Guest Post: Botanical cocktails w. Wild Roots Apothecary

Guest Post: Botanical cocktails w. Wild Roots Apothecary

Guest Post: Botanical cocktails w. Wild Roots Apothecary

We mentioned last week that we have a couple of local colleagues who’ve vastly improved our mocktails, by creating non-alcoholic products that contribute a  depth and complexity we usually rely on liqueurs to bring. While we’ve found them essential for our mocktails, these products also make quite a nice addition to cocktails. In fact, our favorite tonic creation at our recent tonic bar involved one of them. Seeing as we’ve featured her products more than once in the past couple of weeks, we asked Colleen O’Bryant to tell us a little bit more about how she became a maker of botanical syrups. Here are her thoughts, plus an accompanying cocktail/mocktail recipe.


First thanks to Roberts & June, my fellow compadres at Union Kitchen, for inviting me to guest post on their super nifty all things cocktail-ey blog.  I love their interpretations of classics and the excitement they are bringing to the DC cocktail scene. Kudos, my friends!

So super quick introduction, I’m Colleen O’Bryant, owner & herbalist at Wild Roots Apothecary – a creative place for me to use all things herbal in unique and inspirational ways.  My botanical cocktail experience started about 3 years ago when I made some honey lemonade that was a little too sour for my kiddo’s liking; so improvising I added a dash of Elderberry syrup to it and, voila, after much research and development ;), my line of herbal-based botanical syrups were born.

I love crafting up botanically inspired cocktails and mocktails to introduce more folks to the world of herbs and have conversations about plant-based healing. Our botanical syrup flavors are bold and elegant and can be paired up nicely with spirits or rock it on their own with a little seltzer and a squeeze of lemon.  That being said, come on over and check out our product line of botanical syrups, green beauty products and classes at; or if you’re in the DC or NOVA area, pop by our apothecary shop in Sperryville, VA. We’d love to see your smiling faces after a nice hike along Skyline Drive.

Enough already. On to the cocktail/mocktail of the day!  This one is about all things warming and cozy, since as I write this the wind gusts are making it about 11 degrees right now.

I’ve been inspired by the Chinese New Year Celebration, and the flavor profile that is really on point is the mix of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns in Chinese Five Spice. This spice mix creates a beautiful warming zap to almost any drink, and all of those 5 spices are traditionally used to increase the digestive fire by heating up our circulatory system. Got cold hands and feet? Have a cup of fresh Ginger tea with a couple dashes of Chinese Five Spice and a little honey.  These spices aren’t hot on the tongue necessarily like a hot pepper, more of a subtle warming starting in your tummy and slowly diffusing warmth all the way out to your extremities.  That’s why this cocktail is a perfect sipper to cozy up with on these chilly nights, it’s got all the spices plus a little bourbon or rye to take the edges off.

This cocktail features our Nettle Orange syrup, a good Bourbon or Rye, spices, ginger, blood orange juice & bitters create flavor playground for these chilly winter nights.

The Bold & Cold Dasher



  • 1 ounce Bourbon or Rye
  • .5 ounce our Nettle Orange Syrup OR agave syrup
  • .5 ounce Blood Orange Juice
  • .25 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 inch ginger
  • Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • Orange Bitters
  • Ice
  • One large square Ice cube
  • Blood Orange Twist


  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle the star anise, ginger, and rind of the blood orange for at least 15 seconds.
  • Add your spirit, syrup, juices and a dash of the 5 spice to the shaker along with a cup of ice.
  • Shake hard for 20 seconds.
  • Add the square cube to the glass, pour slowly add 3-5 dashes of bitters and a good twist of orange.
  • For a lighter cocktail add some seltzer water, and for a mocktail eliminate the spirit and add seltzer.
Roberts & June