An evening of making Ibiza Hierbas by Zoe Newlove
Have you ever wondered what on earth the herbal tasting yellow liquid is that you are presented with after every lunch or dinner here in Ibiza? What exactly is this Hierbas stuff you’re drinking? And why is it so popular here in Ibiza?
Want to learn more about this liqueur? Then read on.
Towards the end of last summer, I was invited to attend a Hierbas workshop, at Kasbah in San Antonio. This workshop was hosted by a company called The Drinks Workshop, founded by Philip Thomas.
Phil is the head alchemist, and produces his very own Hierbas, but also likes to experiment with other spirits such as vodka, brandy and gin.
The evening began by learning about Phil and his background in the drinks industry. Originally from New Zealand, Phil had spent his time travelling and working as a bartender before discovering he had a true passion for how alcohol is actually made. This was how The Drinks Workshop was born.
So, what exactly is Hierbas? Translated from Spanish, it literally means herbs. It is a liqueur made in Ibiza using different botanicals and herbs, most of which you can actually find growing around the island.
Laid out on the table, all set up for the workshop, was an incredible array of herbs, and Phil had picked all of them that same day, just from exploring the island, but more on that later.
Hierbas is usually taken as a digestif after your evening meal. As well as being perfect for settling your stomach after a heavy meal, it is full of medicinal properties too.
It has been made on the island for generations and is extremely popular with the locals.
Hierbas “Ibicencas” is even protected by the law here in Ibiza. To create your very own you actually need to register with the Government here, it is taken very seriously. This at least means that the Hierbas made in Ibiza is genuine and always of a high standard.
Now for the fun part of the workshop, making your very own bottle of hierbas. Phil explained that the base of every Hierbas is made from aniseed seeds, fennel, vodka and sugar.
If you think about this liqueur having layers, this is the very first layer that you need to create Hierbas. You can then add various different herbs to the mixture such as chamomile, sage, lavender, orange & lemon leaves, mint, thyme, rosemary and so on. Most, if not all of these can be found on the island, you just need to know what you are looking for.
We were given a glass bottle, and with Phil guiding us every step of the way, we got to fill our bottle with lots of the different herbs. We learnt what each herb was used for, what it would taste like, where it could be found on the island etc.
It really was a fantastic learning experience as well as lots of fun. Once we were happy with the herbs, we then poured the anise mixture into the bottle. To seal the bottle we dipped the head into red hot wax and hey presto, you have your very own hierbas.
We would, however, have to wait 2-4 months for the Hierbas to infuse with the herbs before it would be ready to drink. The final step simply meant adding a little label to the bottle, a lovely finishing touch and a great end to the workshop.
So there you have it, there is a lot more to that yellow liquid than meets the eye. If you fancy taking a workshop whilst in Ibiza, check out The Drinks Workshop for more information or follow them on Facebook here facebook.com/thedrinkworkshop.