The natural way

America Village Apothecary
America Village Apothecary

Lifestyle – Claire Davey has drawn on her knowledge of plants and herbs to create the unique America Village Apothecary and Tasting Room, where botanicals form the basis for a range of flavour-filled alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s her passion, as she tells Judy Murphy.

“It’s about connecting people with nature in ways they don’t expect,” says Claire Davey of the philosophy behind the Galway based drink company America Village Apothecary.

And if that sounds like a hifalutin notion, it isn’t.

In this case, connecting with nature requires nothing more than visiting a really cool and cosy space on Dominick Street in Galway City to enjoy non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, based on herbal and botanical recipes.

Ingredients, including gorse, blackberry, rosehip, pine, dandelion, bog myrtle, quince, pear, sage, and seaweed which are foraged mostly in Connemara, are used to make the range of cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as aperitifs and digestifs that are served in the America Village Tasting Room. The drinks are complemented by food platters, which include meat, cheese – including vegan cheese – fruit and buckwheat crackers. Much of the food is supplied by local vegan chef, Alison Haslam.

The Dominick Sstreet Tasting Room is named after Baile Mheiriceá (America Village), near Clonbur in North Connemara, which is where Claire lives. That’s where she does the hard work, gathering the wild ingredients for the products stocked in the city premises.

“You have to have hands of steel when it comes to picking gorse,” she says of one of the plants that’s currently in season and the flowers of which forms the basis of her popular gorse syrup.  “You also have to be an early riser because that’s when the flowers are at their best,” she remarks of the general picking process.

Dry weather is also required for this work.

“You can’t plan ahead, if it’s a good dry day you just pick it, so it’s a spontaneous enough job in that sense,” she explains.

Claire started her unique drinks company, America Village Apothecary, in Baile Mheiriceá eight years ago, foraging local plants and transforming them into syrups, elixirs, tinctures and bitters.

She initially supplied her products to selected retailers including Fortnum & Mason in London and the Michelin-starred Loam Restaurant here in Galway as well as to McCambridge’s shop.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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