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What to Drink When You’re Not Drinking: Seedlip, the World’s First Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit

seedlip distilled non alcoholic spirit peas
Image used with permission by copyright holder
You’ve been there before. We know we have. Thursday night, you’ve gone hard. Jäger shots and lemon drops until last call. Friday night, same deal. Saturday? You agree to go day drinking, which leads into a night out again. By Sunday, you need to go to brunch , but no matter your constitution, you probably feel tired at this point, like you want to give up. But no, you can’t. You won’t.

If you won’t, then there are certain challenges. What are you supposed to drink when everyone else is drinking? Well, if this British company has anything to do with it, you’ll be drinking Seedlip.

Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. Yes, you read right. Non-alcoholic distilled spirit. We know, this sounds confusing. But, it’s not that complicated. We promise.

In short, Seedlip is what happens when you go to make alcohol … but don’t.

To make Seedlip, each ingredient is cold-macerated separately (there are two flavors using different ingredients, which we’ll get to shortly) in neutral grain spirit and water. These macerations are then distilled in a copper pot still. This removes the alcohol and allows the flavor of each plant ingredient to be concentrated. The remaining liquids are cold-filtered and blended, creating a drink that lacks alcohol, calories, sugar, and sweeteners.

Not only are you getting a drink that isn’t going to get you drunk, but you’re saving on calories to boot.

Ben Branson, the creator of Seedlip, traces the drink’s origins to the 1600s, even though it’s only been on the market for about eighteen months. Branson, who does not drink, found a copy of The Art of Distillation, which was published in 1651. From that tome, he learned about a variety of non-alcoholic cures that he had never heard of previously. Having a family history that was tied to the pea industry, this piqued his interest. He began experimenting with a home still and, when he finally reached a recipe he was happy with, moved forward with the project.

Branson brought two flavors of Seedlip to market: Seedlop Garden 108 and Seedlip Spice 94.

Seedlip Garden 108 utilizes peas and hay grown on the Branson family farm. In addition, you’ll find spearmint, hops, rosemary, and thyme. The number 108 refers to the average number of days it takes to sow, grow, and pick the peas.

For Seedlip Spice 94, you’re going to get a nose that is aromatic and woody. The distillate contains Jamaican allspice berries, cardamom, oak, cascarilla bark, lemon, and grapefruit peel. The name is a reference to 1494, when Columbus discovered allspice berries in Jamaica.

As far as the overall name, Seedlip comes from the bean-shaped baskets that people — including Branson’s own family — used to sow seeds in the field.

When thinking about drinking Seedlip, the first choice is to mix it with soda or tonic. Both allow the flavors of the drink to shine without muddying them up. If drinking it straight isn’t your thing (or you’re not looking to abstain from alcohol), Seedlip also works well in cocktails, adding a nice, vegetal layer. While it isn’t necessarily what the creators want, it’s good to know that it works well as an component in adult beverages when you do feel like imbibing.

Seedlip retails for around $40 per 700 ml bottle.

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Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
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