Mundo Alquímico: Sustainable from Start to Finish
5 Tasty Foraging Recipes & Tips for this Season
5 Wonderful Recipes for Foraged Cocktails
1. Prickly Pear Syrup
Ellen Zachos @ellenzachos, forager expert and author of The Wildcrafted Cocktail shared this amazing recipe with us! She suggest using this syrup with tequila!
You´ll find the ingredients, method and How-to video here:
2. Elderflower Cordial
By Simon Kistenfeger @the_real_vikingo, Global Brand Ambassador of Altos tequila
- 2 lemons
- 1 orange
- 15-20 elderflower heads
- 50 g citric acid 2 kg sugar
Dissolve sugar and 1 ½ l of water on gentle heat, being careful not to let boil. Add the zest/peels of the lemon and oranges to the water and continue heating for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the elderflower heads. Let sit for about a day at room temperature. Strain out the solids and bottle the liquid to store in the fridge.
3. Wild Berries & Rosemary Cordial
Recipe inspired by ‘The Home Distiller’s Hand Book’ by Matthew Teacher
- 750 ml Altos Plata
- 5 cups chopped fresh wild berries*
- 5 springs wild rosemary
*Challenge yourself and find exotic varieties like elderberries, cloudberries, huckleberries, gooseberries, chokeberries, mulberries, salmonberries, muscadines and buffaloberries.
Wash, stem and halve wild berries. Place them in the bottom of an infusion jar. Add the tequila, covering the berries. Then add and submerge the rosemary and seal the jar tightly. Let infuse for 1-3 months in a cool place until desired intensity is reached. Strain or rack the cordial into a clean bottle. Add simple syrup to taste and tightly cap.
Infusions: Backyard Foraging
One of the most commanding tools a mixologist has is the power of infusion, also known as maceration. With it, you have the power to combine the essence of wild ingredients with spirits, the know-how to extract the taste, and the creativity to combine them with foraged elements.
You can infuse any type of liquor, from low alcohol content to high alcohol content, like tequila. The first step is to choose your liquor and keep in mind the alcohol’s original quality— then pick something that will complement it.
Simon Kistenfeger, Altos Global Brand Ambassador, recommends seeking common ingredients which can be paired—using synergies to incorporate wild foods!
Next, gather the foraged ingredients, a glass bottle or infusion jar with a stopper, coffee filters or cheesecloth, and a funnel.
Now it’s time to prep and clean your ingredients. Make sure your infusion jar is clean and dry and…
- Place your wild ingredients in the jar.
- Pour the alcohol into the jar using a funnel, making sure to submerge the ingredients.
- Seal the jar with the stopper or lid.
- Give the jar a good shake.
- Store the jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- Taste daily.
- When the infusion is ready…. strain and bottle. You’re good to go!
The infusion can take anywhere from three days to a month. This depends on what ingredients you are using and your personal taste.
4. Wild Blueberries Repo Infusion
Recipe inspired by ‘The Home Distiller’s Hand Book’ by Matthew Teacher
- 1 liter Altos tequila reposado
- 2/3 cup wild blueberries
Wash blueberries. Place them in the bottom of an infusion jar. Muddle blueberries, breaking them slightly open but leaving them whole. Add tequila and seal the jar. Let infuse for 2-5 days out of direct sunlight, tasting and gently shaking daily. Strain the tequila into a clean bottle and cap.
5. Bear Bait: a tequila cocktail recipe
The forager expert Ellen Zachos @ellenzachos recommend to prepare this drink with any berry, but I like it best with blackberries! She says they have a slightly stronger flavor than black raspberries, and while the seeds can be annoying, this cocktail is strained, so that won’t be an issue!
You can find the recipe ingredients and method here:
Special Foods for a Mixologist to Forage
Will make great infusions with clear spirits.
For a syrup to use in a mojito twist.
Chicory flowers and roots
Leaves and root are eatable partes. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.
Is amazing in a smash.
Creates an amazing mix with natural honey.
When cooked, stinging nettle pairs with spices in order to create a unique cocktail bitters.
This wild flower is great for cordials.
You can used for garnishes, homemade liqueurs and jams.
Looking for Wild Food Ingredients
Foraging has been central to our human heritage from the beginning, but over the past century or so foraging has been replaced with centralized food production and distribution.
By reclaiming the practice of foraging, we discover and connect with the skilled ‘producers’ of our trade, we become aware of the origins of the cherished ingredients that we use in the bar, and importantly, we reconnect with nature as we walk peacefully through valleys, mountains and even our neighborhood parks.
Becoming conscious of these benefits is a perfect first step to start foraging seasonal ingredients. Moments in the outdoors, whether it’s an hour or a day, facilitate a deeper connection with nature and our own instincts.
Quality: Edible Plant Recipes
There is a popular trend these days of using locally-foraged ingredients in bars and restaurants This is partly for ethical reasons—animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food miles—but the main reason is quality. Why?
Products picked in season taste better. The less distance produce has to travel, the fresher and more intense the flavor.
Tips and Treats: Foraging Wild Foods
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you go out foraging, wherever you decide to go:
1. Do not eat anything you cannot positively identify and deem safe! Avoid collecting anything you are not absolutely sure is not toxic.
2. Learn some botany and do your research. There are websites that you can read and apps, like the Botany and Plants Dictionary, that help you to identify types of plants. Simply take a photo and the app provides a complete description of the plant.
3. Connect with the people who live in and around the area. They are the best guides because they know the products and where to gather them. In addition, their knowledge of interesting, local stories and facts will surely enrich the experience.
4. Broaden your view beyond the bar. Involve suppliers, biologists, ethnobotanists, and agronomists. The more perspectives that you bring to the experience, whether everyone can participate in the walk or not, will expand your knowledge and understanding.
5. Only pick as much as you need. Never take all of the plants, and give an area plenty of time to recover.
6. Never pick in places that are subject to pollution. If it’s right next to a well-trodden path, pick above the height a dog can raise its leg!
7. Don’t collect from protected areas or designated nature reserves!
8. Once you know which wild foods are available, carefully estimate the amount you might need for your syrup or drinks.
9. Create a game plan for how to incorporate the aromas of the foraged products in your drinks. It can be an infusion, syrup or as simple as a garnish!
10. Pick sustainably. Don’t harvest all of the plants, veggies and/or fruits where you are.
11. Don’t destroy the roots of the plants.
12. Use gloves. Some ingredients, like nestles, sting.
13. Prepare—talk to foresters and environmental experts, and do research on the Internet, social media groups or books.
Recommended Books & Social Media
The Wildcrafted Cocktail by Ellen Zachos
The Foragers Harvest by Samuel Thayer
The Skillful Forager by Leda Meredith
The Joy of Foraging by Gary Lincoff
Impact of Foraging on the Cocktail Industry
Foraging is already part of a strong cocktail game. If a bar wants to stand out, there are certainly foraging practices involved.
Nowadays, consumers care about how sustainable a good bar is and which local ingredients a bar uses. Also, the creativity which comes along with using wild harvested ingredients turns cocktails into something unique. With new and unique flavors and combinations, a bar can really stand out! In addition, more and more bartenders are attending fermentation classes, crafting unique cocktails with infusions, shrubs, teas, syrups and other extraction methods.
And don’t forget the health benefits of foraged ingredients, both for the bartender and the consumer.