Dry January and even February doesn’t exist for me since I am a ‘dry all-year-round’ post-surgery patient through choice. It does mean however that I have been looking for a non-alcoholic option that I can happily serve to my non-WLS friends who have been doing the January/February thing; the school-night brigade who forego a tipple several nights a week in the interests of sobriety, health and fitness; as well as something special for myself. One or two friends who now say they feel so much better for cutting out the booze have also now convinced others to give up for Lent – 6 weeks, starting this last week!
It also seems fitting to look at this today because I am celebrating a wedding anniversary and these kind of celebrations are when I look for something special to toast with instead of the usual flavoured water.
It’s been a labour of love to try and find a good alternative and as such I have suffered many, many disappointments over the months. I have tasted and tried – and it has to be said dismissed – so many low or no-alcohol wines, beers, lagers and cocktails in the quest to find something good. Which is where Seedlip comes in.
Tipped off by a post on another blog I read, and seeing that it appears on the drinks menu of the hottest new restaurant in town (Sexy Fish), I asked for a sample to find out more. This is a distilled no-alcohol spirit that has the added bonus of no added sugar and no sweeteners in its make up!
My little miniature arrived and so, in the interests of all (who am I kidding?) I am sipping this first neat and then with tonic to see if it ‘hits the spot’ and confidently holds it own when compared to other non-alcoholic drinks. I have waited until a reasonably sensible hour to taste – in other words as soon as the vicar has passed the house even though there isn’t a whiff of anything faintly wrong with having it earlier!
Now although it looks like a bottle of artisan gin (and btw costs about as much) this arty brew is actually properly distilled botanicals on a citrusy base and should be served either on its own or with a dash of tonic. It is created – like gin – in a copper still, but without the alcohol or sugar.
It certainly looks the part on the sideboard or the drinks trolley with a wonderful arty and sophisticated label. It most assuredly looks adult, mature and quite the part, but how does it actually taste?
Tasted neat, the flavour starts with a gentle whoosh of woody cinnamon and spice, which comes at you with a faintly lemony after-wash. It’s lightly bitter, very clean tasting and if I say so myself (which I am) it’s rather nice. Not gin, obviously, but a grown up alternative if you need to remove alcohol but don’t want to appear to be a kill-joy. Far, far nicer than some of the nasty chemical wines I have tasted and much better on my stomach/pouch than many of the artificially sweetened drinks I sometimes feel forced to endure. Pepped up with tonic (and stirred like mad to get rid of the bubbles) I like it even more. I could happily settle for a couple of glasses of this at a party or get together.
When I get the opportunity I shall try in a couple of cocktail recipes for a ‘sober-girls-night-in’. Top of my list is this Madam Eliza Cholmondelay one which is flavoured with orange marmalade (and I have some reduced sugar version that would be perfect).
It is a tad expensive at £29.99 for a bottle but it’s a great idea for a treat and no worse than a special mix of gin with flavourings of which there are many to choose from. You can buy it here from Selfridges, from several wine and drink merchants and from HonestlyHealthfood.com