As Dry January gets underway, the non-alcoholic spirit category continues to expand – most recently, with the launch of no-abv bittersweet aperitif Everleaf.
Bartender Paul Mathew, owner of Bermondsey bar The Hide and founder of Everleaf, drew from his work in the drinks industry and his background in conservation biology to develop the product.
‘The bartender in me wanted to make something new and interesting that tastes great on its own, in a Spritz or as a cocktail ingredient – something that guests can enjoy and have fun drinking. The conservationist in me wanted to use ingredients that really connect to the people and places they come from; things that give back in some way. I say that we’re sourcing positively – in a way that helps people, forests and plants,’ he told Imbibe.
‘My father has spent his whole career as a botanist, so I talked to him a lot [in the development process], dug up things from his garden, dehydrated, extracted, experimented. I used some old aperitif recipes as a framework, then added layers of flavours and aromas to build what is quite a unique flavour.’
Mathew’s final recipe for the sunshine-yellow aperitif contains a variety of botanicals. Saffron gives the drink its cheery colour, iris lends earthy and floral notes, angelica adds a bittersweet quality and cassia gives spice and warmth. Vanilla, vetiver, orange blossom and gentian also contribute to the liquid’s complexity – but Mathew reckons that two key ingredients sets his product apart.
‘I looked at plants that could give texture to the drink – something I feel is lacking in a lot of non-alcoholic things. I’ve used voodoo lily [konjac] from Asia and acacia gum from Africa to do that. The texture helps carry the flavours over, giving more richness and length.’
Everleaf touts a simple Spritz as its signature serve, garnished with an orange twist, but it can also be sipped on its own over ice or served in a Negroni-style drink stirred with another non-alcoholic spirit alternative.
‘I love aperitifs and the aperitif moment,’ Mathew said. ‘It’s fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is full of great flavours, history and heritage. I wanted to make something that fitted in to that category – complex but vibrant.’
The release of Everleaf follows a string of new products in the realm of no-abv spirits. Last month, Seedlip announced its forthcoming sister brand, a range of non-alcoholic aperitifs dubbed Æcorn, and Beyond Alcohol launched Three Spirit, a non-alcoholic spirit that aims to recreate the positive effects of alcohol with plants and herbs.
£18/50cl, Everleaf Drinks, everleafdrinks.com