There was a time, pre-Irish farm life, when the term foraging was designated to sample sales or an early opening at Saks’ Off 5th on a Saturday morning. Things are much different for me here in the Irish countryside. Foraging has become a weekly part of life it seems, as I pack up our son each weekend to go hunting and gathering for all things edible around the farm and down by the wood along the river when the weather permits.

This weekend we were finally able to pick some wild blackberries, although it was lean around here as the weather hasn’t cooperated much this season. We also spotted quite a few ripened sloes which are a month early, again due to weather conditions.

Last year at about this time, Justin and Jenny Green of the incredible Ballyvolane House were perfecting their Hedgerow Martini, which, of course, sparked my curiosity. A hedgerow martini is basically a combination of fruits and berries picked from the hedge, mixed with gin or vodka and then shaken, not stirred.  This year I thought I’d give it a try myself since we have sloe gin on hand from last season and fresh blackberries as well as loads of elderberries on the tree outside the farm kitchen window.

We have visitors arriving today so hopefully a wild foraged martini will go over a treat before dinner this evening.

We made our way down to our secret foraging location…

And we were delighted to see our first ripe blackberries at last!

Puree some blackberry and elderberry,

then mash them through a sieve,

and pour into the bottom of a jam jar & cover with a handful of ice

Add in your sloe gin, shake and pour into the glass of your choice

garnish with more blackberries and elderberries..maybe a leaf or two

And then, Sláinte!

An Irish Hedgerow Martini

One handful of blackberries

One handful of elderberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

½ cup of sloe gin (to taste and comfort level)

½ cup of ice

1 jam jar

Puree blackberries and elderberries with sugar in a food processer. Push mixture through sieve to remove seeds. Pour into bottom of a jam jar, cover with ice and then sloe gin, then shake and pour into glass of your choosing. Garnish with elderberries and blackberries.


PS. You could use any foraged fruits or herbs from your area for this cocktail.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos & styling by Imen McDonnell.



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