Seedlip “Spice 94”, England, UK (Alcohol 0%) Online store and various retail locations $45 (700ml bottle)

What with my wife being in recovery, I’m always curious to taste a wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages in an attempt to discover something interesting that she can sip as we are relaxing together. Seeing as I get such pleasure from all my wines and beers, I feel it’s only right that she has her treats, albeit them non-alcoholic. Which brings me to Spice 94, one of the Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits range, and I have to say that this stuff really blew me away.

A heady distillate of all spice, green cardamom, oak, cascarilla bark, grapefruit, and lemon, the Spice 94 brought back warm and fuzzy nostalgic memories of Ross’s Spiced Oddfellows sweets (read: candies) and more recent remembrances of cosy nights in front of a crackling winter wood fireplace. I’ve had many an evocative experience with wines, but for something non-alcoholic this was truly a first.

Without being fully aware of the ingredient list, I discovered aromatics and flavours of Dandelion & Burdock, baking spices, cloves, root beer, pine, Angostura bitters, woodsmoke, and something decidedly medicinal that was curiously arousing. Despite all the layers of flavours, Spice 94 is light on the palate and exhibits an unusually long finish.

Mixed with Fever Tree tonic it gave me a sense of inner warmth and comfort, but that obviously wasn’t from the alcohol. At one point I did find myself thinking about mixing it with Gin, but then released that probably wasn’t Spice 94’s intended purpose… although I may still try it one day.

This is wonderfully complex stuff, and makes for a unique gustatory experience that I would wholeheartedly recommend.

(Five apples out of a possible five)

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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’s really into those flavours.