These sustainable spirits are made from natural and often organic ingredients. Most spirits are vegan-friendly but a few may filter through bone char or fish bladder, so take care (you can look up your favourite tipple at Barnivore, if unsure). These are all made by artisans, so quality is top-notch.
Good brands include Fentimans, Square Root and Twelve Below (natural low in sugar, with agave). Or mix Jeffrey’s Handcrafted Cordials (Cheshire) with carbonated water to make your own tonic water. Avoid quinine for pregnancy/breastfeeding and grapefruit slices for certain medications.
- The Old Curiosity Distillery creates gorgeous colour-changing gins, made with herbs from a Scottish garden. were created by a former wine merchant who gained a herbology diploma, and decided to create a herb garden in Scotland with 600 naturally grown varieties to create these gins and other items. He discovered a natural reaction created by nature, that changes the drink’s colour, which became the beginning of his Secret Garden Gin. The range includes:Rose, Elderflower Jasmine, Lavender Echinacea, Geranium Mallow, Lemon Verbena and Wild Gin (20% of profits to RSPB to preserve Scotland’s Flow Country).
- Chameleon Pine & Orange Gin (Cornwall) is handcrafted using sustainable locally foraged botanicals (it’s also vegan-friendly) in small batches, the perfect gift to share with friends. This unique gin has infusion pockets, so you can infuse your gin to be more orange, if wished. Distilled in a traditional copper still (using the London Dry technique), the gin is made with juniper, Cornish pine, coriander, orange and lime peel, angelica and liquorice root, orris root, cardamom, cassia, frankincense, ‘grains of paradise’ and pine nuts. The powdered dried orange changes the gin colour, making this gin even more unique (the orange is packed in a factory with nuts).
- One Gin is made with fresh English sage and crisp russet apple, and notes of orange marmalade. Serve with apple slices and a sage leaf. Each bottle generates a donation to tackle the global water crisis. Also as a ruby gin with vanilla & toasted oak.
Pirate’s Grog Rum is a nice boutique rum from Honduras. Originating from the island of Roatán, this is aged for 5 years in ex-bourbon, white American oak barrels, resulting in notes of raisin, butterscotch and vanilla. Also sold as Spiced or Coffee Rums. You can also buy Fair Trade Caribbean Rum that is aged in American bourbon barrels.
Did you know that some vets use vodka as an emergency way to soak up antifreeze, for pet emergencies. When administered correctly, it has saved the lives of many pets who have ingested antifreeze (with follow-up care, as antifreeze ingestion can cause internal organ damage quickly).
- Sapling Spirits Vodka is sold in individual bottles, or as gift packs (some with Urban Cordial, a squash made with leftover fruits). This high quality spirit is reducing carbon, unlike most vodkas that use 2.8kg of carbon on average, before it reaches the customer. Distilled from British wheat (4 times), this is clean, crisp and naturally sweet. The same company offers a pickled tomato mix from Suffolk that is ideal to serve over ice for a Virgin Mary, or with their vodka for a Sapling Bloody Mary. Or serve with gin (Red Snapper) or topped with light lager (Michelada). Bottled by hand on the family farm, shake well before use and keep in the fridge (use within 4 days). 12 month shelf life.
- Tipsy Wight offers vodkas made with local foraged ingredients and British grain vodka (all bar Honey & Lemon and Spiced Honey) are vegan. The range includes Crabapple & Wild Plum, Hedgerow flavours, Orchard Vodkas (cherry, apricot, medlar, damson, quince) and wild vodkas (made with horseradish and beetroot).
- PURE Lite Vodka (Essex) is a pure vodka that also offers a LITE version with 20% less alcohol and calories. Made locally with organic ingredients, it has citrus and floral overtones. Pubs and restaurants can order branded bar mats and ice buckets.
- Dowr (Cornish for ‘water’) is handmade in small batches in Newquay with local spring water. Good with a splash of soda on ice, and a twist of orange peel. Or try ‘Wolf of the Woods’ Hop vodka, infused with rosemary & lime (serve with a twist of cucumber).
Low-Alcohol Sustainable Spirits
- Minus 33 makes a ‘not quite gin’ with 9 botanicals including lavender, elderflower and plenty of citrus notes (orange and lemon peel). Contains liquorice, not for heart, blood pressure or liver issues (nor pregnancy). Serve with ice, an orange wedge and splash of tonic. Also in Passionfruit Mango and Rose Peony (contains hibiscus, not for pregnancy/nursing, but neither is gin!)
- Fatty’s Organic Pink Grapefruit Spirit Drink (London) has just half the amount of alcohol as a traditional gin (which they also make) but with all the flavour. One measure is half a unit of alcohol. Features juniper with pink grapefruit.
- The Clean Liquor Co has 30 times less alcohol than conventional gin (you would need to drink 2 whole bottles to get drunk) and just 4 calories per serving. Made to high standards, serve with fresh mint leaves and ice.
No-Alcohol Sustainable Spirits
- Square Root Gin & Tonic offers a healthy G & T from East London. This is quite the charm, made with a blend of dried lime, spices & liquorice. It’s also alcohol-free and sold in zero waste glass bottles. Avoid liquorice for high blood pressure or heart/kidney/liver disease.
- Noki & Co Non-Alcoholic Gin is made in Ireland with pure spring water, juniper, lemon verbena, orange and angelica root. Garnish with lemon or lime. Once open, consume within 3 months. Also as ready-made gin and tonics.
- Borrago (Oxfordshire) is a teetotal gin that contains the herb borage, which bees love. Although it’s toxic to pets, our buzzy friends use it as food, and the company uses profits to help buy borage seeds to help save our bees. This dry spirit has sweet floral spicy notes of cardamom, with a rosemary layer and peppermint finish. Not designed to taken straight, this spicy peppery citrus taste is cool and clean, and ideal as a mixer. Avoid borage tea, if pregnant/nursing.
- Caleño (Bristol) is a fun drink inspired by the founder’s Colombian heritage. Ellie wanted to make a spirit that made ‘not drinking’ fun and still let you dance Latin funk! Made with juniper, spices and inca berry (an Amazon superfood that tastes like sweet-sour citrus), serve with an inca berry. Offers 20% discount for Student Beans!
- Pentire Drinks (Cornwall) offers a drink made with native botanicals of rock samphire, sage and Cornish sea salt. Garnish with rosemary, sage, rock samphire or lemon peel. Sea Arch (Devon) is another local botanical, also sold in ready-made cans of ‘gin and tonic’.
Catching waves until dusk. Camping on cliff tops and foraging hedgerows for unexpected bounty. Sharing and experimenting with the flavours we found on the coast. We wanted to bottle that experience. And create a drink that harnesses the power, beauty and immense flavours of plants. Alastair (founder)
Xachoh offers Eastern-inspired London spirit drinks. Although these are made in the city, they are from a different part of the world and age. Pronounced Za-Ko, this drink is named after a Persian philosopher (who discovered alcohol, but did not drink!) Made with ancient herbs and spices, the founder leaned on his family’s ancient recipes to create the brand. Choose from:
- Blend No 5 (star anise, ginger, long pepper, turmeric, chamomile, barberry & rosemary). This tastes of fresh aniseed with fruity ginger, pepper and turmeric.
- Blend No 7 (ginger, mace, cinnamon, saffron and dark crystal malt). This tastes mostly of ginger and mace (nutmeg) with subtle fruits and cinnamon.
The drink’s motif is Huma, a Persian mythical bird which is the symbol of enlightenment and upliftment. It was believed to spend its whole life in the air, sailing above the world.