2020 has undoubtedly been the year of curbing our alcohol intake, and for so many good reasons. Being stuck at home, feeling trapped, grabbing for alcohol to make us feel better is quite probably the worst trap to fall in. And that’s without even considering the impact it has on our health.
I’ve found drinking non-alc drinks to be a bit of lifesaver, it means I can join in the fun without irritating my angry IBS gut, and I mentally feel so, so much better. I figured I can’t be the only person, so with the rising amount of non-alc drinks on the market, I’ve worked my way through them to bring you some of my favourites.
Big admission here, I do still drink alcohol, but over the past year my focus has switched from quickly grabbing and pouring something just to mark the end of my day to mindfully putting together a really decent drink. Just flipping it like this has made me appreciate and enjoy the alternatives on offer, plus I must admit, they’re far tastier and much better for my gut health.
As I have so much to share, I’m breaking this blog in to three parts, starting with these lovely guys who claim to ‘Bring Plants To The Party’ – and yes, they really do – Three Spirit, botanical alchemy delivered in three different drinks to match your mood and the moment.
This is one fun non-alc brand who combine together some of my favourite plant based ingredients, many containing adaptogenic power. Think tummy loving turmeric, stress busting ashwaganda, mood boosting cacao and antioxidant rich green tea to name but a few. There are no rules when it comes to pouring your drink, it’s all about playing around and seeing what floats your boa
Founded by husband and wife team Tatiana Mercer and Dash Lilley, along with Meeta Gournay, these guys set out with a big ambition to make ancient plants the centre of the drink. What I love about their approach is that they’re not just offering an alcohol free alternative, but they’ve extensively researched how alcohol interacts with the human nervous system, taken the positives and found functional plants to replicate this feeling.
‘We make life hard for ourselves because taking the easy path often ends up with a mediocre result that is just not worth getting excited about.’ Co Founder, Dash Lilley
Together, they’ve really focused on what goes in to the bottle, rather than the one huge element we ‘think’ we’re concerned with, the alcohol. And I love how they refer to themselves as ‘the third way’, not an alcoholic beverage, or the usual sugary soft drink normally available at social gatherings, but a delicious natural botanical drink complete with natural pick ups.
Starting with Livener, or The Party Starter as it’s also referred to, this is the perfect exotic botanical to kick start your night with. This has very quickly become my go to when I want to draw a line between work and the beginning of the weekend. It contains a lovely little spice and is just perfect served over ice with a tonic, or if you’re feeling a little fancy, try muddling it together with some clementines, red-currants and mint, stir in a dash of maple syrup and you’ve got yourself a delicious Christmas inspired Mojito. This one, I must admit is quite possibly my favourite of the Three Spirit drinks, full of delicious botanical extracts including my favourite hibiscus. With extracts of ginseng and green tea, this one gives a lovely, natural little lift.
Then on to Social Elixir, or the Mood Booster, the original member of the trio. This one came recommended served over ice, topped with ginger ale and garnished with a slice of orange. This was good, but then I discovered it works perfectly as an Espresso Martini – a natural pairing with ingredients like the cacao bean – and oh my, it worked beautifully. I added a shot of espresso to a jar full of ice, along with a shot of Social Elixir and it was perfect. Someone with a sweeter tooth may prefer a drizzle of maple syrup but personally I was good without. All that was missing were a couple of roasted coffee beans scattered over the top – I do love chewing on those!
And finally on to Nightcap, or The Dream Maker as it’s intuitively termed. With ingredients like turmeric, ashwaganda and ginger, this one is right up my street. To be quite honest, it felt so incredibly grown up and special to pour myself a tumbler of this over ice – it brought back some lovely late night drinking memories with my lovely team from back in the corporate days, although that tumbler was filled with whisky – I ended up savouring every single moment, sipping at it and appreciating each and every botanical element. So deliciously complex and really very good.
From the very outset when pouring these drinks I felt like I’d be taken to another portal, one bursting full of healing plants and ancient traditions. And those bottles are just beautiful. It’s all these little elements that make drinking a 3 Spirit cocktail just a little bit more special and to be quite honest, when moments like this happen, the alcohol free element no longer becomes part of the story.
If you’re Brighton and Hove bound, or know someone who is, these drinks will be making a special appearance in December’s Fakeaway Friday, where I will be pairing some of the ingredients from each drink kindly gifted with my Christmasy inspired menu.
More details on my Eventbrite page here.
All of my views are genuine, I’m not endorsed by these guys in any way, although I was gifted each of the 3 Spirit drinks.