What to Drink When You're the Designated Driver

26th October 2018

It’s your Christmas party, and for one reason or another you’re off alcohol. But when you loathe lemonade and can’t stand coca-cola, what else is there to choose? Lisa Botwright finds a grown-up alternative…

I don’t know about you, but I get so frustrated on a night out when I’m not drinking. It’s not the lack of alcohol exactly: it’s the lack of choice. I don’t particularly like sweet and sugary drinks, so I usually just opt for water, which is obviously extremely boring. Then there’s the lack of panache. While my friends’ gin and tonics are beautifully bedecked with extravagant garnishes, I often have to go back to the bar to ask for a simple slice of lemon. It just doesn’t feel like a treat, in the same way as a cocktail or a glass of wine. So I’m delighted to discover a credible alternative: Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, which delivers all the sophisticated complexity of a favourite tipple, without the hangover. And another huge plus is that it has zero calories – it’s completely sugar, sweetener and artificial flavour-free.

Seedlip was founded by Ben Branson in his kitchen with a small copper still & a copy of The Art of Distillation written in 1651, which documents apothecaries’ distilled non-alcoholic herbal remedies. He explains: “My family’s 300-year farming heritage, coupled with a career working on drinks brands, laid the foundations to spend two years working with distillers, growers and historians to create adult, complex drinks.” He’s come up with three interpretations of Seedlip: Garden 108 has a herbal base character of spearmint, rosemary & thyme; as he proclaims, “it captures the essence of the English countryside with sophisticated top notes of the handpicked peas & hay from our family farm.” Spice 94 has a strong spicy aroma and taste (of allspice berries and cardamom), as well as some citrus top notes and a bitter undertone from oak and cascarilla bark. Then there’s Grove 42 – my own personal favourite, reminiscent, to me, of my favourite gin – a wonderful celebration of orange, lemongrass, ginger and lemon. They all taste super with tonic, and can be used as an alternative base for martini or sour style non-alcoholic cocktails (see below for suggestions). Seedlip was an immediate sell-out in London’s Selfridges when it was first launched, and is now served in over 250 Michelin restaurants, as well as top cocktail bars. Branson says, “the response has been overwhelming: exciting times!” All I can say is “Cheers!”

For more information, visit: seedlipdrinks.com


Grove 42: 50ml ginger beer; ice: cubed; glass: tumbler 

Fill a tumbler with ice. Add the Grove 42. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wheel. 

Garden Sour

Garden 108: 50ml; cloudy apple juice: 35ml; fresh lemon juice: 1 tbsp; cider vinegar: 1 tsp; rosemary sprig: 1; thyme sprig: 1; sugar syrup: 2 tsp; egg white: 1; ice: cubed; glass: coupe 

Add the ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. 

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