There is a lot of talk about the resurgence of adult soft drinks these days, but the reality is that most are still very sweet and fruit based. For someone whose tastes have been formed drinking wine and other fermented drinks where the sugar has turned to alcohol – even if they now avoid alcohol – these drinks can seem very sweet and lacking in the complexity they are used to.
Wine Merchant Hilary Marsh, the creator of Botonique, ‘The Botanical Soft Drink For Wine Lovers’ has taken a different approach. She has focussed on capturing the dry refreshment, complexity, mouth feel and length of finish that wine lovers are used to, but has achieved this using not grapes but a host of botanical extracts, sweetened with just a touch of pear juice. No artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours, preservatives etc.
The resulting sweetness level (2.1g sugars/100ml) and looks are that of a dry Prosecco. Though the taste is unique, fellow wine merchant Liz Bateman calls it ‘a soft drink with all the pleasure of wine.’ Hilary Marsh describes the flavour as ‘reminiscent of dry white wine with notes of gin and vermouth.’
However Hilary herself has no intention of stopping drinking wine. “My personal motive in creating and drinking Botonique is to ensure that I can continue drinking wine safely into a ripe old age! I’ve seen too many people forced to give up because the alcohol has done them such an injury. I want to look after myself.”
Which is why she has added to Botonique a good dose of Prelixir® Nutrients – a special blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that alcohol depletes. So every time she or fellow wine lovers replace a glass of wine with a glass of Botonique, they are doing themselves a doubly good turn. The ingredients are variously anti-oxiodant, anti-inflammatory, alkalising, detoxifying and hydrating. Hence the nickname ‘The Champagne of Health Drinks.’
“I use Botonique to top up my nutrients and to help me take two nights a week off wine, the minimum that we all should. But for me it’s real superpower is that I can happily switch to Botonique after drinking a couple of glasses of wine, something I have never found possible with other soft drinks. With a bit of alcohol inside you, you’d swear there was alcohol in the glass. I find it totally satisfying.” Hilary continues “I also use Botonique as a wine spritzer, mixed with an ordinary inexpensive wine to create something much more interesting with a half or a third the alcohol.”
“When I have the right garnishes, I especially enjoy our ‘Sterling Serve’ – on the rocks with cucumber, mint and lime. Really refreshing. And I’ll sometimes add a splash of spirit to that – gin, Jamesons, tequila, Bourbon, Pimms are all good and bring out a new dimension. I love my wine but I’m also a mixologist at heart.”
Here at Food & Drink Matters, we are big fans of Botonique. It has even helped us through a pregnancy. So we weren’t surprised that yet again it was one of the busiest stands at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair.