This feature contains items that were gifted for the purpose of this feature; we were not influenced on the content and this is an honest review.
There are many reasons to make a switch to non-alcoholic drinks, even if just every now and then. Perhaps you’re looking to cut down on your alcoholic intake for health benefits, maybe you’re on certain medication that can’t mix, or you’re looking to support a partner. Maybe, you don’t really drink that much anyway, you don’t like the taste, or feel that mocktail recipes, which, let’s be honest are mostly fruit juice, can be lacking, and no-one likes to seem like the odd one out, especially as it can seem, in some social circles, taboo to stick to soft drinks.
Also, as we get older, most social engagements are within the family home and whether you’ve got friends that need to drive to get to you, or need be mindful of parental or family responsibilities, we want to highlight alternative non-alcoholic drinks that compliment every individual’s lifestyle.
Thankfully there are number of companies that- either through personal experience and lifestyle choice, or in recognising the demand- have created a whole range of non-alcoholic spirits.
What is a non-alcoholic spirit?
Alcohol goes through a distillation process to strengthen the alcoholic effects; however, this process can also be used to enhance and strengthen flavour and ingredients, that excludes alcohol or sugar. It’s an ancient process that has been a method for creating and harnessing a range of ingredients for centuries, even for medicinal purposes. Seedlip’s founder, Ben Branson, uses these same ancient practices to create a range of botanical, non-alcoholic spirits.
Alcohol is used in the process of making Seedlip’s spirits, but merely to extract the flavour and enhance the ingredients they use. This is at the base level of the process and the alcohol is extracted during the distillation process; in fact, each ingredient is distilled individually before a second distillation to create that unique flavour with a combination of ingredients that each drink possesses. Mindful of the potential alcoholic trace, the spirits are measured as <0.5% ABV (the alcoholic content of a drink) but really this is only when the spirits are drunk neat. However, these spirits are designed to mixed to enhance flavour and when mixed, they contain no more alcohol than found in a piece of fruit or slice of bread (yep, they actually have ‘alcoholic content’!).
Find out more about the process of making the Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits, here:
A non-alcoholic highball cocktail
These drinks are not comparable to any typical non-alcoholic drink already on the market; most non-alcoholic drinks are pre-mixed or are a sugar-based syrup, or cordials mixed with sodas, making them a high calorie, excessively sweet and quite an unsuitable option in large quantities.
If you’re looking for a replacement to your soft drink, of coke or lemonade, this will seem an expensive alternative, especially when you factor in the cost of mixers. However, when equated to a per serving cost to other high end soft drinks, it is comparable and would be matched with cheap spirits.
They’re also not trying to imitate alcohol but are an alcohol alternative with a flavour all of their own, that thankfully don’t carry the burning taste you can get. They are, simply, a non-alcoholic highball cocktail; they’re not designed to be drunk neat but paired with a mixer of your choice to enhance the flavours and ingredients within the spirit. The beauty of these spirits is that you can customise your drink to your own tastes just by changing the mixer you use. These drinks are perfect for those that want to create a fun, social, relaxed offering at home that provides that same social pleasure, just without the hangover.
Something for all tastes
Seedlip have created 3 non-alcoholic spirits, each using a combination of botanical ingredients, herbs, spices and/or fruits to make a unique and versatile drink that is free from sugar and alcohol, making these a low to no calorie (depending on what you mix it with) alternative.
Personally, I felt that when paired with tonic, a common mixer for spirits, this dampened the flavours the spirits offered, but I personally find tonic bitter and overpowering so am likely to have that experience anyway; someone who likes tonic would probably find it much more palatable. They’re great to experiment with to get a feel for your own preference, however we have some serving suggestions below.
Garden 108, Herbal
Using a combination of peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, hops, and thyme, Garden 108 has a very distinctive earthy quality to it, reminiscent of an English meadow on a summers’ day. The scent is quite powerful and provides a full flavour experience when paired with lemonade; it has a clean and refreshing taste with a hint of lemon, garnish with a slice of apple for flare.
Grove 42, Citrus
Grove 42 has a very light but distinctive citrus scent, the blood orange in particular is what first hits the senses. This is certainly a drink for those that enjoys that citrus taste, including bitter orange, blood orange, lemongrass, lemon, mandarin and ginger, a perfect combination for a summers’ day. We found this drink is best mixed with ginger ale to bring out the orange and lemon flavours.
Spice 94, Aromatic
The Spice 94 drink has a comforting and warming aroma with sweet notes that are almost nostalgic. With ingredients of all spice, oak, green cardamon, cascarilla, grapefruit, and lemon, it is reminiscent of a mulled cider, a perfect accompaniment for an autumn or winters day. Best paired with an orange juice to compliment those aromatic spices.
Be sure to keep your eye on social where we’ll share some more recipe ideas for these drinks over the coming weeks and months.
Thank you to Seedlip for providing us with a bottle of Grove 42, Garden 108, and Spice 94 to try for this article.