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May bourbon blush cocktails made with May blossom syrup, muddle strawberries, bourbon and chambourd.

Wild feasts and foraged cocktails on the doorstep

Sarah Watson © Beth Steddon

HOT’s Erica Smith discovers the secrets of using hedgerow herbs, fruit, seeds and flowers to make wild cocktails and delicious foraged food with Sarah Watson from Wild Feast.

The wild and windy summer has already turned my thoughts to the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and foraging. This Sunday I’m getting ready by attending a course at Three Oaks village hall all about foraged cocktails.

The tutor, Sarah Watson has been a foraging guide for nearly a decade and is the author of Difford’s Bartenders’ guide to foraging. The course includes a circular foraging walk around Three Oaks, identifying edible wild botanicals to use as garnishes and flavouring for wild drinks ingredients. I’m looking forward to learning how to mix delectable cocktails, get ideas for foraged booze infusions and mixing my own wild cocktail.

Sarah says: “I grew up in the Sussex countryside identifying wild plants with my botanist father. Dad and I found giant puffballs and lawyer’s wig mushrooms, cooked them up and devoured them with relish! Since then, I’ve foraged hundreds of species of British wild edible plants, seaweeds and fungi, using them in wild food dishes, wild cocktails and mocktails.”

Sarah holds an edible tawny grisette mushroom in her hand.

Sarah has taught foraging since 2013 and has held workshops for Kew at Wakehurst and guided walks for the National Trust, Hastings Council and Royal Tunbridge Wells. Covid brought a halt to running any courses, so the wild cocktail session on Sunday will hopefully be the first of more specialist walks, courses and events. She is also happy to run bespoke sessions for groups.

Sarah’s recommendations for easy autumn foraging include blackberries – “There’s so much more you can do with them than just crumble”, rowanberries, fresh nettle shoots and nettle seeds. There are a few mushrooms like giant puffballs and fully opened brown-gilled field mushrooms which you can forage safely with the help of a good mushroom guide, but she’d advise to err on the side of caution as it’s easy to mistake edible mushrooms with, for example, young death caps and yellow stainers.

The course this Sunday is at the pretty little Three Oaks Village Hall – a short walk from Three Oaks station. The course runs from 2.45 to 6.30pm (times set around Sunday trains).
Some places are still available – you can book online.

Feel free to contact Sarah with any questions sarah@wildfeast.co.uk
or visit the Wild Feast website.

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Posted 10:19 Friday, Aug 13, 2021 In: Food & Drink

Also in: Food & Drink

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