Friday, 10 May 2019 10:48

Alcohol Free Spirits — Bob's Blog

Written by  Bob Campbell MW
Ecology + Co’s founders are Diana and Will Miller (pictured). Ecology + Co’s founders are Diana and Will Miller (pictured).

When I discovered that there was a distillery a few minutes’ walk from my house I reacted with enthusiasm. 

My enthusiasm dampened slightly after learning that Ecology + Co specialise in making alcohol-free spirits but when I tasted a very large, “alcohol-free” gin and tonic it was love at first sip. It tasted exactly like a very good gin and tonic but had zero alcohol, calories and sugar. 

It was so good I couldn’t drink it. It was 11:00 am and I am socially conditioned not to consume a stiff gin and tonic until at least 5:00pm. 

It was weird. I knew that my drink was alcohol-free but my brain was saying “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … it must be a duck.” I guarantee that when the clock ticks past 5:00pm and I pour myself a sizeable glass of Ecology + Co’s “London Dry” with tonic I’ll feel slightly squiffy after drinking it. It’s called “the voodoo effect”. 

Ecology + Co’s founders are Diana and Will Miller. 

Diana describes herself as a “party girl” who loves a good gin and tonic. She had to give up alcohol after developing a bad reaction to it, still liked to enjoy a drink at bars but didn’t like any of the non-alcohol alternatives. “Why can’t someone produce an alcohol-free G&T” she moaned to Will. So, he did.

Ecology + Co makes two alcohol-free spirits: London Dry, my favourite, and Asian Spice, which is apparently appreciated by sophisticated cocktail drinkers. I like it, but not as much as the London Dry.

The distilling process is straight forward. The London Dry, for example, is a blend of Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cassia, Lemon, Lemon Myrtle, Cumin and Basil. Diana and Will mix up a strong brew of each and distil them separately to recover a concentrated liquid essence. The challenging bit, I would imagine, is blending the components together to produce a delicious and consistent product. 

Who buys it? Anyone who can’t, or doesn’t want to drink alcohol but still wants a deliciously dry, calorie- and sugar-free cocktail. Add my name to the list (I fall into the “occasional non-alcohol drinker” category). 

A 700ml bottle of London Dry or Asian Spice costs $67, enough for 28 servings. Simply pour 25ml over ice and top up with tonic or soda. Diana and Will recommend Fever Tree tonic water with their London Dry and East Imperial Grapefruit or Yuza tonic water with Asian Spice. I like to serve London Dry with a twist of orange peel.

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