According to Nielsen Media data, non-alcoholic (n/a) and low-ABV imbibing has grown 506% since 2015. And it continues to grow. With a record high of 12 new non-alcoholic spirits brands launching in the US in 2020, there are now 29 US and 42 UK non-alcoholic spirits available to drinkers. Many of them mimic popular liquors, such as tequila, rum, whiskey, and liqueurs. There are also a bunch of dealcoholized and no-proof beers and wines to choose from.
In 2020, a lot of home drinkers turned to n/a alternatives. As one of the owners of the mobile, non-alcoholic, pop-up Steady Bar in Coeur d’Alene , Idaho, since 2019, I have sipped my way through a lot of n/a liquids. I have also mastered my own Campari, vermouth, whiskey, and tonic alternatives. One of the first n/a spirits I ever tried was Seedlip®, and they remain my favorite to this day.
Instead of copying the flavors of an ABV liquor, Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits are crafted to bring three distinct flavor profiles to a drink: herbal, citrus, and spice. Named after baskets used 300 years ago by English farmers to hand-sow seeds, Seedlip draws on the medicinal traditions from the same time period used to distill herbal remedies in copper stills.
Founder Ben Branson, frustrated by unimaginative, sugary n/a drinks and inspired by the recipes of 1651 physician John French, spent two years perfecting the sophisticated vegan, allergy-free, sugar-free, and calorie-free options available today: Garden 108 (blend of peas and hay with traditional home garden herbs), Grove 42 (blend of three types of oranges and spice distillates), and Spice 94 (blend of allspice berries, cardamom and two bark distillates).
My absolute favorite is Garden. On the nose, it is surprisingly intense with aromas of sweet peas, dewy grass, and herbal leaves fresh off the stem. Seedlip calls it a “celebration of the English Countryside.”
As a mixer, it deftly fills the space where gin might have been and adds balance to a fruit juice or sweet syrup. It’s deeply refreshing topped with tonic and lime on the rocks, but my favorite way to drink Garden is in a Steady Bar Peter Rabbit: muddled lime with 2-oz. Garden and 1-oz. Sugar Snap Pea Shrub, topped with club soda over ice. Garnish with a carrot shaving.
Order your Seedlip or get more recipes at seedlipdrinks.com.
Originally published as “What To Drink When You’re Not Drinking: Seedlip” in the January-February 2022 issue.