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The Natural Philosopher: The foraging philosophy behind our cocktails

Updated: May 15

Hello Philosophers,

At The Natural Philosopher, our cocktails are more than just drinks - they are a journey, an exploration into the unique and often overlooked flavours that nature has to offer. But what does it mean to forage, and how does it influence our cocktail menu?

Foraging is about venturing out into the wild, whether it's a forest or a city park, and finding edible plants that you might otherwise pass by.

A hand holding a golden Chanterelle mushroom
Chanterelle Mushroom

Five years ago, our very own Josh dove headfirst into the verdant world of foraging, guided by none other than East London's legendary John The Poacher. This journey wasn't just an eye-opener—it was a taste-bud explosion! Exploring London's surprisingly lush green spaces, Josh discovered a smorgasbord of natural delights sprouting right under our noses. His personal favourite? The sneaky three-cornered leek, a grassy wonder bursting with zesty spring onion flavour, so irresistible Josh found himself munching on it by the handful!

Foraging isn't just a scavenger hunt—it's a gastronomic adventure into uncharted tastes and seasons. It's our secret ingredient for infusing our cocktails with a hint of local terroir and flavour.

And we don't just limit ourselves to East London. We've got a secret alliance of foragers scattered across the UK, unearthing a treasure trove of unusual ingredients—from mainland herbs and plants to coastal treats like seaweeds, sandwort, and the curiously named scurvy grass.

Whipping up cocktails with these foraged ingredients isn't a walk in the park. It's a tightrope walk of extracting the exact right flavours, a process of trial, error, and the occasional misstep (like the time an ingredient turned our concoction into something smelling suspiciously like a public restroom, yikes!). We're often already brainstorming the next menu, just as we finish perfecting the current one.

But cocktail-making at The Natural Philosopher isn't about chucking random ingredients in a glass and hoping for a miracle. Oh no, it's a delicate dance of science and artistry. It's about knowing which flavours play nice and which ones start a party in your mouth. It's about months of crafting and fine-tuning, to ensure our menu has something for every palate—a colourful carnival of taste, presentation, and yes, even literal colour.

A hand reaches down from above a green transparent cocktail and garnishes it with a leaf of Sorrel
Sorrel Cocktail

If you want to taste the fruits (and roots, and herbs...) of our labour, drop by The Natural Philosopher or order our bottled cocktails online. Let us take your palate on a foraging journey without ever leaving your seat!

Cheers, The Natural Philosopher Team

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