Make mine a Woodland Martini

Infusing the pine flavour of Douglas Fir and the smokiness of charred sage, this cocktail recipe by Lottie Muir will transport you to the heart of an alpine forest

 Photo: Kim Lightbody

Photo: Kim Lightbody

The idea of this cocktail is for it to taste and smell like a walk in the woods. The clean, lemony pine scent and flavour of the Douglas Fir Vodka shines through, accompanied by just a hint of smoky sweetness from the Charred Sage Syrup. The vermouth and lemon juice balance out all the flavours to leave the cocktail on the dry side.

Woodland Martini

2oz (60ml) Douglas Fir Vodka (see below)
½ oz (15ml) Charred Sage Syrup (see below)
½ oz (15ml) Wild Vermouth
2 tsp (10ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Tools: Cocktail shaker with strainer
Glass: Martini
Ice: Cubes
Garnish: Young Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) tip

Serves 1

Pour all the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and fill it two-thirds of the way up with ice. Cover and shake hard for 20 seconds. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Garnish with a young Douglas Fir tip.

Douglas Fir Vodka

3 handfuls of young Douglas fir needles
2 x 2-in (5-cm) lengths of very thin, woody Douglas fir stems
700 or 750ml bottle of vodka, 80 proof/40% ABV
1-litre wide-mouthed, sealable jar, sterilised
Sealable presentation bottle(s), sterilised

Makes approximately 1½ pints (750ml)

Place the Douglas fir needles and woody stems in a blender, adding enough vodka to cover, and blend for at least 30 seconds on a high speed.

Pour the bright green mix into the jar and add the remaining vodka. Seal, upend gently a couple of times, and store in a cool, dark place. Upend daily and start tasting after the second day. This infusion should take no longer than four days to work its magic — you want the lemon and pine notes of woodland, not a bathroom cleaner. Strain the infusion into a wide-mouthed pitcher when you think you’re there, then funnel into the sterilised presentation bottle(s) and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and consume within six months.

Charred Sage Syrup

1 cup (340g) dark wildflower honey
1 cup (250ml) water
10 large sage leaves on a stem
Sealable presentation bottle, sterilised

Makes approximately ½ pint (250ml)

Combine the honey and water in a nonreactive pan over a medium heat and stir to help the honey dissolve into the sugar. Meanwhile, hold the sage leaves by the end of their stalks and singe their tips with a long lighter until you see red cinders, the odd flame, and charred leaves.

Snip off the bitter stalks of the sage and drop the charred leaves into the pan with the honey syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil, then simmer for about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool.

Pour the liquid through a strainer lined with layers of cheesecloth or muslin into a wide-mouthed pitcher, then funnel into the sterilised presentation bottle and seal. Store in the refrigerator and consume within three months.

This is an extract from Lottie Muir's new book Wild Cocktails from the Midnight Apothecary, published by CICO Books (£16.99). Call 01256 302699 quoting 'CQ1' to purchase a copy at the special price of £11.99, including free P&P.

You can sample Lottie's unique cocktails at the Midnight Apothecary in Brunel Museum's rooftop garden in Rotherhithe, London. Open Saturdays 5.30pm-10.30pm.