Foraging for Hebridean botanicals with A.S. Apothecary and North Uist Distillery


Foragers at Culla Bay in Benbecula, with Wild Eve and North Uist Distillery.

When we were initially brainstorming the recipe for Downpour gin we knew that we wanted to capture the flavour of our beautiful island home and that that flavour had to come from wild, Hebridean botanicals. With the help of an expert forager, we gathered a multitude of flowers and herbs, experimenting with their distillates in the search for a perfectly unique but classic dry gin.

As we're sure you know, we eventually decided on wild heather blossoms as the star botanical in our inaugural Downpour Scottish Dry Gin, but we haven't forgotten the bounty of other incredible flavours that grow wild here on our doorstep, and we are far from the only drinks producers to be inspired by the land and sea plants of our Hebridean islands. 

Wild Eve non-alcoholic spirit at the North Uist Distillery Island Life Bar

It was with great excitement that we recently welcomed Amanda of AS Apothecary in neighbouring Harris to North Uist Distillery to share some of her vast knowledge of local plant life, as well as the story of her innovative Wild Eve non-alcoholic spirit, another premium drink that captures a unique Hebridean flavour to savour. 

Created with the petals of rosa rugosa, sugar kelp seaweed, and a selection of carefully picked herbs and flowers chosen for both their flavour and adaptogenic effects, Wild Eve is a delicious and very special drink that makes an exquisite non-alcoholic cocktail and also pairs beautifully with Downpour gin for an extra botanical hit. 

Amanda of AS Apothecary and Wild Eve non-alcoholic spirit leads a foraging walk with North Uist Distillery in Benbecula

On an overcast June afternoon Amanda led a group of eager foragers armed with baskets and a thirst for knowledge, out of the distillery doors at Nunton and across the machair to our local white sand beach at Culla Bay. It was a real treat to have someone with Amanda's skills draw our attention to the plant life all around us and to share her knowledge of the culinary and medicinal uses for wild Hebridean herbs that grow within a few steps of our distillery home. 

A wild botanical cocktail masterclass at North Uist Distillery, with Amanda of AS Apothecary and Wild Eve non-alcoholic botanical spirit

With a basket of carefully picked plants, the group headed back to Nunton to learn how to put those botanicals to good use in a cocktail class at the Island Life Bar. Using their freshly foraged plants as well as AS Apothecary's handmade teas, tinctures and shrubs (and of course Wild Eve and Downpour gin) participants learned to make a variety of delicious and unique drinks that brought the flavours of our beautiful islands to life, raising a glass to the treasures that grow right here on our Hebridean doorsteps. 

Thank you to everyone who took part and especially to Amanda for making the journey down from Harris to so generously share her knowledge and delicious products. We look forward to returning the visit one day soon! 

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