Andy’s wild booze walks – Bristol and Bath

Andy’s Wild Booze walks – New dates and venues added

Andy hamilton on the iplayer

As seen on Radio 4 Food Program (Click to listen)

When you take a sip of a Martini you could be imbibing hundreds of wild plants as both vermouth and gin can be made from any number of plants. Some of these plants can be fairly exotic, others may be growing in your back garden and it is very possible to make your own wild infusions that will taste every bit as amazing as your favourite gin or vermouth.

On my wild booze walks I take a group of people out and introduce them to the plants that grow at our feet. Plants that all have a secret history. It’s also a bloody good laugh going out with a group of people and having a drink outdoors.

Twice this year I’ve had to add new dates to my wild booze walks due to demand and below are dates that still have spaces available. I’ve decided too to travel further afield this year and take my booze walks to new place. Ok, just Bath right now but watch this space for dates to be added in other UK venues around the country (well perhaps one nearish to Manchester). If you would like me to come to you then please do let me know by filling in the form at the bottom of this page.

Andy’s Wild booze walk Bristol

Andy Hamilton clifton bridge squareWhat could be better than a stroll along aside the gentle flow of the river Avon. Along through the beautiful Avon gorge and under Brunel’s masterful suspension bridge. With a group of like-minded people for company and a best selling booze author pointing out some of the wonderful plants that can be turned into great drinks? Well doing all that with a drink in your hand of course!
WEDNESDAY 22nd JULY 2015, 2.30pm. Currently taking booking for Andy’s wild book walks through Eventsbrite

Andy’s Wild booze walk Bath

A stroll along aside the gentle flow of Kennet and Avon canal as narrow boats chug past and the hazy autumn sun sets across this world heritage city.
FRIDAY 2nd October 2015, 5.00pm Currently taking booking for Andy’s wild book walks through Eventsbrite

Praise for Andy’s wild booze walk in Bath

Along the Kennet and avon canal

Along the Kennet and Avon canal

“I recently organised a stag night and having listened to Andy on radio 4 thought a booze walk would be a good idea. Andy took eight of us along the canal in bath, educated us on the intricacies of making booze from the hedgerows and the history of artisan drinks. Peppered with anecdotes, facts and fable Andy’s engaging and relaxed approached fitted well with the banter of the rest of the group. Andy’s samples of wild booze along the way eased us in to a night of excess. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and highly recommended to small groups interested in making and sampling some of the stranger drinks in life”.  Alasdair Dawson

Praise for Andy’s Bristol Walk

“A delightfully green and pleasant, yet truly educational, walk, a few minutes from the city  centre, punctuated with varied and delicious, mostly alcoholic, refreshment, provided and indeed created by our most congenial host.  A charming group of people who somehow became ever more affable as the walk went on!” Roger Greenhalgh

Private bookings

Currently taking booking for private walks, including less raucous Stag and Hen dos, small weddings, birthday’s ect. Date’s available in 2016 and a handful of weekday dates are available in 2015. Please use the form below to contact me.


Wild booze walks 2015

Wild booze walks 2015 – NEW DATES DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

wild booze

wild booze

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE THE wild booze courses for 2015 for 2016 events look here… 

What could be better than a stroll along aside the gentle flow of the river Avon. Along through the beautiful Avon gorge and under Brunel’s masterful suspension bridge. With a group of like-minded people for company and an expert guide pointing out some of the wonderful plants that can be turned into great drinks? Well doing all that with a drink in your hand of course!

To book your place on a wild booze walk please use the contact me form below. Make sure you put the date and time of the walk as some days I have more than one walk.

Any wild booze walk questions? All should be answered here in the wild booze FAQ’s section. Including directions. I’ve included a bit more of an outline below too.

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE THE wild booze courses for 2015 for 2016 events look here… 

Wild booze Dates for 2015 – E-Vouchers available if buying as a gift.


DUE to high demand I have added a new date 20th MAY 2015 at 1pm. All other dates are currently Sold out. To Book a place please use the booking form below

Andy Hamilton, wild boozer

Andy Hamilton, wild boozer

April 26th – walk one 1pm & walk two 4pm – PLACES currently sorry, SOLD OUT on both

May 20th 2015 – 1pm PLACES currently AVAILABLE

The 4th of July – American themed wild booze walk!

