Fierce Botanics: For A Better Gin and Tonic

We’re thrilled with this new development from our friend Amanda Saurin at A.S. Apothecary, who is using her immense knowledge of natural herbs, seeds and flowers to create a decent non-alcoholic drink, Apothecary Tonic No 1.

Regular readers will know that Amanda’s seed-to-serum natural skin care range (which we’ve written about frequently and she’s guest blogged about) is one of our favourites, and I can highly recommend her wonderful perfume-making workshops where you can see Amanda in action and experience first hand her immense knowledge of both plants and distilling.

For this drink Amanda and her small team (all women, just sayin’) based in Lewes have gathered all the rose petals, wild foraged the aromatic bitters and work with spruce and pine growers in Suffolk and Scotland. The quinine element is chinchona, which Amanda’s sister grows for her in Ecuador. She has distilled and infused all the ingredients at her workshop, there is nothing artificial, concentrated or dodgy added.

I’ve tested this tonic water this weekend, both mixed with a slug of gin, and on its own. It’s delicious. Much more layered and complex than an ordinary tonic water and not as sweet. It has a vaguely rose-tinted aroma when you crack open the bottle, which turns into a grapefruit-and-lemony citrus blast on first swig. As you sip it, an elegant woodiness develops, together with a mildly bitter echo from the chinchona bark. It’s almost a shame to mix it with gin, but only almost.

I love the image on the labels, Amanda says it was picked deliberately, a woman jumping between two rocks, in a leap of faith! It’s only just launched, so you can buy this directly from Amanda at her lovely Lewes store or at Hopefully it will be picked up by bigger distributors soon and it’ll be easier to acquire. Highly recommended.


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