We are newly into Spring, soon with a bit of luck, Winter will be a distant memory. Yesterday the first crop arrived on my desk picked by Emily and Miranda, our outgoing and incoming gardeners, handing over from one to another seamlessly as one season moves to the next. Their sharing was a pile of violets so purple and scented that it took my breath away. Violets are always a marker for me, the moment when fecundity returns to the earth and the wait for the other scented flowers feels within reach. I turned the petals in my hands relishing the velvety texture, it was pure joy.
Appropriately for the time of year we too have been growing; the seed of an idea was set two years ago and now it has finally reached maturity and is ready to share. We have started making drinks, it is a completely logical step, an extension of our plant work. But this is no ordinary drinks company, we are bringing to it the same ethical framework, the uncompromising quality and the small batch, handmade ethos of A.S Apothecary.
So with a small drum roll, we are incredibly excited to announce the arrival of:
We have started with a Tonic for several reasons – we already work with the Isle of Harris Distillery and Brighton Gin and we have spent a long time tasting tonic waters. Every single one was a disappointment and invariably a sugary confection of blandness. We also realised that a lot of people who aren’t drinking alcohol have precious little to choose from – the Seedlip taste abominations, elderflower cordial or a limited number of soft drinks.
With this in mind a plan started to form, to reclaim Tonics, to make a differentiation between tonic waters and tonic by making an uncompromising drink that would capture the therapeutic element of a proper tonic, compliment spirits and have enough complexity that it could be drunk on its own as an adult non-alcoholic option. It would need to be Fierce and so would we.
This was a tall order. It has taken two years to get it right: we have grown, wild crafted and harvested many different plants to try, tested endless bittering ingredients, waited for the right Cinchona trees to be found in Ecuador, spent so many Monday mornings testing the latest incarnation in Gin, Vodka and other spirits. It has certainly been a major adventure.
But we got there - with plants we’ve harvested from Sussex, the Outer Hebrides, Cyprus and Ecuador, we have made the most delicious drink. It’s rosy pink because it’s made with masses of actual plants, not extracts, it has a soft bubble because it deserves subtlety and every time I taste it, it takes me on a joyful plant hunting memory. It is our bid to change the face of tonic, to refine and develop it and to actually make you feel good as you drink it.
With our fantastic team of Amanda, Julie, Tara, Nicky, Nicki, Angie, Bell, Lisa, Cammi, Miranda, Ellie and Rosi plus Chris and Bjorn (who can pour water like no other), we have made the first batch, producing a label from Lawrence Winram’s beautiful and perfect photo of a woman leaping between rocks – just as we do every day. We’ve found the most lovely bottlers in Ed and Hayley and now we are finding stockists.
You can buy it at Glyndebourne Opera House, Symposium in Lewes and at our A.S Apothecary shop both in store and online (www.fiercebotanics.com).
You can drink it in all sorts of wonderful ways at The Depot in Lewes, The Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington and Charleston Farmhouse in Firle.
Join us · Drink the Wild