Foraged tonic water

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  • Drink
  • Makes 1.5l of syrup
  • 60 minutes
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Tonic water is traditionally made with quinine, which comes from the bark of the cinchona tree and gives it its pleasing bitter flavour. In this recipe, Imogen Davis uses a variety of herbs, flowers and roots foraged from the British countryside to offer a more complex alternative, creating a syrup which can then be topped up with soda water.

Watch Imogen prepare this tonic water from scratch as part of our Signature Series video masterclasses.

First published in 2020
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  • 1l water
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 10 sprigs of yarrow
  • 1 tbsp of gentian root, dried
  • 1 tbsp of dandelion root, dried
  • 1 tbsp of alexander seeds, lightly crushed between your fingers
  • 800g of sugar
  • soda water, as needed


Pour the water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the soda water) and leave to warm through and infuse gently for at least 60 minutes until syrupy and full of flavour. If you’re after a really strong flavour, then leave the syrup infusing overnight over a very low heat (with a lid on the saucepan)
Leave to cool, then pass the syrup through a fine sieve into a bottle or jar. This tonic syrup can now be kept in the fridge until needed. To make it into tonic water, simply mix 1 part of syrup with 4 parts soda water, but it can also be used to drizzle over ice cream or churned into a sorbet
First published in 2020

Imogen is the co-founder of the foraged and wild food-focused restaurant Native on Osea Island, Essex.

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