4pm -Sorry, Sold OUTTo Book a place on either of these wild booze walks use the booking form below

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE THE wild booze courses for 2015 for 2016 events look here... 

Wild booze walks in the media and a little bit of showing off

Radio four wild booze walksAndy’s wild booze walks were featured on BBC Radio four to have a listen click on the big four to the right.

Andy has also appeared on BBC Autumnwatch and Countryfile, ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh show and Channel four’s Something for Nothing. Jilly Goolden, wine critic and Rob da Bank, Radio 1 DJ/festival guru and Dan Saladino R4’s Food progamme producer are all fans of Andy’s booze. The general description is “WoW”.  The majority of people that come on the wild booze walks are also suitable impressed.

What to expect from the Wild Booze walks.

sloe gin

sloe gin

I will be sharing some of the experiences that have helped inspired my 2 award winning booze books, Booze for Free and Brewing Britainmy Guardian blog and my up coming Vermouth Documentary.  We’ll  be identifying some of the plants that can be turned into historic ales, delicious wines and sumptuous cordials. I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have about brewing. In an informal and relaxed atmosphere. I’ll happily chat about anything from your elderflower champagne woes, to Slow gin tips and problems with beers. All this and booze!

Where are the wild booze walks held?

The wild booze walks are held in Bristol along the river Avon. Lead from the create centre into Leigh woods and back again. All will start outside the Create centre (click here for how to get there). We will meet in the car park, but please I urge you to not to drive. 

Here are some of the nice things people said about me and the last wild booze walks.

“He’s an engaging talker delivering a wealth of useful information, unusual facts and strange myths. And his home made booze is a rare treat” Nick Moyle, one Thirsty Gardener

“I’ve been raving about this walk to everyone. Andy’s so good at imparting his knowledge through laid back and companionable walks … I am a complete convert to wild boozing – beech leaf noyau here I come” Bonnie Hewson.
“A delightfully green and pleasant, yet truly educational, walk, a few minutes from the city  centre, punctuated with varied and delicious, mostly alcoholic, refreshment, provided and indeed created by our most congenial host.  A charming group of people who somehow became ever more affable as the walk went on!” Roger Greenhalgh

The fine line between beer enthusiast and beer extremist

The fine line between beer enthusiast and beer extremist

The fine line between beer enthusiast and beer extremist

If it’s not a perfect pint I’m not drinking it

A beer enthusiast is just that, someone who get excited about the topic and the drink. They are people who love every aspect of it. They seek out new beers, perhaps even brew their own. They could be knowledgeable but they don’t have to be and they are, in general, comfortable about what they know. They are happy to share that knowledge with anyone who might be interested and can be great company.

The extremist is a different beast. They could very well be looking at the beer you have in your hand and making all sorts of assumptions about it (and you). They might be telling their extremist faction all about how you served beer, that you paid for, in the wrong glass. They might even be tweeting it. #wrongglasstwat They could even tell you that your choice in beer is simply wrong. I’m sure that they keep a list of all the beers that you supposed to drink or the breweries that are acceptable. Anything that sits outside this remit is wrong.

Both enthusiasts and extremists might know about the alpha acid levels in certain types of hops, or even be able to tell you the level of beta acids. They could even break it down further and tell you each of the members of the alpha acid class of compound and how they affect the taste of your beer. The difference between the two is that the extremist will want to lord this knowledge over you and will perhaps even scoff if you don’t know what humolone is. The enthusiast will gladly tell you.

The evolution of the beer extremist

I’m not entirely sure where the evolution of the two begins. Perhaps it’s something to do with insecurity? Perhaps, when you have tried the best beers in the right glasses you expect everyone to want to try the same. Perhaps there were just not enough hugs growing up. There also the idea that the more someone learns, the more closed minded they can be. This is apparently because they are fixed on confirming what they believe to be absolute. I’m not sure about this and am keeping an open mind. Mind you sometimes perhaps sometimes, some people, can just be obnoxious.

In the beer world I have experienced mostly beer enthusiasts and a small handful of extremists. The very nature of the topic means that you can just have a beer and forget what you were disagreeing about.

