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A distilled non-alcoholic spirit could change the way you think about drink

A man walks in to a bar, leans forward and asks the bartender, “Do you have any non-alcoholic drinks?”

Returning a few minutes later, the barman hands him a sickly sweet-looking drink and suddenly, all eyes are on the man with the mocktail. Such glaring concoctions are the bane of many drinkers in a social setting, but in November 2015, the world of mixology was challenged by a man with nothing more than a copper still and herbs in his Lincolnshire, UK garden.

Inspired by his learnings from The Art of Distillation published in 1651 and a deep dislike of fruity mocktails, Ben Branson developed the first ever distilled non-alcoholic spirit. And in so doing, may have finally solved the predicament of ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking’.

Ben Branson Brian Whar

Seedlip – the name inspired by the seed baskets carried on Branson’s family’s Lincolnshire farm – sold out almost instantly in London’s Selfridges. The brand is now served internationally through retailers, bars and 250 Michelin-starred restaurants, thus offering proof of a demand for a premium non-alcoholic beverage. The concept of a distilled non-alcoholic spirit is intriguing. Blended and bottled in England, Seedlip is produced in a six-week-long distillation and filtration process for each individual botanical. Seedlip offers three complex blends – Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42 – each with its own story to tell.

Seedlip Spice Tonic Rob Lawson

The latest release, Grove 42, showcases each of its ingredients in a delicate and sophisticated manner. A zesty start with orange, mandarin peel and blood orange hints to a subtle grassy character complementing the freshness of the ginger and lemongrass, followed thereafter by a dry finish from the Japanese sansho peppercorn. There’s a lot to be said for the complexity and sophistication in Seedlip’s Grove 42 bottling, which brings to mind the innovation and passion of craft gin. Seedlip is a true trailblazer. Try a bottle of Grove 42 and serve with tonic and a twist of orange peel.

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