New botanical drink offers flavours of wine without the alcohol

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A new soft drink has been launched that provides all the flavours of wine but without the alcohol.

Botonique Crisp Dry White, which develops in the bottle like wine, has been created by Hilary Marsh, founder of wine supplier HMWines and former owner of bar and restaurant Café Baroque in Covent Garden, London.

Using layers of botanical extracts, she has devised a soft drink with hints of the herbs, spices, citrus, ginseng and milk thistle it is made from, ideal for complementing food.

She designed it to have the qualities of a wine at the Loire-Sauvignon/Albarino/dry-Riesling end of the spectrum, with crisp dry minerality, complexity, and a long finish.

Showcased at last week’s Bar & Pub Show in London, the 2017 vintage is available in 750ml bottles but the 2015 vintage has been kept to be exclusive to the on-trade. In its first 20 months, Botonique was proven to have evolved well over time from “fresh and feisty youth” to a “profound, integrated and thoroughly contemplative maturity”.

As Nigel Barden, wine connoisseur and chairman of the Great Taste Awards, put it: “The 2017 is great, but the 2015 knocks people’s socks off.”

Hilary said she took this approach to creating her new soft drink because she could get none of the qualities she wanted from de-alcoholised wines – she wanted something “with a satisfying character in its own right, not a pale imitation of something else”.

She explained: “The Italians refer to a ‘vino di meditazione’ and I wanted my ‘soft’ drink to make you stop and think too.

“For me personally, Botonique’s superpower is that it’s something I can happily switch to after a few glasses of wine. Because it contains Prelixir nutrients to replace those that alcohol depletes, when I make that switch, even if temporarily, I’m doing myself a doubly good turn.”

It was developed to provide a sophisticated soft drink to the increasing numbers of people who are drinking less alcohol, with 20% of UK adults now drinking no alcohol at all and a further 41% saying they are trying to cut back.

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