It is easy to become an extremist, but next time you look over and see someone drinking out of a can at a party, or pouring a pilsner into an nonic glass don’t pity them or mock them. Instead rejoice as they too are enjoying beer, the stuff you like. Unless of course you want to start and extremist faction?

Pub Facts – Half truths from the pub

What are Pub facts?

Andy Hamilton telling a pub fact

It’s true I tell ya!

Over the course of writing Brewing Britain and throughout my drinking career I have heard many a tall tale, always told most earnestly and always told at least two or three pints into the evening. I’ve started to call these tales pub facts, they sit on that line between total crap and the truth. This is the start of my collection of some of my favourites and I hope that by immortalizing them as the written word these tales and facts will stay alive for a lot longer.

The Animal kingdom – Pub Facts

This pub fact always starts about a friend of a friend and he or she notices that their pet Boa constrictor has been not been eating any food for the last week or so. Slightly concerned they both visit the vet who reassuringly says that the snake is showing no signs of ill health and that as a precautionary method they should keep an eye on it and report back if there is no change.

Being a pampered snake it is allowed to go where it likes in the house and is not kept confined. Just like a beloved pet dog the snake normally sleeps at the bottom of the owners bed. After a further week the snake is still not eating and to add to the strange behaviour it has started to sleep like a human, head on a pillow and outstretched on the bed beside its dutiful owner.

This time an old and wise snake expert who lives down the road is called upon. He solemnly listens to the snake owner as he tells him how the snake has now gone three weeks without eating and is lying prostrate on the bed. Looking alarmed and animated the old and wise expert tells the owner that he must get that snake out of the house immediately as his life is in great danger.

The wise expert explains how the snake is measuring himself up against the owner to ensure that he is long enough to ingest him. Content that he is he is making room inside his belly by starving himself as soon as there is enough empty space, probably in the next day or two the snake will turn on the person that has nurtured him for all of these years and the owner will be slowly digested!

The next day the snake is put down and the owner has a lucky escape.

Andy Hamilton rubbing his chin

Are you sure that’s true

Human Achievement – Pub facts

There is always someone who has done something better, bigger or more impressive than you or I. This collection of stories takes that a stage further and explores the far reaches of human achievement some of the stories question the very fundamentals of what it is to be human.

Food for free

Prahlad Jani is an 85 year old man living in India. Whilst his age is impressive it’s certainly not something of extraordinary merit. What is that seemingly unremarkable Hindu holy man has managed to go without food for the last 70 years. On top of that he says he can walk for hundreds of miles without feeling in the least bit tired.

Instead he had trained himself to get all of his energy from the sun hitting the back of his throat. He needs only open his mouth for 20 minutes a day facing the sun and he is fully sated.

A few years ago NASA got wind of this and were of course very interested. This could make a huge difference to space travel, imagine if astronauts didn’t have to eat anything. Think of the possibilities, we could live on other planets and not have to worry about growing food, we could use the stars to feed ourselves. Under the guise of a press conference, allowing the worlds media to also be present to keep everything under wraps, NASA persuaded Jani to be put under lock and key for two weeks without any food or water in order to run a series of experiments on him. He agreed and after two weeks without any nourishment he said, ‘I am strong and healthy, because it is the way God wants me to be.’ He put his ability to go without food down to a religious experience he had at age 11, when he decided to devote his life to the Hindu goddess Amba. In return Amba feeds Mr Jani with an invisible ‘elixir’ that gives him everything he needs.

NASA could only conclude that this man was an evolutionary mutant. He was the next step in human being, something we could become. They also concluded that he was lying about his age and that this man was over 200 years old. They are currently looking for astronaughts from around the Indian sub continent.

Half my lies are true – Dennis Hamilton, 1823-2004

Man who hasn’t slept

There is a pig farmer living in Vietnam called Thai Ngoc who in 1973 came down with a fever. He never truly recovered from the fever as it robbed him of the ability to get a decent bit of shut eye and as such for the last 40 odd years (and they have been odd), Thai hasn’t slept a jot of sleep. He has tried everything from sleeping pills, mediation to drinking until blackout. Nothing works.

If you or I went for longer than a couple of nights without sleep we would start hallucinate and possibly start losing our mind too. Thai seems to suffer no ill affect from his lack of slumber, both physically and mentally. Indeed, he can even carry bags of rice weighing the same weight as a grown man two miles every day.

The 256 year old man

Anyone who has ever studied Tai Chi will be away of the benefits. Greater relaxation, higher levels of fitness and suppleness but your £5 a session down the local village hall could be adding years onto your life, 200 years to be precise. A fella called Mr. Li Qing Yun who was born right back in 1677 and lived through the reign of nine Emperors until 1933 would testify to that. He also put down his longevity to a drink of “wolfberry juice” that he had every day. Also known as gogi berries these berries do indeed contain a whole host of good stuff for lowering cholesterol, removing toxins and helping to maintain good functioning of the organs.

Perhaps mine should be a pint of gogi berry juice next!

Let me know in the comments below if you liked these pub facts as I have a load more!

Turin Day three

One Andy Hamilton, one cup

One Andy Hamilton, one cup

Turin Day three

We two are now three and we have so far managed to just about re-film what we have shot yesterday in the rain, meaning that much of yesterday was a write off. Such is the nature of this stuff.

What has changed is the feel of the city, the grey bleak curtain of weather that cloaked the city in its misery has lifted to reveal the old men that are the Alps. They rise above any man made structure, rubbing out time and structure in their wake. The wall that was our spirits captor yesterday has now become a small ribbon placed at the base of natures majesty. Indeed, it is perhaps even more than that the wall has become our navigation marker on the walk back to our apartment, we perhaps even welcome it.

Good to see an old friend, but this is always the case. I’d like to be philosophical about it and say that as I grow older I appreciate friends more. But I believe I always have, there is something to be said about how the as you reach the third and then fourth decade in this existence that you appreciate just hanging out. In normal life, especially if you don’t really have any work colleges, when do you actually just hang out. Speaking shit and just really doing nothing. Everything becomes pre-arranged, diarised becomes a word that you use. So, it’s good to just hang out.

It’s nearly 10pm and the day’s work is not over yet, we are off out with Owen to drink and to film it. Now, is this what I want to do for a living, drinking with mates. I guess it beats working….

A little taster of the Turin/vermouth doucumentary

Ok, its really early days and not everything has been filmed that we need, but here is a tiny 10 second outake of the documentary. The person on the left is Owen.

Turin day two – How to make pasta


Rain, Rain and more rain

Day two in the Turin blog four part series (day one is here). It rained on the second day, so this blog is mostly about how to make pasta.

In the morning we sat in our apartment in a rundown bit of Turin having seen only part of a market in the pouring rain. We sought provisions in our district, many of the buildings are empty, some are burned, or just the steel shell of once huge warehouses remains. A metal wall surrounds a huge empty expanse, presumably for a rail track or a large road. But it gives the feeling of being hemmed in like cattle. It has the look and feel of a communist state, on the western boarder. One that would be on the brink of revolution were it not for the fact that the residence have come some accustomed to their turgid state of existence so they felt powerless to do anything about it. Like sewer rats that have never seen the light of day. But the sadder part is that it wasn’t a dictatorial state that imprisoned this district but a free capitalist one, as many languages are spoken here ironically some will have fled from dictatorial regimes. Needless to say, this was a cheap apartment and we got what we paid of.

But it’s clean, quiet and spacious so we sat back and made pasta.

100g flour
1 egg

Make the flour into a mound, like Richard Drafus did with mash in Close Encounters. Then place the egg in the mound so it looks like a mini volcano. Crack the whole egg and quickly fold this all together.

Roll until as thin as a wafer, then cut into finger width strips. Unravel and then boil for 2 mins and then my friend you have tagliatelle.

After the pasta the heavens opened, well not so much opened as pushed just a little more than slightly ajar. That rain that doesn’t stop you from doing anything, the rain that makes you go, “this isn’t too bad, I can walk around in this”, as you are getting soaked to the skin, slowly. It was these conditions that we decided to film a small piece to camera about wormwood in the botanical gardens and we had just an hour before the gardens closed.

Filming can be similar to writing, it might look like there are only a few words on a page and the writer has taken no time to write them. But what you see doesn’t reflect just how many hours or even days has gone into the making of it. So for what might end up being less than a minute or twos worth of usable footage, we sat and got soaked for one hour.

After the botanical gardens we got pizza, had beer and coffee then walked home ate some more, drank some Chianti and slept. Not a bad day in all, just wish it would stop fucking raining then just maybe it will start to feel like the vibrant European city I thought we’d encounter yesterday.

Turin day one

man with balloons

Feel the vibe

Over Easter week I produced (and starred in) a documentary about Vermouth. It is in the editing stage but here is the start to the four diary accounts I kept during that time.

There is a feel to mainland Europe, its freedom, its culture its influence. It spreads down from Germany in the north and influences as far south as Morocco and North Africa in the South and it stretches across to Israel in the east, its influence can be felt across much of Eastern and Northern Europe yet it bypasses Britain. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, apartment living maybe, wide tree lined boulevards littered with cafes and cigarette machines; yet its none of those. It’s in the air, its in the blood and the bones of its inhabitants. It has a character that differs from the rest of the world, yet is part of that too. I can try and weave a sentence or two to grasp it and I’ll never get to the core, a mystique a magic a feeling or if I was so inclined a vibe.

And here I sit in the heat of a spring night, the vibrancy of a European city all around, wine opened and being drank on the table and a week ahead of more of the same. I feel at home and alien to it, the dichotomy of my makeup fighting amongst itself.

This is Turin, much like Toulouse or Antwerp at first glance and this is all I’ve had. A few streets, the taxi journey from the Airport, excited exchanges between two languages. Yet the beauty of the alps are on the doorstep, the tall magnificent old men. They hold 10,000 years or more of human happiness, of awe, beauty, amongst them live the spirit of generation, of cultures that have fought changed, come back to where they started.

Perhaps this is what Britain can never have, perhaps the line of these markers of the last Ice age, the last of mans great struggles with his own mortal right to this beings existence.. That’s what’s missing. A shared joy, a knowledge of something larger than our consciousness.

Booze walks – Part of the Bristol Walking Festival

Booze walks  –

Please note these walks were in 2014; for more up to date details on my events click on the picture of me to the right. 

Andy Hamilton booze walker

Have a boozey walk with this man

This year, and for a limited time only, I’ll be running two exclusive Booze walks. They are 2 hour long strolls, around the stunning backdrop of Brunel’s masterpiece suspension bridge and through the worlds first heritage site Avon Gorge. Within this majesty we’ll be sipping on something alcoholic, sharing stories of all things boozey, meeting new friends and you’ll get to hear me waffle on about plants and booze.

Due to my schedule I will only be running two of these booze walks this year, so once they have sold out that’s it I’m afraid!

Numbers are limited so to avoid disappointment please do book a place by emailing me. 

More details about these Booze walks

The second booze walk is going to be free and will be part of the Bristol Walking Festival on May 8th and it starts at 16.30 (4.30pm)- THIS WILD BOOZE WALK IS NOW FULL a handful of spaces are left on the 4th May. You will have to book on and to do that please email me. As soon as this walk is full or if you can’t make it don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out as I will be having a lunchtime stroll on May 4th for this I’ll be charging just £ or the price of a cocktail (in some places). Again to book, please email me or use the contact form at the bottom. The Sunday May 4th Walk will start at the earlier time of 12.30pm. Both will start outside the Create centre (click here for how to get there).

What to expect from the Exclusive Booze walks.

I will be sharing some of things that helped inspired my 2 award winning booze books, Booze for Free and Brewing Britain and my Guardian blog.  We’ll  be identifying some of the plants that can be turned into historic ales, delicious wines and sumptuous cordials. I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have about brewing in this informal and relaxed atmosphere from elderflower champagne woes, to Slow gin tips and problems with beers. All this and booze!

The booze walks are a celebration to mark my fresh returned from Turin, Italy where I will be making a Vermouth documentary so there is sure to be some added extras about the botanical and brewing process of this understated fortified wine. If you are new to Vermouth it is the backbone of many of the most classic cocktails including the Martini, Negroni, Martinez and Manhattan.

If you like drinking, walking and meeting people the booze walks are an event for you. You know what I’ll even offer you a discount on my signed editions of books Brewing Britain or Booze for Free (or both) if you come along. How does 30% off sound? Hope to see you there.

Things people have said about Andy and his work

“You’ve made Christmas very easy, as I just buy everyone your book” – BBC’s Kate Humble

On drinking some of my wine “Well done indeed Andy, that is really rather good”. Jilly Goolden (whilst on the Titchmarsh show).

“Yours is one of the best foraging walks I’ve ever been on”, Eden project staff.

“Andy is a bright boy but he needs to learn to pay attention in class” – Mr O’Leary, Weston Favell Upper School (1989).


Birth and death on the Somerset levels


The M5 leading to Brent Knoll

Brent Knoll, somerset (no where near the farm)

This Wednesday 8th February (2012) I found myself walking around the Somerset levels.  The levels are a beautiful part of the South West of England. It’s home to the Glastonbury festival, an awe inspiring gorge over in Cheddar, cave’s that have given the back drop to many sci-fi drama and miles of farmland regained from the sea millennia ago with drainage channels dug by hungry Romans.

This area is mostly flat but is pepper with knolls; curious reminders of where the sea rushed in and carved the land. For the rambler the knolls, or small hills, are points to be climbed in order to survey the land. The higher they are the better vantage point you have to plot the next stage of your journey.

When I saw a footpath heading up between two knolls, through Knowle farm it seemed to be a perfect spot to spy on the wetlands of Westhay nature reserve our final destination.  On approaching them the chocolate box patchwork of the Somerset farming landscape started to change. It started to resemble something from John Hillcotts harrowing post apocalyptic film The Road. Rubbish strewn everywhere, barbed wire on gates with signs declaring “no public access”, broken fences with cows and bulls running free and worst of all a massive dead friesian with her eyes pecked out greeting us as we approached the farm.

My heart beat in my mouth as we followed the footpath, not deviating at all in fear of being confronted with an irate farmer with a double barrelled welcoming party. We passed a calf near its mother it was tiny and unsteady on its feet. On closer inspection we could still see parts of the after birth and umbilical cord still on this calf. The deprivation and neglect of this farm could not be ignored as rubbish became frequent the closer we go to the farmhouse.

Upon reaching the farmhouse my fears were justified as out came two sheep dogs, with dreaded hair and teeth as sharp as razors. They snarled at us, obviously trained to keep nosey ramblers away.  I trembled with fear as one of the dogs as snapped at my ankles. We edged past and carried on up towards our knoll.

Up we climbed trying to make light of our ordeal.  Approaching the ridge my mind raced away from the deprivation below. Thoughts of the view on the other side came and my pace quickened as I knew this would be a highlight of the hike. We would be high enough to give a clear, almost 360° panoramic view of the levels in all of their glory. I was not disappointed, the winters sun giving the barren landscape a crisp edge and bare trees etched onto the landscape as if by an artist’s brush.

But our road to hell was not over, we were still to have one last macabre surprise. High up on the edge of knowle hill was a cow. She too looked liked she was dead, her eyes were glazed and looking into the abyss, her tongue lolled to the side of her mouth as she lay motionless on her side. Then I noticed her breath leaving her mouth and turning to vapour in the cold winters air and one of her front legs involuntarily twitched with the last throws of her life. We felt helpless as we climbed down the hill, what could we do to help? I felt like urban intruder on this countryside, this wasn’t even within the  normal realm of problems us city folk are used to dealing with. I felt ashamed and frustrated that I couldn’t help.

I turned round with one last hopeless glance of pity. It was then that I witnessed a scene of intimate and timeless compassion. The cow had been surrounded by the rest of the herd. This cow left to die on a cold,  barren Somerset hillside was not to die alone.  As she took her last breaths, she shared the air taken into her mighty lungs with her tribe. These gentle innocent creatures although ill equipped, had taken the role of husbandry that should’ve befallen the farmer.

I still had the image of the dying cow in my mind when I awoke this morning and I made up my mind to call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. Something, I should have done immediately  and something I’d advise anyone to do if they saw anything similar. I kicked myself for not thinking about it sooner and have now saved the number just in case there are any similar occurrences in the future.

It transpires that this farm is well known to the RSPCA and the farmer has been banned from keeping livestock. As I write someone has travelled down there to have a look and action will be taken. One can only hope that these animals can all find better homes and that this is the one and only time I end up seeing such a scene. If I do, I will certainly be reporting it immediately.