Until recently, having an alcohol-free night at the local bar left you with only a few bland options – water, a sweetened soft drink or a non-alcoholic cocktail. But that was before someone had the brilliant idea to create Seedlip, the world’s first alcohol-free spirit.
Ben Branson, the mastermind behind Seedlip, claims he came up with the formula for his unique spirit while reading John French’s 1651 book, “The Art of Distillation.” In it he found a large number of remedies for various ailments, and while some included alcohol, a lot of them didn’t. “It’s easy to forget that alcohol had its origins in medicine. That quickly moved to drinking for pleasure, and it seems we forgot about the non-alcoholic side,” Seedlip Ben (the name he usually goes by) says. “I’m not a distiller and I’m not scientific, but I thought that was interesting. So I bought a little still and starting playing around in my kitchen.”
Using various herbs he was growing in his backyard, a copper still, water and steam, Ben started experimenting, and eventually realized he could make a liquid that smelled and tasted like whatever plant he put in the still. He calls it his “eureka” moment because it got him wondering if he could make a drink like this and, if anyone else had done it before. It turns out they hadn’t, at least not commercially, so he ended up marketing his final formula for Seedlip as the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit.