Every so often a product comes along that you look at and think wow. Wow, that is classy. The artistic bottle, simplistic yet intriguing. The website, slick & modern. The marketing, pitched just right. All this before you ever take a taste of the product itself.
Seedlip is one of those items. Billed as the Worlds first Non Alcoholic spirit, with a website keen to tell you how it is served in Michelin starred restaurants, the Worlds best cocktail bars and fancy hotels across the planet.
But what looks well designed, lovingly thought out and cleverly put together usually comes with a price tag to match all the effort. Seedlip is of course no different, at £28 for a 70cl bottle this is expensive, very expensive if you look at it as a soft drink. Let’s be honest, You could buy many a bottle of quality Boozy spirits for less, get a good offer & you could buy two! So this alcohol free Spirit must be something unique if it’s priced like that, right?
Well let’s find out
Currently available in two flavours, Spice 94 and Garden 108, Seedlip is the result of founder Ben Branson’s desire to have a decent alcohol free alternative. Using distilling techniques from the 1600’s he toiled over recipes until he came up with the flavours that are now stocked in The Savoy, Selfridges & on Virgin Atlantic’s transatlantic routes, to name just a very select few. Produced in England with a London HQ, Seedlip is promoted as a nature company, providing a solid alcohol free base for sour style cocktails and Martinis.
I recently got to try both flavours courtesy of the guys at Seedlip. I decided to keep it simple and went with the serves that they list on their website, with a minor tweak in that I switched out the peas for a fresh cucumber.
Both drinks are full on flavoursome, with the Spice beating out Garden 108 as my personal favourite.
Spice 94 served with Fevertree Tonic Water & Grapefruit peel over Ice
Tasting notes - A very dry bite, a dull spicy bite that lingers in the back of the throat, a hint of Christmas is detected through the inclusion of the citrus fruit
Strong rich flavour
Garden 108 served with Febertree Tonic Water & cucumber slice over ice
Tasting notes - Fresh fresh fresh... like just picked from the garden, carried in by grandma and washed under the tap fresh! With a deep earth taste that lingers in the mouth.
While my preference was for Spice over Garden, neither of Seedlip’s Non Alcoholic spirits were particularly satisfying, in fact let’s be honest, I didn’t like either.
But wait, I have a theory about exactly why....
This is a unique product in a niche market. Personally I think tonic water as a mixer is the wrong way to go. On tasting both flavours I can see why Seedlip is served in the top eateries & cocktails bars and that’s all to do with those who are serving it.
Seedlip needs to be used correctly. I can pour tonic or ginger ale or mix it’s through a cocktail twenty times, but it will never taste the same as the drink a professional barman will mix up! For me Tonic Water was a little to bland, these spirits need real quality ingredients to compliment them in a cocktail. They need to be expertly handled by someone who can fix the sort of drink you see served in the high end bars that already stick this.
Perhaps I should have taken the time to practice, but straight out of the bottle Seedlip is not a forgiving drink. Anyone can tip coke into bourbon or ginger into Whiskey & have an acceptable drink that tastes just right, Seedlip needs a little more skill and a little more prep.
So while I won’t be buying a bottle anytime soon, that’s only so I can save up for a trip to a fancy cocktail bar and taste it as it was intended.. which is something just a little beyond my mixology skills
I thinks it’s only fair that I a suspend this review until I can try a properly made Seedlip Martini or cocktail sour, until then I’m leaving this review unfinished. So Seedlip, you are neither good nor bad, but you could be great, in the right hands.
Seedlip is available at Tesco in 70cl bottle RRP £28
20cl bottles are also available RRP £12.99
I was provided with two 20cl bottles of Seedlip for tasting & review purposes by the company itself.
I have no interest financially or otherwise in Seedlip.