Beverage Botany – The New Cocktail Menu launches at The Botanist

You know, it was actually the Botanist that got me into blogging. Wifey won two VIP passes to the opening back in April 2015…

botanist April 2015

It was fantastic to see a new venue open and that caused a buzz on Birmingham’s foodie scene, and I decided to add my bassy lungs to the mix.


Since then, we’ve been back multiple times and I’ve been back for a few work lunches too, with the hanging kebabs always a firm favourite. Tonight wasn’t about food however, as The Botanist had invited me to investigate their refresh of the extensive cocktail menu, which was back to the classics and adding some inventive twists.

The menu is beautifully designed on heavyweight paper, something for the stationery geek in me! The drinks themselves (more than 45!) are comprehensive and covers mojitos, manhattans, slings, martinis , caipirinhas and daiquiris to name a few. It’s divided into sections covering, long, short, martini’s, classics and flutes to help guide your eye to the relevant section. There’s even a few beer and cocktail pairings: a mini cocktail topped up with beer served with the can, complete with tasting note, and served on a flight board.

Of special mention is the gin list- with gins locally sourced from each of The Botanist’s venues across the country. Birmingham being represented by the always excellent Langley’s Gin naturally.


Aaron Smallman, our host for the evening, was to take us across a magical tour of 10 cocktails from the menu starting off with two of their new special creations:

The Thai Chilli Crush was a powerful little number made with fresh red chilli, micro Thai basil, apple and lemon juice with Tanqueray gin and green apple liqueur and served with a chilli in it. It was a great way to start off the evening as the chilli and lemon juice really zinged you up.

The other drink was a Blackberry and Rosemary Fizz: blackberries, rosemary, sugar syrup, lemon and apple juice shaken with Tanqueray gin and sloe gin, topped with soda. Very tasty and it disappeared quickly!


The Lemon Balm ‘Tini, a new showing, was also a firm favourite around the table. This martini containing micro lemon balm is a fantastic herb, giving a strong fragrant lemon citrus note on the nose and gave a taste not unlike lemon sherbets…


Also a solid fave was the Blackberry Mint Julep, made with muddled fresh blackberries, mint and sugar syrup, a dash of aromatic bitters, bourbon and blackcurrant liqueur. It was short and sweet with the bourbon coming through at the end of the palate.


Talking of blackberries, we had a sample of one of their new mocktails Berry Good Times fresh blueberries, blackberries, mint and a touch of raspberry syrup. Shaken with apple and cranberry juice, it was a nice refresher.

For those who like their cocktail a little more classic, there was a Botanist vodka martini -Belvedere Vodka stirred with lemon balm, kaffir lime leaf and Lillet Blanc, served dry with the lime and lemon giving it a wonderful citrusy kick.


The Apricot and Mint Daiquiri was certainly the most popular drink around the table. Apricot purée, mint, lime juice, vanilla sugar syrup with golden rum and apricot liqueur, the golden rum was a nice twist on the usual white or dark rum and it’s a very successful re-interpretation of such a classic drink.

My favourite drink was also another twist on a classic.


Knowing my predilection for all things whisky, you won’t be surprised my favourite was a Honey & Sage Manhattan. Made with Wild Turkey Honey, sage, Lillet Rouge vermouth and a dash of lemon bitters, it was a fantastic little specimen with sweet and savoury notes and a underlying warmth from the Wild Turkey and vermouth.

It was a great fun evening, a good way to experience the new variety of cocktails on offer.


For those who have visited The Botanist previously and haven’t found a cocktail to your liking, I recommend paying another visit and seeing what’s on the new menu! For a limited time, you can also try this saucy little number:


Made to commemorate one of Europe’s largest dance festivals, DanceXchange has worked with The Botanist’s experienced mixologists to create the celebratory cocktail, which will be available throughout the festival launching on 5 May. The dance-inspired cocktail is an exciting mix of Bombay gin, Aperol, and Elderflower cordial, topped off with a tangy orange zest garnish.  The winning name will be revealed shortly so keep your eyes peeled on the Botanist twitter feed!

Disclaimer: For this event, I was a guest of The Botanist who provided most of my drinks; this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting venues in and around Birmingham.

When: 20/04/2016

Where: Botanist Birmingham, Temple Street, Birmingham B2 5BG

Who:  Botanist BirminghamNew World Trading Company


Moseley’s Soul – Carters of Moseley

For my 50th post,I thought I’d treat you all to something a little special. Birmingham is very lucky to have 5 Michelin starred restaurants.

Wifey and I have so far visited three of them. We visited Purnell’s pre blog days for a special birthday; visited Simpsons with Birmingham Breakfast Club a few months back and now we can add Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham’s latest member to the Michelin Club.

Since opening in November 2010, Chef Brad Carter and Co-proprietor/ Maitre’D Holly Jackson have been establishing themselves in the Birmingham restaurant scene and won numerous plaudits including 2 AA Rosettes, Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year, in both Square Meal and the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 restaurants in Britain and of course, the prestigious Michelin Star.

We went on Thursday 24th March, a very wet and windy night, and were glad to be embraced by this cosy 35 cover restaurant, just off the main Moseley Village High Street on Wake Green Road.

We were dining with a couple of good friends, who had arrived before us, and we were seated towards the rear with a lovely view of both the wine cabinet and a window into the busy kitchen. Before we dived in, we started off with a few drinks, three of us went for gin and tonic whilst Wifey went for a vodka and tonic.

