What to Do With Seedlip, the Non-Alcoholic Spirit
Stand these cocktails up against any boozy drink.
Sure, sometimes when you sip a cocktail you’re actively looking for a buzz. But other times, you’re just after a complex, flavorful drink, alcohol or no alcohol. And while there are any number of ways to doctor up sodas and juices such that they’re a little more exciting, they do have a tendency to taste like…well, sodas and juices.
Not so with Seedlip. Billed as a truly “nonalcoholic spirit,” it’s actually distilled — macerating herbs and botanicals in neutral grain spirit and water, putting each one through a copper-pot distillation, then removing the alcohol before blending and bottling. As a result, the flavors are powerfully concentrated. Sipping either variety of Seedlip—the herbal, floral Seedlip Garden 108 or the woody Seedlip Spice 94—you’re struck by their intensity, which really does mimic that of a spirit.
While neither is intended as a direct swap for a standard spirit, Seedlip Garden is likely to appeal to gin fans, and whiskey fans might gravitate toward Seedlip Spice. Both have been eagerly embraced by an early wave of bars in London, New York, and California. And while mixologists can devise some awfully complex drinks with Seedlip, we chose to keep it simple. Here are three easy cocktails to make with Seedlip Garden 108.
Seedlip & Tonic
Seedlip Garden is made with peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme. It’s a fresh, verdant spirit that pairs perfectly with bittersweet tonic. A little lime is all the adornment it needs.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of Seedlip Garden 108 and 4 ounces of a high-quality tonic like Fever Tree. Give a quick stir, then garnish with a few lime wheels.
Seedlip & Cider
This time of year, we always have some fresh apple cider in the fridge; it’s a perfect pairing for the herbal Seedlip Garden. A little lemon and honey turn it into a proper fall cocktail.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces of Seedlip Garden 108, 1 ounce of apple cider, a 1/4 of fresh lemon juice, and a 1/4 ounce of honey syrup (that’s honey cut 1:1 with hot water, so it dissolves more easily). Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with 1/2 an ounce of club soda, and garnish with rosemary.
Seedlip East Side
This lively, but alcohol-free, spirit slides seamlessly into an East Side—a perennial favorite of ours made with mint, cucumber, and lime. An East Side is delicious even as a virgin drink, but the Seedlip Garden 108 adds a real complexity to it, just as gin would; you’ll never miss the alcohol.
Instructions: In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle a 1-inch round of cucumber. Tear up 5 mint leaves, and drop in the shaker. Add 2 ounces of Seedlip Garden 108, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, and 3/4 ounce simple syrup, along with ice. Shake until very well-chilled, then double-strain (through the shaker’s own strainer, as well as through a fine mesh strainer) into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint sprig.