Waeska bar at The Mandrake hotel in London has unveiled a new cocktail menu rooted in ethnobotany, the study of a region’s plants and their practical uses through traditional knowledge of local cultures.
The 14-strong menu has been developed to take guests on “a journey through flavours and feelings” using herbs and botanicals from across the world, including destinations such as Asia, South Africa and South America.
After extensive research into the medicinal properties and benefits of the chosen ingredients, the bar team employed modern techniques and methods such as sous-vide, extraction and infusion to create the different serves.
The Wakamomo cocktail, for instance, is dedicated to the wakamomo, a small unripe green peach that is common in China and Japan. Considered a symbol of youth and immortality, it is high in phosphorous, which along with other minerals, helps strengthen bones and teeth.
Taking inspiration from the classic Bellini, the tipple combines seasonal plums, rhubarb and almond, finished with Perrier Jouet Champagne. A single wakamomo peach is used as an edible garnish.
Another example from the list is Szechuan, an edible flower native to Brazil with a unique “electrifying” property when chewed upon. The infusion of the leaves and flowers is a traditional remedy for stammering, toothache and stomatitis.
Waeska’s Szechuan cocktail combines Patron Silver tequila, Mezcal Union, homemade basil sorbet and yuzu agave. The szechuan bud garnish offers an electric sensation when customers bite into it.
Other cocktails explore Cactus Blossom, Vetiver, Marigold, Enokitake, Sarsaparilla, Devil’s Claw, Barley, Jalapeño, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Calamansi and Galangal.