Ever since its launch in late 2015, Seedlip has remained firmly at the head of the non-alcoholic pack, leading the way in branding, bartender collaborations, global expansion and firmly entrenching itself on the back bar.
Kicking off with the initial flavour Spice 94, its second expression Garden 108 was less than a year behind, making its debut in May 2016. Now, with two years in between, the brand is today unveiling Grove 42.
What do we know about the new flavour? Quite a bit actually, as Imbibe was given an exclusive taste and preview at the Savoy’s American Bar two weeks ago with European brand ambassador Stewart Howard.
As with Garden 108 and Spice 94, Grove 42 is made of six flavours and this time the focus is all on citrus. Three types of orange – bitter orange, blood orange and mandarin – join lemongrass, lemon peel and finally ginger, tying all that citrus together.
It's just as fresh at Garden 108, but in a completely new direction, and has perhaps the most aromatic nose of the Seedlip lineup with all those orange notes demanding plenty of attention.
‘Grove 42 has been two years in the making and it’s very exciting for us to be launching our third flavour,’ said Howard. ‘It’s especially exciting for me as well as it’s the first launch I’ve be part of with the brand.’
The number 42 is, just as the 108 or 94 were, significant. Orange was first used as the name of the colour in 1542.
(And for those who need reminding 94 is also a date reference – this time to 1494 when Christopher Columbus discovered All Spice Berries in Jamaica, while 108 is the average number of days it takes to sow, grow and hand-pick Seedlip’s peas.)
Seedlip is recommending Grove 42 be served long with tonic or soda, and having tried both the tonic certainly brings out the citrus flavours best with an initial bold hit of orange, ginger on the mid-palate and a lingering lemongrass fading gently at the end. Grove 42 is the first flavour Seedlip is recommending with soda, and while it is tasty and certainly the healthier option, it doesn't highlight the more subtle lemon and ginger as well as tonic does.
As with everything Seedlip does (its in 100 Michelin-star restaurants to date), only the best names in the business are associated with the launch. This time it’s the American Bar at the Savoy, which has first dibs on the liquid, serving a celebratory no-alcohol cocktail using Grove 42 from today (June 23) for the next two weeks.
Method: Premix, chill and carbonate.
35ml Grove 42
15ml granulated caster sugar
2 dashes smoked salt saline solution
3 drops non-alcoholic grapefruit bitters
20ml slimline Fevertree tonic water
The drink, invented by bartender Dominic Whisson, is a twist on the Moonwalk, a Savoy classic with Grand Marnier, grapefruit bitters and orange flower water, topped with champagne. Ex-head bartender Joe Gilmore sent it to NASA following the moon landing, so perhaps it was the first drink Neil Armstrong had upon his return. The Savoy certainly hope so.
To replicate those flavours without booze, Whisson uses Grove 42, a smoked salt saline solution, sugar, verjus, non-alcoholic grapefruit bitters and slimline Fevertree tonic water.
To quote founder Ben Branson in this very publication just six months ago, Seedlip feels like its 'just getting started, just literally scratching the surface'. No doubt Grove 42 is not the end of the story, just another chapter in the brands already incredible story.