Botanique is a new soft drink that targets wine drinkers with its botanical-led flavour profile.
It's actually made using alcohol, which serves to extract flavours from the spices and herbs that give the drink its flavours. The alcohol is then distilled off, and a mix of vitamins, minerals and amino acids is added, along with some pear juice. Finally, water is added before the drink is carbonated and bottled.
Botanique is definitely a grown-up soft drink: the nose is very much on the herbal side; then there's plenty of dry bitterness on the palate and real complexity, with notes of citrus, fennel, liquorice, thyme and coriander, and the faintest pear fruitiness on the back of the palate. The carbonation's quite fine and helps to complete the picture of a very food-friendly drink – it would be great with grilled fish.
The drink was created by ex-wine merchant Hilary Marsh, with her past clients in mind. 'Most wines are much drier than soft drinks, but still deliver a lot of calories as the sugar in the grapes has turned to alcohol,' she told Imbibe. 'So wine-lovers typically develop a dry-loving palate, meaning they find soft drinks sickly and dull, since they lack the complexity of a good wine. De-alcoholised wines are just frustrating,' she added.
Botonique resembles wine not just in its taste, but also its packaging – the bottle is green and Burgundy-shaped, with a gold foil capsule. Marsh suggests serving it either well chilled or on ice, in a champagne flute (although a wine glass can be used, which will reduce carbonation). It can also work as a spritzer with sparkling water or wine for a lower abv option. It wouldn't be a bad shout for mocktails either.
The drink was first launched in the off-trade and is now available in the on-trade directly from Botonique, priced at £3.09/70cl ex-VAT. Marsh sees it positioned between soft drinks and the house wine in terms of price. Plans are in the works for a 250ml version, then a rosé and red further down the line.
Botonique, 020 7373 6470