Lens and Larder

Photo Credit: Beth Kirby

Photo Credit: Beth Kirby

Last Wednesday, I had the good fortune and pleasure of participating in the Lens and Larder 'creative retreat' - A two day retreat on food, photography and styling, organised by Imen McDonnell and Cliodhna Prendergast under the guiding hands and lens' of the amazing creative duo, Susan Spungen and Beth Kirby.

My task - To identify and talk about Bog Myrtle (Sweet Gale - Myrica Gale) on a foraging walk in the morning and to create tasty, enticing, craft cocktails, all with an element of Bog Myrtle, in the early evening.

Creativity, cameras, cocktails, herbs, foraging, food and styling - Needless to say, I was well and truly in my contented visionary element (all day - and probably for the rest of the week thereafter)!

In fact still, nearly a week later, I find myself feeling refreshed and inspired with a sense of fortune for having met and crafted wild herbal cocktails for the Lens and Larder 'family' - Truly a marvelous congregation. 

Photo Credit - Imen McDonnell

Photo Credit - Imen McDonnell

The Cocktails

Non Alcoholic Options

Wild Craft Syrup Soda / Solaris Herbal Tea Liqueur

(Both served with fresh Bog Myrtle and infused water)

Dingle Gin Cocktails

'The Lens'

  • America Village Apothecary Pine No.2 Syrup
  • Dingle Gin
  • America Village Apothecary Bog Myrtle tincture
  • Fresh grapefruit juice.

Mix Syrup, Gin and juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a chilled Martini Glass and float drops of tincture on top, garnish with Bog Myrtle– Serve.

Apothecary Gin & Tonic

  • America Village Apothecary Quinine Tonic Syrup
  •  Dingle Gin
  • Few dashes of America Village Apothecary Bog Myrtle Tincture
  • Soda Water
  • Cucumber 

Stir Gin and tincture together in a cooled Collins glass with cubed ice, add a long twist of paired cucumber, syrup and soda water, stir again – Serve.

Jameson Select Reserve Irish Whiskey Cocktails

Hot Wild Rose Whiskey

For an old time twist and Vitamin C punch, prepare a strong hot whiskey using Wild Rose Syrup, add a good sprig of Bog Myrtle to stir and infuse in the hot whiskey. 

'The Larder'

  • America Village Pine Syrup No.1
  • Jameson Select Reserve Whiskey
  • Fresh organic Orange Juice
  • Bog Myrtle Tincture
  • Aromatic Bitters

Mix all ingredients in an iced cocktail shaker, Pour into a chilled Martini glass with crushed ice, rub orange zest along the rim of the glass before placing it into the drink, garnish with fresh bog myrtle and serve.

Photo Credit - Imen McDonnell

Photo Credit - Imen McDonnell

The Herb

Bog Myrtle / Sweet Gale / Roideóg

Myrica Gale 

Bog Myrtle is native to north & western Europe & North America.

It is very common in the West of Ireland.

 It has a beautiful unique resinous scent of lemon and citrus, woody sweet pine and eucalyptus 

It is a deciduous shrub, with flowering catkins. It likes acidic peaty soil (hense the name) and thrives in bogland and lakeshores.

 Due to it's resinous aroma, it acts as a great insect repellent, as well as being great for use in the preparation of bouquets; Beer (Gruit); Spirits (Dingle Gin) and Bitters. It also renders a lovely yellow natural dye.

It was considered a blessed herb in Irish Folklore for it’s many uses.

When burnt, the leaves give off a lovely fragrance. It used to be kept in linen cupboards to keep away insects and moths, the fruits would have been used in soups and stews to add flavour; Or a few sprigs would be kept under a person’s hat or behind their ears to keep insects away.

Bog Myrtle is a great natural antibacterial native herb and can also be used in the preparation of skin care and creams.

It shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or think that they may be.

America Village / Claire Davey Lens and LArder