For most syrups you can use a 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, so for every 1 litre of liquid you would use 1kg of sugar. Add the sugar to the fruit and slowly heat (but do not boil) until it is dissolved, keep stirring so it won’t burn. Pour into warm sterilised bottles and use in a cocktail of your choice.
Leaf or Flower Infusion
Use around 1 litre of water and put enough leaves (such as mint) or flowers (such as elderflower) to just be submerged in the water, leave to infuse overnight and then strain and add the same ratio as sugar to liquid.
Rowan Berry Syrup
Take 1kg or Rowan Berries, 2kg of sugar and 2 litres of water to a pan, heat until boiling, strain and bottle.
A jam is created in the same way as a syrup but with the fruit left in.
To start, place a plate in the fridge. For soft fruits such as raspberries and blackberries, add 1 kg of sugar to 1 kg of fruit. Some fruits are naturally high in Pectin (the ingredient that makes jams firm) so you can use ordinary sugar. Fruits which are low in Pectin need to be aided by using special Jam Sugar which has extra Pectin added. So check if you fruit is high or low in Pectin. Next, heat up the mixture rapidly until boiling. Keep boiling until the setting point is reached (the point in which your jam will set), this can be looked for by dripping a bit of the mixture onto the plate that has been left in the fridge, if after 10-15 seconds you rub your nail through the mixture and a skin forms then it will set, if not keep boiling for longer. Once setting point is reached, pour the mixture into warm sterilised jars and seal.
To make a jelly start with a syrup, boil it and run the pulp through a sieve to just extract a liquid.
If preparing fruit with stones, or botanicals that you don’t want floating around in a jam, it’s better to make a jelly. Boil up the mixture and strain through a sieve or cheesecloth (the same process you make a syrup). For every 600ml of liquid use 450g of sugar. Boil up the liquid and sugar and boil until setting point has been achieved as per the jam method. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal.
David Winnard (Discover the Wild), Caorunn's foraging partner
I encourage everyone to forage, but please be very careful. Only ever pick a plant you know 100% exactly what it is. If you are in doubt, leave it out and ask an expert.