I enjoyed visiting the Seedlip Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018. Dr Catherine MacDonald designed this interesting garden as a celebration of the pea plant family – Fabaceae, and to highlight the work carried out by three pea pioneers: Gregor Mendel, Dr Calvin Lamborn, and Ben Branson. Ben Branson is the founder of Seedlip, a company that produce distilled non-alcoholic spirits. The company’s remit is that Seedlip is: ‘Solving the ever-growing dilemma of ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking ®’. I must admit, that making a decision on which non-alcoholic drink to consume has never been either a dilemma or a problem for me, but I was nonetheless intrigued and interested enough to try this non-alcoholic spirit for myself.
Seedlip distilled non-alcoholic spirits are suitable for those who are vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, coeliac, and anyone following a gluten free diet. These non-alcoholic drinks are also kosher, and entirely free from lupin, sesame, peanut, almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, mustard, oat, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, soybean, celery, and they are also milk and lactose free.
Seedlip produce three non-alcoholic distilled spirits: Garden 108, Spice 94, and Grove 42. I have yet to try Grove 42, which is a citrus based non-alcoholic distilled spirit, but this spring, I received this special gift pack containing Garden 108 and Spice 94. Of these two distilled drinks, I was most interested to taste the Garden formula, which Seedlip have christened Garden 108, because it takes an average of 108 days from sowing the pea seeds, until the pea plants have grown are ready for harvesting, when the peas that are used to create this beverage are collected. The harvested peas are then distilled, together with hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme, to produce this spirit. The company describe Seedlip Garden 108 as ‘a floral blend of hand-picked peas and home-grown hay’. Peas are one of my favourite vegetables, I just adore everything about peas, mangetout, sugar snap peas, and pea shoots – I love them all – so I was really interested to taste Seedlip Garden 108!
What I enjoy about Seedlip Garden 108 is that it I feels like you’re drinking in the scent of the vegetable garden! I love the aroma of the kitchen garden, I relish the evocative scent of a freshly mown lawn, and the sweet, grassy taste of the pea. Well for me, Seedlip Garden 108 is like drinking in the true sweetness and the essential, authentic taste of the pea and of a fresh grassy meadow in May time, it’s refreshingly real: sweet yet bitter, like drinking in the scent of a rather beautiful, freshly mown lawn. The flavours in Seedlip Garden 108 are gentle and soothing, these are washes of flavour, this is not an overpowering drink, nor is it acidic. This non-alcoholic spirit doesn’t make you grimace, you don’t need to exclaim, ‘Gah!’ after taking a sip! So, if you’re picturing this as an astringent, medicinal type of preparation, think again.
I am sure that for many years folks have daydreamed about bottling the evocative scent of a freshly cut lawn, and the fresh taste of pea shoots, (well perhaps not the pea shoots part, probably just bit about the freshly mown lawn) well, Ben Branson has done just that! Seedlip Garden 108 delivers the fresh, green taste of a spring and summer garden.
As part of my tasting, I tasted a sip of Seedlip Garden 108 neat, Seedlip don’t recommend this – they recommend that you dilute their non-alcoholic distilled spirits with tonic water, or sparkling water, or another mixer. Seedlip Garden 108’s undiluted taste is not anywhere near as powerful as I had expected, in fact I found that a sip of Seedlip Garden 108 in its neat form really didn’t taste very different from a sip of this drink diluted with tonic water. When it’s diluted, the taste of Seedlip Garden 108 goes a long way. Seedlip recommend that you use 50ml of Garden 108 to 125ml of tonic water, but you could dilute this distilled non-alcoholic spirit much further and still enjoy Garden 108’s complex flavours. Seedlip Garden 108 is a gentle, refreshing drink, I find this to be a relaxing beverage, as to me it tastes of the freshness of the garden in late spring and early summer!
Seedlip is free of any calories, it’s both sugar and sweetener free, with no artificial flavours or additives, which has surely got to be a good thing! Seedlip Garden 108 is also vegan, gluten free, and free from allergens, so it’s a good choice of gift, whatever the gift recipient’s diet – so ideal if you’re looking for a special gift for a tea-total friend or relation, or someone with allergies.
The second Seedlip non-alcoholic spirit I tasted was Spice 94 – so called as spice berries, one of this non-alcoholic distilled spirit’s ingredients, were discovered in Jamaica in 1494, by Christopher Columbus. I found Spice 94 to have an autumnal and somewhat Christmassy flavour. This spirit has a woody, earthy taste. I am not overly keen on the taste of cardamon, but although I preferred the taste of Garden 108, I did enjoy tasting this non-alcoholic spirit. As I drank Seedlip Spice 94, I could taste the cardamon, with the flavour and the dryness of the cinnamon sticks and the barks that are distilled to create this spirit. These woody, earthy flavours are complimented, and livened up a little, by a backdrop of a subtle zing from grapefruit, or another citrus fruit.
If you’re wondering how far the contents of these bottles will stretch, I think that each of the 50ml Seedlip spirit bottles from this gift pack can be mixed to produce at least four, extra large, very tall drinks, or eight, slightly smaller servings, you could of course make these drinks go a lot further, the flavour of the two Seedlip formulas I’ve tried goes a long way, it carries over very well as it is diluted.
Any of the Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits would be a super choice of gift for a tea-total friend or relation, or as a gift for a person who seems to have everything. As Seedlip is vegan, gluten free, and free from allergens, this non-alcoholic spirit would be a special gift for a person that has allergies or any restrictions to their diet. Seedlip have recipe ideas over on their website. If I try Seedlip’s Grove 42, or any of Seedlip’s other beverages, I’ll let you know what I think!
To see more photographs of the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………………
To see more product reviews and gift ideas, please click here.
To see photographs of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.
To read about the beautiful holly tree that my friends bought me as a special gift, please click here.