A Glass of Herts

The Foragers' Mars Silvanus

The Foragers' Mars Silvanus - Credit: Archant

Laura Vickers finds Herts foragers creating a unique drink from the county’s woodlands

Are you ready to discover one of Hertfordshire’s most unusual (and delicious) drinks? Clue: it’s a liqueur that gets its extra-special special flavour from the county’s woods.

Mars Silvanus (named after the Roman god of the forest) is the creation of Richard Osmand, one of the Foragers, a team of professional hunter-gatherers who organise foraging walks, tastings and food pop-ups across the county, as well as running the wild-food pub the Verulam Arms in St Albans.

It is a vodka infused with aromatic herbs and tree bark including mugwort, ground ivy, linden flower and cherry bark found in Herts’ woodlands. The mix is then sweetened with a homemade syrup made from foraged wild cherries, giving it its vibrant red colour.

The 15 per cent liqueur is currently the star of the Verulam Arms’ best-selling cocktail, the Sylvanian Negroni, in which it replaces the traditional Campari. This twist on a classic drink is such a hit with locals that many of them take a bottle of the liqueur home to recreate it themselves.

As well as being a superb cocktail ingredient, Mars Silvanus makes a great aperitif and is also perfect for autumnal recipes – the Verulam Arms is currently using it to create a forest cherry jus to accompany its locally-sourced pigeon with foraged salad.

Mars Silvanus is exclusive to the Foragers and can be bought directly from the pub or via the website the-foragers.com at £18 for a 500ml bottle. The team also creates a range of other spirits and beers – keep an eye on the website for more details to come.

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