New ‘spirit’ offers flavours of gin but at 0% ABV

Surendran & Bownes Labdanum

A new “spirit alternative” with flavours of gin but without the alcohol has been created by distiller Surendran & Bownes for Borough Wines & Beers.

Surendran & Bownes Edition Zero: Labdanum mimics the aromatic profile and complexity of gin in the London Dry style but with 0% alcohol content. It is also organic and vegan-friendly.

With a juniper-forward nose, the new release brings richness through the use of tonka beans while the bitter Alpine herb, gentian, and wormwood – both traditionally used in vermouth – lend a subtle herbaceous character.

Rose water, cranberry and orris root add fruity, floral notes, balanced by the woody scents of spices coriander seed, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. It has a deep, powerful note from the inclusion of labdanum – a rich brown resin sourced from the rockrose shrub.

Available in 50cl bottles exclusively through Borough Wines & Beers from mid-January 2018, it is part of the supplier’s Distillers Development Programme which was launched in autumn this year.

The initiative nurtures new talent and supports the growth of small spirits businesses by providing space, guidance and equipment, as well as a route to market through the company’s shops and distribution arm.

Surendran & Bownes previously developed a 0% ABV gin for St James’s Hotel in 2015 although the new Edition Zero: Labdanum is its first to be commercially available.

Edition Zero: Labdanum is recommended for serving in a gin and tonic-style drink, mixed three parts tonic to one part of the new spirit alternative, garnished with star anise.

Surendran & Bownes is headed by Cameron Bownes, a trained chef who was most recently acting as assistant manager of Galvin La Chapelle in London, and Guyan Surendran who has over nine years’ experience working in bars and restaurants but is also a pharmaceutical scientist. They met while working at Stovell’s restaurant in Chobham in Surrey, where they saw the restaurant receive four AA rosettes.

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