Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits was a pioneer in the world of non-alcoholic spirits and alternative beverages when it debuted in 2015. They were acquired by Diageo, a huge company in the alcoholic beverages industry.
This might explain the recent visibility in the US market, especially during the first month of the year, aka “Dry January.” As a drinker of alcohol, I finally had to know: is Seedlip any good? What does it taste like? So, I picked up a 3 pack (1 of each spirit) and started testing it out. This is the beginning of that journey.
HOW IS SEEDLIP MADE?
Before we get into tasting, here’s some background about their process. Seedlip is made by distilling high quality botanicals individually then blending them to create the final products. It’s a six week process involving maceration, copper pot distillation, and blending and filtration for each ingredient.
Then the final product is blended. The ingredients are all listed on the products. It’s actually quite impressive the lengths they go to to create this non-alcoholic beverage.
WHAT DOES SEEDLIP TASTE LIKE?
There are 3 Seedlip spirits, and none of them have juniper in them. This means none of them are going to taste like gin and therefore can’t be called gin substitutes. However, they are made with some interesting ingredients and each blend has a distinct flavor profile.
Below are some first impressions and tasting notes, in addition to what Seedlip mentions in their FAQ. I am not a sommelier, just your average cocktail enthusiast and hobby mixologist trying to make sense of these new beverage options.
Seedlip Grove 42: First impression – orange water. Smells like sweet orange, and tastes like the rind. Seedlip Grove seems delicate, yet the orange essence is really powerful. Seedlip lists lemon, ginger, and lemongrass in addition to 3 types of orange, but orange is all I taste. Initially, I’m not feeling inspired by this, but it deserves to be explored in some mocktails where one would want to taste the orange grove in their drink. Full review
Seedlip Garden 108: Very herbal, grassy, dry. I think I taste the peas. Seedlip Garden has peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme in it. The blend tastes sophisticated. My take: Seedlip Garden will make some excellent alternative beverages. It packs a punch and seems like it will stand its ground in a drink. Full review
Seedlip Spice 94: Aromatic, lots of cardamom and spice, warm. From Seedlip: “Seedlip Spice 94 is aromatic with warm spice notes (All Spice Berries & Cardamom) & citrus (Lemon & Grapefruit peel) top notes & a long bitter finish from the highest quality barks (Oak & Cascarilla).” I think Seedlip Spice is going to be fun to test in holiday mocktails. Full review
Alright, onto the fun stuff. Armed with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water and my 3 Seedlip spirits, we will get to the bottom of this. Which one will make the best “gin” and tonic? Now keep in mind, Seedlip says they are a new kind of spirit, and they are not attempting to be a gin substitute, but since I love gin and tonics, let’s try it anyway.
I referenced the recipes on the Seedlip website to find their suggested ratios, so that would be 2oz Seedlip Spirit to 5oz Fever Tree Indian tonic water. Results:
The Grove & Tonic tastes like an orange flavored soda. We’ll have to try this in other mocktails.
The Garden & Tonic is very herbal and a little grassy, and I’m loving it.
The Spice & tonic tasted like cardamom in tonic water.
Seedlip’s spirits don’t have any added sugars or sweeteners and no artificial flavors. Paired with the “Refreshingly Light” version of Fever Tree’s tonic water, all of these make a low-sugar mocktail. Due to the orange flavor in Seedlip Grove, the smell of orange almost tricks you into thinking you are drinking something sweet.
After comparing the three spirits, the Garden & Tonic is hands down my top choice. It’s dry, herbal, and refreshing, all qualities I enjoy in a gin & tonic. Even though Seedlip isn’t trying to recreate gin, Garden 108 and tonic makes a very tasty beverage, and a great non-alcoholic substitute for a gin and tonic. If I only had a sugar snap pea lying around for that garnish…
If you’re looking for a low-sugar, herbal mocktail, Garden & Tonic is a great option that’s simple to make. Also, be sure to check out the entire collection of mocktail recipes and alternative beverages.
Click here for the best available price for Seedlip Garden 108 on Amazon.