To keep us fed alongside our drinks, we had some crunchy wholemeal bread, with flour milled just up the road at Sarehole Mill. The bread came accompanied with two types of spread, one  a simple salted butter, the other a nice pork dripping.



Wifey loved it being in a small brown paper bag and I liked the wooden butter knife. The bread was very crunchy with a thick crust and was very moreish and filling.

Whilst we munched on our bread and supped our shorts, we went through the menu and chose the full 7 courses with wine pairing. We thought if we were doing it, do it properly!

To start, there was a selection of five snacks for whetting our appetite:


The snacks were:

  • Chicken Liver Cereal – The liver was beautifully rich and went well with the crispy cereal and sultanas
  • Ogelshield Gougeres – These little balls of delight were scrumptiou and my favourite of the snacks the savoury choux pastry really complemented the rich raw milk creaminess of the cheese.
  • Smoked Cod’s Roe Cracker, Seaweed & Fish Floss – A little pearl of roe dusted with seaweed and topped with fish floss, it was quite salty but iIparticularly enjoyed the dusted seaweed.
  • Blood Cake with Bramley Apple – Wifey is not a fan of blood cake or black pudding normally but made an exception in this case. The blood cake was quite smoky with a strong offal note, which I really enjoyed and was counterbalanced well with the sharpness of the bramley apple.
  • Cider Cured Sprats & Dill – These were Wifey’s fave of the snacks. Deliciously pickled little fishes with an intense dill sauce.

After a brief break and more chatting, it was time to start our 7 courses. Our first course was an Orkney Scallop with a lava bread and brown butter sauce.


The Oyster Scallop was HUGE, it was cooked perfectly, piping hot and delicately sweet flavour with a rich salty sauce made from ‘Welshman’s caviar’ and was beautifully presented on a scallop shell.

The wine pairing was a Muscat, a full bodied fruity buttery wine which complemented the scallop well.

Our second course was Yukon Gold Dauphinoise, with Spring White Truffle paired with a Chardonnay. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent enough picture but it was a well cooked dish with the perfect potato pick for me with its rich buttery gold colour and firm texture. The Chardonnay was closer to a white burgundy in flavour with a complex taste.

Course number three was Cotswold White Chicken with Bread Sauce & Calçots.


The chicken was again perfectly cooked and tender, the gravy was exceptionally rich and the bread sauce was the best I’ve ever had. The  Calçots, a relative of the spring onion, added a light bitterness to offset the richness of the gravy. Accompanying the dish was a Arneis. It was a very citrusy wine with subtle overtones of blossom, yet sweet, and merged well with the chicken.

Course number four was Skrei Cod with Fermented Garlic & Monk’s Beard.


The cod was delicate and flaked with a brush from the fork. the black garlic sauce was rich almost treacle like in colour and oh so complex in flavour, almost chocolatey, sweet and bitter at the same time with a powerful hit of umami. Monk’s beard (Goat’s Beard) hails from Tuscany and is only in season five weeks a year. It’s probably quite unknown in this country but tastes similar to spinach with a high minerally flavour. It was a very well balanced dish and perfectly accompanied with a Gavi. This wine is made from Cortese grapes in the DOCG protected region of  Cortese di Gavi. This was another fruity wine, mainly with peach coming to the fore with a little bit of gooseberry following it up.

Our fifth and ‘main’ course was beef with string beans and  gravy:


It was my favourite dish of the day, the beef was cooked with enough pinkness for me and well done enough for Wifey. The gravy was a joy with a deep richness and really bringing the umami of the beef to the fore.

It was accompanied by a beautiful Beaujolais, my second favourite red after Chateauneuf du Pape. It was fresh and fruity and almost verging on a white in flavour but it went down a treat.

Wifey, not being a red wine fan had an alternative white, however Holly was kind enough to let Wifey sample an almost rosé Red, which Holly had converted her mother with previously. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get Wifey to drink red on a regular basis!

Course six and our first dessert was a watermint sherbet


Watermint is a less well known mint compared to garden, pepper and spearmint but it is abundant in northern Europe’s waterways and has quite a strong menthol flavour. It was combined with the sherbet (a sorbet made with milk rather than a fizzy powder). The accompanying Moscato d’Asti was very sweet with pineapple and grapefruit being the main flavours. Combined with the carbon dioxide, one of our friends coined it similar to an alcoholic Lilt in flavour!

The seventh and final course was Sheep’s Curd & crystallised blood orange.


The sheep’s curd was very rich, like a very soft cream cheese; the crystallised blood orange added both sweetness and sharpness.  It disintegrated on the tongue and blended into the curd. A wonderful end to a great meal. The final wine was a Demi-Sec and matched the dessert elegantly with its strong citrus and honey notes.

A special mention must also be made for the service. It was faultless , informative and informal, a relaxing change for fine dining.  The sommelier was very knowledgeable and more than happy to change some of the red wine pairings for Wifey.

There was one final extra little treat. We were presented with with cardamom-flavoured chocolate nestled in a bed of edible cocoa shavings. We ate this the following day, too stuffed to eat any more, and it was delightfully bitter with the spicy sweetness of cardamom pervading throughout.


We had an amazing evening and wouldn’t hesitate to return, the food and service was amazing and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a special meal in Brum. Next time we’ll probably hit the lunch menu.

When: 24/03/2016

Where: Carters of Moseley, 2c St Mary’s Row, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EZ

Who: Carters of Moseley