foraging

Thor's Thorns by Julian Bayuni

Thor was one of the most important and famous gods in Norse mythology. Considered as a storm-weather god of sky and thunder he was associated with the fertility of the earth. He was also regarded as a guide for those travelling over the sea because of his power over storms and wind...

Last month our dear Danish friends Alex and Lea moved to Amsterdam. It was a beautiful weekend so we decided to take them to one of our favourite city escapes to make the most of the late Summer sunshine and take a long rejuvenating walk across Castricum's unspoiled dune reserve towards a perfectly tranquil stretch of Noord Holland's coast for a beach picnic.

On our way back Lea pointed to the familiar looking orange berried thorny shrubs that lined the entire road back to our car. Unable to recall the name of this plant she got on Google and discovered it to be sea buckthorn, a native Nordic plant that had over time travelled with the wind down from the Scandinavian shores to find home upon the dunes of the Dutch coast.

To commemorate our Danish friend's arrival with the timely discovery of this Nordic plant I respectfully harvested enough berries to take back to Vesper to create an aptly themed Thor cocktail to immortalise this romantic coincidence!

Featuring as our 'Wild Cocktail of the Month' my creation combines said wild sea buckthorn shrub with prickly pear, wild mezcal, ginseng spirit and cactus paddle bitters paired with a coconut and anise sand. 

Introducing the mighty Thor's Thorn, Vesper's seasonal, spikey sipping sensation.

Cocktail by Jules Bayuni
Image courtesy of David Costa

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Respect Your Elders by Julian Bayuni

So, it’s the end of May and I find myself in the heart of Vondel Park in the afternoon sun with a bin bag and a quest...

The elderflower heads are in full bloom and ready for collecting, my quest to make elderflower cordial for a cocktail being launched in the July menu at Vesper Bar. I have made this cordial before back on my parents farm in England, and the distinctive elderflower floral aromas always leave me longing for this time of the year to come around again.

 In this wonderful city of Amsterdam there are plenty of surprises when it comes to foraging. At Vesper we plan to embrace these offerings and make as many of our craft ingredients as possible from local sources. Making elderflower cordial from scratch, as well as being incredibly satisfying, has a much smaller carbon footprint as all ingredients are collected by foot or by bike.

I respectfully plucked about 100 heads of elderflower making sure not to take too many from one area and took them home to combine with orange, lemon, sugar, water and citric acid. This makes about 5 litres of cordial which features in our floral, sweet and sparkling cocktail ‘Vondel Park Spritz’.

- Dougie O'Keefe - 

Images courtesy of David Costa