Seedlip Spice 94 (non-alcoholic) spirit review
This post is also available in: Greek
How many times have you been in the situation where you’re out in a bar and you either don’t want an alcoholic drink or for some reason you can’t have one? Whether you’re the designated driver or are slap bang in the middle of ‘Dry January’, the decent non-alcoholic options out there are pretty tragic. Sparkling water? Orange juice? Or something full of sugar or tasteless – or both? Well, not anymore. Here at The Booze Chronicles we might specialise in reviewing alcoholic drinks, but today we are very excited to review the first ever non-alcoholic distilled product, Seedlip Spice 94.
Into the bottle of Seedlip Spice 94
Seedlip Spice 94 was created when founder Ben Branson discovered a book that dated back to 1651 and was owned by the King George the III. This book ‘The Art of Distillation’ contains recipes of long-forgotten copper-stilled, alcoholic and non-alcoholic recipes and can now be found in the Rare Books section of the British Library. The name Seedlip comes from the basket that farmers used to collect seeds in, whilst the number 94 refers to 1494, the year Columbus discovered the allspice berries in Jamaica that are one of the main ingredients of Seedlip Spice 94.
So with the book as a starting point combined with his personal experience in design and branding as well as his family history in farming, Ben set out to create Seedlip Spice 94. His vision was to place it slap bang in between alcoholic spirits and beverages, where he believed there was a big gap in the market. We should also mention his previous experience in the industry here, with his impressive portfolio including projects with brands such as Moët & Chandon, Glenmorangie whisky and Absolut vodka that undoubtedly made this project a bit easier – something you can clearly tell when you first look at the stunning Seedlip Spice 94 bottle.
Ben worked with six botanicals and individually macerated each plant in neutral grain spirit and water before distilling the mashes in copper stills. He uses oak, cascarilla bark (also used for Campari and Vermouths), cardamom, all spice berries, grapefruit and lemon peel, blending all of these products individually, apart from the lemon peel which he distills in copper. The main difference between Ben’s method and the classic distillation method is that he collects all the remaining distillates from the pot, which are now alcohol free because all the alcohol has been evaporated during the distillation process.
That’s not all, though: New Years Resolutioners amongst you will be pleased to hear that Seedlip Spice 94 also contains zero calories, is sugar and sweetener free and also has no artificial flavours. And if you’re into aesthetics, it comes in a beautiful bottle designed by the Pearlfischer team with an unopened shelf life of a year and an opened shelf life of eight weeks. It also doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated.
Into our glasses
As we tried to decode the transparent colour of Seedlip Spice 94, we are happy to report that the warm feeling of spices reached our noses straight away. Our first reaction was to pull our heads back from the glass to avoid burning our nostrils from the alcohol, but we then happily remembered that this is a non alcoholic product which gave us the opportunity to dive our noses deep in the glass enjoy all its delicious aromas together for the very first time. Cardamom notes and cloves follow from a fresh and floral jasmine essence (Timos).
To our great surprise the spices and aromas blended smoothly with the rest of the botanicals to give a solid taste and body with the tangy notes of citrus and lemon marrying smoothly with liquorice and nutmeg. It’s incredible that a non-alcoholic product can offer a body, aroma, taste and aftertaste just as good as when you sip an exceptional alcoholic drink. It’s truly outstanding.
Seedlip Spice 94 is perfect served with a premium tonic and a pink grapefruit wedge for a garnish or as a non-alcoholic classic Martini. We’ll also keep on experimenting with new recipes here at BiterBooze – so keep you eyes peeled for new recipes coming soon. There’s just one thing that we think needs mentioning, though: whilst we never usually discuss prices in our reviews because we are great believers that there’s no price tag for joy, for a non-alcoholic product we do think that Seedlip Spice 94 is a bit pricey. It is undoubtedly a fantastic product with amazing branding and stunning packaging, but unfortunately at £27.99 we feel it’s a bit much for a non-alcoholic beverage.
Timos Spanos: 88/100
Ioannis Korovesis: 94/100
Overall Score: 91/100
Producer/Owner: Seedlip Ltd.
Country of Origin: Covent Garden, London, UK
Alcohol volume: 0%
Style: Distilled non-alcoholic spirit
All photos by Timos Spanos for Bitterbooze.com
Translation by Timos Spanos