Review of Botonique - An Alcohol-Free Alternative to Wine
I try the new, complex-tasting alcohol-free alternative to wine that's actually good for your body - Botonique.
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As you know, I keep my alcohol consumption to a minimum. Like, I'll have the odd glass of something cold and fizzy on a birthday, at a wedding (I love weddings) or with my Christmas dinner, but I just feel better without alcohol generally being in my life.
So I was keen to find out more about Botonique.
It was created by Hilary, a wine merchant, who decided to drastically cut down on alcohol for health reasons. She realised that the current alcohol free options lacked complexity, they were all sweet juices and nothing much else. Any non-drinker who has ever had to order food at a pub will know how sweet and claggy alcohol-free drinks are. Hilary wanted something a bit more complicated and flavourful to drink. So she made it herself.
Drawing on her experience making hedgerow wines, Hilary mixed up some herbs, spices, citrus and other botanicals and came up with Botonique.
I was sent some to try out, and I was first of all pleased to see from the bottle that it contains no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavours, preservatives, colours or sulphites. So that was a good start.
And it wasn't enough to create a drink that was just alcohol free - Hilary wanted to create one that was good for your body too - so she's added things like milk thistle seed and ginseng - all fruited up with the addition of a little pear juice - along with a dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
The bottle has a matte cover on it, and the text is written in gold on a dark green background. It looks luxurious and grown up.
But what does it taste like?
Before I'd unscrewed the bottle top, I honestly thought that this would taste like fizzy pear juice. But it is WAY more complex than that.
It's served chilled, in a champagne glass (these were the only glasses I had handy, but you get the idea). It's fizzy (just look at those bubbles!) and a pale, champagne colour. But that's where the similarities end.
It's sharp, and a bit herby. It's not very sweet at all, but they do recommend that as well as drinking it straight, you could add some strawberries or other fruits if you like a sweeter taste. I sweetened mine up with a strawberry and a slice of kiwi at the bottom of the glass.
Botonique has the kind of flavour that cleans your palate as you drink - it really does taste 'clean'. We drank ours with dinner though and it seemed to overpower the flavour of the food. I'd rather drink it after dinner I think, as a palate cleanser. If the aim was to create a drink that was high in complexity then Hilary has achieved her goal. You somehow can't stop drinking it too, because you're enjoying all the different spicy and herby flavours that swirl around your tongue. Very interesting.
It's even better knowing, as you drink, that you're not taking in any alcohol and you're actually replenishing nutrients. If you've never tried it before, Botonique may have an unlikely - but not at all unpleasant - taste, but it is great to have an alcohol free alternative that isn't packed full of sugars and sweeteners and is actually good for you. I can see the gastro pubs stocking up on this to offer to their non-alcohol drinking diners.
If you'd like to try Botonique for yourself, you can find out more over at the Botonique website, or you can buy it on Amazon if you prefer.
Let me know what you think - have you tried Botonique? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!