Seedlip Dry January Samplings

written by Guest Angel

We were extremely excited when Hel’s Angels HQ received the call from Seedlip. As huge fans of all things food and drink we could not wait to learn all about the new option in the non alcoholic drinks category.

Our Angel Alicia writes here about her in-store sampling experience for a Tee-totally perfect new drink:

In my time working with Hel’s Angels I have been extremely fortunate to share in their expertise and passion for working with unique and innovative food and drink brands, and none more so than this groundbreaking non-alcoholic offering from Lincolnshire distiller, Ben Branson.

Enter Seedlip: a beautifully crafted botanical drink imagined and created in a cabin in the woods not far from Branson’s family run farm, after a chance encounter with a 1651 manual on traditional distillation methods. Using the manual, Ben created a process for each individual botanical in Seedlip using a combination of cold maceration; copper pot distillation, blending and cold compound filtration in a method taking six weeks.

With the trend for health and wellness surging, Dry January was the perfect opportunity to sample Seedlip to a world of consumers looking for an elegant non-alcoholic alternative to the slim pickings on offer in pubs and bars across the country. The wine shops of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, along with local farm shops, played host to our sampling tables across the UK, where we introduced the two signature serves of Seedlip, with tonic water and ice.

The elegant packaging and branding of Seedlip belies the innocence of its contents. A pleasingly proportioned clear bottle with a copper top and beautifully rendered illustrations of a Hare (for the Garden 108) and a Fox (for the Spice 98) are made up of composite images of the ingredients in each, and suggest the old world of an apothecary shelf, reimagined for the modern market.

Garden 108 is principally made from garden peas – the number 108 referring to the length of time it takes to sow, grow and reap a fully grown pea.  The delicate balance of the peas, along with hay, rosemary, thyme and spearmint create a refreshingly earthy botanical drink; redolent of a summer afternoon in an English country garden. Served over ice with tonic and an inspired garnish of frozen peas, the end result is a sophisticated looking serve and a refreshing palate cleanser, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to your meal and an energizing tonic to enliven the senses.

Completely sugar, sweetener and calorie free, this virtuous alternative to soft drinks sounds almost too good to be true, except it isn’t – and there’s more! If the earthy botanicals of the Garden 108 are not quite the mood you find yourself in, the festive warmth of Spice 94 may be just the ticket. Inspired by Christopher Columbus’ discovery of Jamaican Allspice in 1494, Spice 94 contains allspice cultivated in Jamaica, along with cardamom, oak, lemon, grapefruit and cascarilla. Also served with tonic water, this edition of Seedlip is served with a twist of red grapefruit. Most surprising is the way in which it delicately warms and develops in the mouth into something more complex and exciting than you would expect from a drink with no alcohol or sugar to carry the flavor.

Tee-totally perfect for a virtuous night on the town, or even a cosy night in!

The real joy of this sampling activity was seeing the genuine surprise and delight of consumers when they realized there was no alcohol (or sugar or calories!) in the drink at all. As a nation of drinkers, the initial suspicion of something with no alcohol fell away into the appreciation of taste, craft and presentation with the health benefits thrown in as a bonus. It became clear to many consumers that a lot of our pub culture is in the social ritual of sharing a drink with friends at the end of the day, and that the alcohol content is largely immaterial.

These spirits are not just a wonder for the home-consumer. Bartenders have long been looking for a base on which they can build dynamic and appealing non-alcoholic cocktails. If you fancy a bit of a pick me up, the Spice 94 can be used in an Espresso Martini in place of a vodka, and Garden 108 in place of traditional gin recipes, and the best part is, you wake up with a clear head and a calorie-free conscience the next morning.

If cocktail bars aren’t your usual go-to hang out, it’s worth mentioning that Seedlip is also now being rolled out across popular chain restaurants as an option to accompany your meal. High-street stalwarts Carluccios, Browns and Pizza Express have all adopted the drink as a stylish alternative for the designated driver, expectant mother or marathon runner. For the older demographic, Seedlip provides an exciting opportunity for those not able to consume alcohol and sugar in a way they once could, but feels familiar to the taste buds in the way a gin and tonic, or spiced rum might.

On account of its sophisticated packaging and signature serve with tonic, Seedlip is currently stocked with the gins in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, often prompting the question “Oh! Is this the new non-alcoholic gin?” from passers by.

Well madam, it’s not a gin, or even a vodka – in fact it’s a new thing totally unto itself. Move over Elderflower Pressé, there’s a new drink in town and it’s going to be big news.