It seems to be soft season as of late, with new no-abv drinks – particularly the sparkling variety – hitting the market, and our desks, every day. Kate Malczewski taste-tests four of the latest
'High in fibre' and 'packed with antioxidants' may not be the first things to spring to mind when you think of energy drinks, but new brand Unrooted claims both.
The energy drink shuns caffeine and added sugar, instead crafting three flavours around baobab fruit powder: Baobab & Mango, Baobab & Pomegranate and Baobab & Ginger.
Tastes like: The Baobab & Mango has an unexpected perfumed quality. Its lack of added sugar is commendable, but it would benefit from a bit more sweetness. The Baobab & Ginger hits the right notes with a well-balanced spiciness. Ultimately, the Baobab & Pomegranate is the winner here. It's pleasantly tangy from pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses, with a slightly salty finish. We found it quite moreish, though it probably won't agree with every palate.
£3.50/245ml, Marigold Health Foods, mhfshop.com
Two Keys Mixers
The newest addition to the growing sparkling tea market is Two Keys, which has introduced its first two flavours, Black Tea and Green Tea, to the on-trade.
The former contains Ceylon Sonata, Assam and Lapsang teas from India and Sri Lanka, and the latter boasts Kukicha, Tencha and Gyokuro teas from Japan. The teas are cold brewed, blended with a bit of sugar and carbonated.
Tastes like: The Green Tea is grassy, light and not too sweet – a delicate mixer that we'd pair with a crafty gin on a sunny spring day. The Black Tea, on the other hand, is bolder. It has a surprising savoury funkiness and a touch of smoke, balanced with a bit of sweetness and a healthy hit of tannin. We'd like to try it with a vanilla-rich bourbon.
Black Tea Mixer, £1.80/200ml; Green Tea Mixer, £2/200ml; Two Keys, twokeysldn.co.uk
Belvoir Mixer Range
Belvoir Fruit Farms has launched its first range of mixers exclusively to the on-trade. The new collection is made up of Elderflower Tonic Water, Indian Tonic Water, Low Calorie Tonic Water and Ginger Ale.
Each of the flavours is made with a citrus-based syrup and fresh ingredients, drawing on Belvoir's reputation as a cordial producer; the addition of lemon juice takes the place of citric acid.
Tastes like: The three tonic varieties were snapped up at Imbibe HQ before any tasting notes could be written, if that's any indication of their deliciousness. We managed to crack open the Ginger Ale ourselves and were pleased to find a delicate, round, soft ginger flavour – not spicy, but rather candied and caramelised without being cloying. Would complement a lighter Spanish-style rum.
POA, Belvoir Fruit Farms, belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk
Square Root Earl Grey
East London-based soda producer Square Root is continuing its series of limited-edition drinks in a new collaboration with south London brewery Orbit. Together, the brands have created an Earl Grey Pale Ale Shandy.
The new drink blends Orbit's Earl Grey Pale Ale, made with Mandarina Bavaria and Citra hops, and a soda with bergamot, Darjeeling and Assam tea. It manages to clock in at less than 0.5% abv.
If you're keen to get your hands on this zesty collab, you better move quickly – it will only be available until July 2019.
Tastes like: Orange and lemon peel, floral Earl Grey tea, with a slight hoppy bitterness. 10/10 would smash one in a pub garden.
£1.80/250ml, Square Root Soda, store.squarerootsoda.co.uk