The Coolest Drink!, Give Peas a Chance, Lovely Lavender & Dog Days

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 14th July 2018 
The Coolest Drink!

I have never been a very accomplished consumer of alcohol and knowing that, a thoughtful friend recently introduced me to SEEDLIP, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit.  Marketed as ‘what to drink when you’re Not drinking ®’, Seedlip’s rather impressive credentials include a coveted bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation & filtration process for each individual botanical, and which takes 6 weeks.

Seedlip’s spirits boast zero calories, are sugar-free, sweetener-free & artificial flavour-free, making Seedlip & Tonic a really refreshing and grown up change from opting for lime and soda or sparkling water and a sophisticated and healthy alternative to overly sweet or fruity non-alcoholic drinks.

Available in two flavours, Seedlip Garden 108 is described as,  ‘capturing the essence of the English (or Welsh, of course) countryside with sophisticated top notes of the handpicked peas & hay from the founder’s family farm with a complex herbal base character of spearmint, rosemary & thyme. Seedlip Spice 94 is aromatic with strong spice (All Spice Berries & Cardamom) & citrus (lemon & grapefruit peel) top notes & a long bitter from the highest quality barks (Oak & Cascarilla).

Seedlip was founded by Ben Branson in his kitchen in the woods with a small copper still and a copy of The Art of Distillation written in 1651, which documented apothecaries’ distilled non-alcoholic herbal remedies.

Ben Branson says: “My family’s 300-year farming heritage coupled with a career working on drinks brands laid the foundations to spend two years working with distillers, growers & historians to create adult, complex drinks when, for whatever reason, you’re not drinking alcohol. The response from both the trade & consumers has been overwhelming and we are both proud and humbled to be championed by the world’s food & drink pioneers. Exciting times!”

Seedlip also won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016 – I’m not sure how I missed that, it definitely wasn’t through being in the Champagne Bar!

Give Peas a Chance

Both spirits are best served with tonic or as the base for martini or sour style non-alcoholic cocktails. There are lots of fab’luss cocktail recipes on the website, but I think this is just one of the coolest non-alcoholic drinks you can serve …

Seedlip Garden 108 & Tonic:

  • Tall Glass – Full of Ice
  • 50ml/2oz Seedlip Garden
  • Add a Handful of Peas
  • Top with Fever Tree Indian Tonic

The Garden 108 is my favourite, and it does make me want to go out and soak and macerate some peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary and thyme!  It was named Garden 108 as that is the average number of days it takes to sow, grow and harvest their peas.  Spice 94 is so called because in 1494 Christopher Columbus discovered All Spice Berries in Jamaica where theirs are exclusively sourced from.  You don’t get those sort of clever conversation starters with a glass of lime and soda!

Lovely Lavender

I may not be able to make my own Garden 108 but I do make a mean and refreshing lavender drink.  It might not be ‘Gin and Tonic’, but it certainly is a tonic, as the health benefits of lavender include supporting tired muscles, treating insomnia, working as an antiseptic, maintaining cardiovascular health, treating indigestion, fighting inflammation, working as a detoxifier, improving respiratory health, treating acne, treating headaches and restoration of body cells.

Simply sprinkle 1 tbsp fresh (or dried) lavender buds over a layer of lemon slices, in a large jug.  Fill the jug with sparkling water and give it a stir. I don’t worry about draining the drink as the little flowerbuds are pretty in the glass.

For a twist, you can also use tonic water and try using mint or cucumber with the lavender to extend your non-alcoholic drinks menu!

Dog Days

Did you know that the period between the 3rd July and 11 August was referred to by the Romans as the dog-days.  They reckoned these were the hottest days of the year – they probably were in Rome – but this year Wales is giving them a run for their money.

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, and the Romans thought that the earth received heat from it.  Between July 3 and August 11, in the northern hemisphere, the dog-star Sirius rises with the sun, and they thought this added to the heat it gave out.

And tomorrow is St. Swithin’s Day (15 July), with tradition claiming that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin’s Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.  If that’s the case, my money is on it being a long hot summer.

St. Swithin’s day, if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain.

St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

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