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An introduction to foraging with Brad Price

A man stands outside smiling on a foraging trip with Naked Malt whisky in his bag

Meet Brad Price, who might just have the coolest job in the drinks industry 😎.

Brad started out as a barback in 2007, worked his way up to manage several bars and gastro pubs, before becoming the Drinks Development Specialist for Edrington UK (told you it was cool).

For his latest project, Brad has combined two of his biggest passions – cocktails and foraging – to create a range of incredible wild Naked Malt serves. We’ll be sharing the recipes over the coming months, but first we wanted to understand a bit more about foraging and the reasons behind its surging popularity.

So we sat down with Brad to discuss the basics of foraging, how to get started, and why wild flavours pair so perfectly with Naked Malt 👇.

So Brad, where has your love of foraging come from? 

It’s something I’ve only really gotten into in the last few years.

I’ve always loved cocktails, the theatre behind them, seeing how things are meticulously put together, working out which flavours go together and why. I’ve got a good friend called Rob Booth (check out his Instagram page Forage & Field) who runs foraging courses at the weekend. He’s completely obsessed with it, and the dishes he creates using wild ingredients are out of this world. A very good friend to have.

Two friends on a foraging trip walk away from camera, a bottle of Naked Malt in one of their bags

I realised that there might be an opportunity to combine the things he was doing with my love of cocktails, so I started going out foraging with him. He would point things out that I’d never noticed before; the flavours blew me away. I just loved it.

And then when lockdown happened, I started going out more and more. I wasn’t just walking to get my steps in anymore, I was out paying attention to my surroundings, observing what was going on in nature. Foraging gives you a real sense of what’s going on around you. I know that sounds very profound, but it’s true.

Two friends forage for cocktail ingredients

What are your favourite ingredients to forage?

I really love pineapple weed (pictured below) which grows in almost all waste areas and in between the cracks in the pavement. It's an amazing plant which seems to thrive in places like roads, driveways, and other dry or sandy soil locations. You just pop the buds, give them a rub and you have this fragrant pineapple flavour straight away, from something you were walking past on the street. As soon as you know what it is, it’s all you’ll see when you’re out walking.

Close up of a man's hands holding some ingredients that he has foraged

Another one I absolutely adore is meadowsweet. It’s got big flowery heads and is typically found in swamps, marshes, wet woods or by lakes and rivers. It’s got quite an intense smell, but as soon as you mix it into a syrup you get these almond and vanilla notes that are just amazing.

And then for people who are new to foraging, you can’t beat wild strawberries. They’re completely different to strawberries you buy in a supermarket, much more intense. They taste so much sweeter and fresher. It’s not ground-breaking – everyone knows what a strawberry looks like – but it’s the start of a journey for people. And when you start, you won’t look back.

How do you know where you can forage and where you can’t? Is it different in different countries?

It differs depending on where you are. In somewhere like Australia, there are certain things you can’t pick and certain areas you can’t forage. If you aren’t sure of the rules where you live, make sure you do some research before heading out.

Here in the UK, if you’re in a public space you can pick pretty much whatever you want, but if you’re on private land, make sure to ask the landowner first.

A few things to remember when out foraging, be wary of spots that could be ‘dog lavatory height’ and be mindful of areas that are near busy roads. The taste of exhaust fumes won’t be a great addition to your wild cocktails.

A man on a foraging trip has a bag full of cooking equipment and a bottle of Naked Malt whisky

What inspired you to start using foraged ingredients in cocktails? 

As soon as I started going out foraging with Rob and trying all those new flavours, I knew lots of them would work in cocktails. I spent time understanding the flavours and comparing them to ones I already knew, then working out how to adapt them to cocktails.

I was thinking things like, ‘This sorrel tastes like sour green apple skins, that’ll work perfectly for a Naked Malt Apple Sour variation’. My brain was in overdrive.

Then I did lots of research and lots of trial and error, certain things just don’t work and that’s totally fine. Eventually, I had lots of amazing cocktails developed, all using foraged ingredients and Naked Malt.

Why do you think Naked works so well with the flavours that you forage?

There’s an incredible variety of flavours you can get out in the wild. The beauty of Naked is that, thanks to its versatile flavour profile, it stands up to all of them.

I’ve developed Sours, spirit-forward cocktails and even hot coffee serves with chestnut and vanilla syrup – Naked works beautifully with all of them. It’s just so versatile.

And then when you match that with the ethos of Living Naked – being outdoors, being free, being adventurous – what’s more adventurous than going out and picking your own ingredients?

Lots of people are getting into foraging now, it’s very on-trend. Naked lends itself to younger drinkers who aren’t just looking to drink neat whisky, they’re after something different, something with more vibrant, adventurous flavour. Foraging just fits in with the Naked ethos perfectly.

Two friends forage for ingredients

What advice would you give to someone who’s never been foraging before, but who wants to give it a try?

Most importantly, if you don’t know what it is, don’t pick it. Go on a foraging course, they’re everywhere and you’ll learn a lot. Just search ‘foraging course near me’ and you’ll get loads of results.

Start off with caution, strawberries, brambles, berries – these are where to start. Then it’s all about research, research, research.

Don’t get frustrated if what you’re looking for isn’t in season. Check a foraging calendar to see what’s in season where you are. Oh and don’t dig up any roots, and don’t clear a site – you want to leave plenty for wildlife, and for other foragers too. Always just take what you need.

And lastly, get a good reference book. I always take one out in the bag just in case there’s something I don’t know.

Two friends head home after a successful trip foraging ingredients for whisky cocktails

Speaking of books, are there any books on foraging that you’d recommend?

The Urban Forager is brilliant for people living in cities, and the other one I’d recommend is Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers.

And finally, do you have a foraging cocktail creation that you’d recommend for beginners?

Start with something simple like the Naked Smash. This uses water mint (pictured) which can be found all over the world in shallow streams, rivers, ditches and canals. It’s such a simple whisky cocktail to make, but it’s so refreshing, particularly on a hot summer’s day.

A Naked Malt foraged cocktail called the Naked Smash sits beside a bottle of Naked Malt whisky

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

-  50ml Naked Malt

-  15ml Sugar syrup*

-  25ml Lemon juice

-  10-12 Water mint leaves

Method: Combine all ingredients and shake. Double strain into water bottle and place in the fridge for a few hours. To serve, pour into a rocks glass with cubed ice or, if you’re out in the wild, pour directly into a collapsible cup and enjoy. Garnish with more fresh water mint.

*To make sugar syrup, add 330 grams of sugar to 150ml of boiling water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool and add to a sterilized bottle.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to foraging. You can follow Brad on Instagram - @brad_price1 - and keep a look out for lots more whisky cocktail recipes from Brad, coming very soon 👀.

Happy foraging…

The Naked Team

Naked News

August 13, 2021