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Grow Your Own Garnish

APPLE MINT
WARNER'S KIOSK
01/08/2019
Written by Gin Foundry

Before you start: We’ve made an introduction to our creative collaboration and the gin itself in a separate article: Warner’s Farmed & Foraged Gin.

Here, we’d like to explain a little more about why we’re asking you to grow your own garnish, and what lies ahead for those who’ve ordered a bottle this month…

Growing Apple Mint

To make this gin, the Warner’s distillery team had to be patient and use their wits as they nurtured the many, many plants needed into giving off the flavour and essence they were seeking to capture in bottled form.

Months have passed since the lemon verbena (so bright on the nose) was planted and it’s taken years for those juniper bushes to even be able to have the green berries that give a massive piney hit to the gin. Making a gin using ingredients that are less than a bee’s flight away from the still, it transpires, was a mighty challenge. Who knew…?

When it came to creating perfect pairings to go with the inevitable G&T, we were struck by a few things. The first was just how much we all do this on convenience alone, irrespective of what the distillery has done to create the liquid. “Pair this as that’s what you are likely to have” always trumps. The second thing that struck us was how little is done about beginning that process of perfect match making at a much earlier stage.

The idea that underpins this limited edition gin is to try and encourage an environment that helps create more flavour and less environmental impact. We wanted to look at sustainability in the context of modern distilling, especially when it comes to the botanicals being used. We all wanted to see an increase in pollinators doing their thing and wanted to nurture the conditions for optimal growth, thus ensuring new levels of tastiness that can be taken into the spirits being distilled.

We also wanted to look both at the micro and macro and see what is possible if distillers tried to connect all the dots from seed to glass. This is why Warner’s were the best partner this idea could ever have as… well, that’s exactly what they do already.

When speaking to Jonny Easter, Warner’s Conservation & Sustainability Manager to see what could be harnessed to showcase this reciprocal cycle (from using  bee pollen to toasted applewood), it became clear that to do this idea properly – to create a release that really celebrated the idea of a farm grown gin and the concept of seed to glass flavour creation –  the drinker had to get involved too.

This is why we’re asking you Gin fans to try and grow your own garnish, and it’s why every bottle of Farm & Foraged Gin will have a seed packet sent out ahead of its arrival. The idea is to continue the cycle of pollination and flavour creation into each and every home. More than just mirroring the process and the idea that’s been distilled into the gin, we are asking you to grow your own garnish so that you can taste the perfect pairing flavour wise. Not because of convenience or because it’s likely you have it lying around your home, but because it is the ultimate garnish for this gin. And because if this project has taught us anything, it is that the power to cultivate truly awesome flavours way above and beyond the usual is in your hands.

We hope that what starts with a quest to create the ultimate G&T grows into something far more deeply rooted in our everyday lives. Hopefully your gardens and window boxes will be filled with dinner snippets from here on out…

#DelayedGratification

When this first began, the concept outlined above was the entire focus guiding every decision we made. During the the process, however, what became abundantly clear was that gardening is just as important as the garden, and you can’t look at sustainability properly unless you look at yourself as a part of that.

We live in a fast-moving, demanding world: one that prioritizes the new, the now, and the end product. We rarely stop to look at the craftsmanship and the graft behind a product. That’s okay but if we delay our gratification and take the time to grow something that only time and care can create, so much more falls into place.

In growing a garnish, you’re not just perpetuating the ideas and actions that help more pollinators across the UK thrive, you’re also taking the most important step in helping drive sustainability. You’re taking a moment to enjoy giving back, to live in the moment and to look at what’s around with the jaw-dropped awe mother nature (yes from flailing balcony plants, to gardens to proper outdoors – all of it) deserves.

It might sound like a pain to grow your own garnish and anyone who overkills the mindfulness chat can sound a little righteous too – we get it but trust us – delay gratification and combine that unique flavour along with the added meaning of that moment and you’ll have something far greater than the sum of its parts.

What’s happening? It begins with a head start

The Farmed & Foraged Gin is a limited-edition release which will not be made again (although it deserves to be – it’s delicious!), so it won’t be around for long.

Everyone who orders a bottle will be sent an apple mint seed packet ahead of its arrival so you can plant it before and get growing. While mere days might not seem like much, all mint varieties grow fast and taking advantage of a few extra days in early August will see your little seeds well on their way.

We’ll then send all the bottles ordered on the 19th August, so that you can choose whether to continue with your quest of #DelayedGratification further or pop the cork and try a little snifter first…

How to plant your Apple mint seeds

If planting in your garden, weed the area first. That’s pretty much as far as that advice goes – mint grows wild and free and it should take good care of itself.

If, however, you live in something that resembles a two-metre square bedsit and your only growing space is a windowsill, here’s what to do:

Fill a small pot with soil to roughly 2cm below the rim & pat down gently.

Sprinkle your seeds on the soil.

Cover the seeds with a layer of compost or soil & pat down firmly.

Water your seeds regularly (a small amount every day is best) and watch them grow!

Enjoy a G&T with friends admiring your work, and share a photo with us on social as we’d love to see!

P.S If you have cats you best have words early on and tell them that it is off limits. They’re notoriously ignorant, so they won’t listen, but if you can prevent them from eating the stems or taking a nap on your young shoots, it’s certainly worth trying…

If you are feeling inspired…

Growing your own garnish and connecting with the ideals and process that have gone into the gin is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

If you are feeling inspired, or just want to get more involved but aren’t sure how, we’ve teamed up with Social Farms & Gardens, a charity that support thousands of grass roots projects across the UK with key advice, training and information. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle will even go to support their work.

It’s an umbrella charity who work with 1,400 groups across the UK help people use gardening as a way to transform lives and connect people, putting pride back into communities and improving health and well-being. Take a look at what they are doing as there’ll probably be something going on near you!

The overall goal of this project was to highlight the symbiotic nature of flavour creation, pollination and distillation. This is a gin that aims to celebrate efforts to be more sustainable, rewarding the drinker (and planter) with a next-level G&T.

 

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