Botanical drinks are all the rage right now. Perhaps you have tried one and couldn't get enough, or you have seen them around and are curious to try one. Botanicals have been used in drinks for centuries, but recently, many brands have hopped on board to satisfy those seeking a more mindful drinking experience.
These beverages are a great way to connect us to the natural world and while drinking a botanical-infused beverage may not cure all ailments, it can help settle an upset stomach and offer you a refreshing and satiating drink to end the day.
In this guide, we break down what botanicals are, how they are used in drinks and ways you can infuse your spirits and beverages for taste and medicinal benefits. Or if you want to learn how to make your very own botanical cocktail at home read our guide here.
What are botanicals?
Botanicals are dried or fresh plants, plant parts, essential oils, oleoresins, and other extracts that can be used for fragrance, flavouring, functional health benefits, and medicine. However, you may be asking, what is the difference between botanicals and spices and herbs?
To put it simply, a botanical is a substance acquired from a plant that can be used in healing, cosmetics, distilling and tea. On the other hand, a herb can be described as any plant with leaves, flowers, or stems. Think mint, basil and more.
A spice can come from the root, stem, seed, fruit, flower or bark of the tree or plant. Common examples are cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, star anise, and turmeric. Herbs and spices are a subset of botanicals used for flavouring, food, medicine or perfume.
Scientifically speaking, herbs and spices fall into the botanical study, more commonly known as botany. Therefore, herbs and spices can be seen as botanical.
Here are the best botanical drinks, botanical ingredients and accessories for you to enjoy while soaking up the surroundings of your garden.
Alcoholic botanical drinks
Tanqueray London Dry Gin 1 Litre
No list on botanical drinks is complete without this absolute classic. Tanqueray's London Dry Gin is crisp with just four botanicals and has a balance of refreshing juniper, coriander, angelica and sweet liquorice.
Bloom London Dry Gin & Gift Box With Floral Citrus Botanicals, 70cl
The perfect combination of floral botanicals infused with fresh pomelo, sweet honeysuckle and soothing chamomile is used here for a delicately balanced taste.
Ketel One Botanicals Grapefruit & Rose Vodka Based Spirit Drink
This flavoured vodka approaches the distillation process in the same way as gin making and has a dominant grapefruit flavour with undertones of rose. Perfect with a mixer on a warm summer's day.
Kintyre Botanical Gin, 70 cl
This unique botanical blend uses ten commonly used botanicals, with the addition of Icelandic moss and sheep sorrel. It has an earthy and deep flavour profile with floral notes.
Rekorderlig Botanicals Rhubarb Lemon and Mint Cider, 12 x 330ml
If cider is more of your thing, then this Rhubarb, Lemon and Mint Cider offers a distinctly sweet flavour with citrus and fresh mint twist, delivering a cleansing taste. There is also the Peach and Basil Cider flavour too.
Devil's Botany London Absinthe
Floral and herbaceous - this absinthe from Devil's Botany distillery in London has a striking blend of botanicals that will create a flavour explosion.
Berry Bros & Rudd No.3 London Dry Gin
This gin has been distilled in copper pot stills at De Kuyper in the Netherlands and uses botanicals such as cardamom seeds, cardamon, coriander and grapefruit peel.
Pimentae Tommy's Chilli Margarita
If you are looking for a pre-made margarita, this tequila from Pimentae provides a slight chilli kick and all the flavour. However, if it is something sweet and refreshing you are after, they also make a cucumber and elderflower tequila which is just divine. Not to mention the design on the bottle is gorgeous and will look lovely on any liquor cabinet or trolley.
Silent Pool 5cl Gin & Tonic Pack
This gin uses more than 24 botanicals, including Bosnian and Macedonian juniper berries, bergamot, rose petals, kaffir lime leaves, liquorice root, and linden, elderflower, orris, orange and lime peel, dried pears. If you are looking for something with a crisp undertone, then this is perfect.
Non-alcoholic and low-alcohol botanical drinks
Clean G Rhubarb
Bursting with fruity rhubarb, juniper, and citrus with a subtle hint of coriander, mint and cinnamon, this non-acholic gin is perfect for warm sunny days.
CROSSIP Dandy Smoke Non-Alcoholic Spirit
This Dandy Smoke non-alcoholic spirit is aromatic and warming with flavours such as clove, ginger and cayenne and is lovely and smoky.
Haymans Small Gin
Haymanu2019s Small Gin is an excellent choice for any G&T drinker looking for a low-alcohol and low-calorie option. It is filled with citrus notes and botanicals and is perfect for those looking to cut back on their alcohol intake.
Feragaia The Authentic Alcohol-Free Spirit 50cl
Distilled in Fife, Scotland, this authentic alcohol-free botanical spirit has a huge depth of flavour, with leading notes of lemon verbena, blackcurrant leaf, Scottish seaweed and botanicals like pink peppercorn.
ADNAMS Smidgin Low Alcohol London Dry Gin
This full-bodied G&T is very low-alcohol at 0.6 per cent ABV and has a high concentration of botanicals. Featuring notes of fresh juniper to warming cardamom and floral hibiscus.
Tanqueray Alcohol Free 0.0%, 70CL
Blended with the four same signature botanicals as their alcoholic London Dry Gin, Tanqueray's 0% is a convincing non-alcoholic gin with citrus notes and juniper led profile.
Tuscan Tree Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo Spirit
Inspired by the flavours of Italy, this non-acholic spirit from Tuscan Tree is a distillation of botanicals infused with natural flavours of Italian Elderflower blossom, a hint of Sicilian lemon zest, and Italian sparkling wine.
Botanical mixers and soft drinks
Folkington's Tonic Water, Artisan Botanical Mixer, 24 Glass Bottles
This quintessentially British tonic is made with cucumber, rosemary and mint and would be perfect with a G&T or perhaps on its own.
Belvoir Farm Botanical Soda Floral Fizz 500ml
This blend of elderflower, delicate hibiscus and geranium make a beautiful botanical fizz for your G&Ts, vodka cocktails or enjoy on its own. It is also free from all artificial ingredients, sweeteners and preservatives and only 20 calories per 100ml. They also have limited edition bottles for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Cawston Press Fizzy Drink Elderflower Cans with Pressed Juice 330 ml (Pack of 24)
Cawston has a range of fizzy botanical drinks that are refreshing and flavourful, from elderflower to ginger beer; there are five options to choose from to quench your thirst.
Emunity Strawberry and Chamomile Botanical Health Drink powered by Nettle
This botanical drink is an infusion of ingredients filled with antioxidants and nutritional benefits. Made with nettle, chamomile, wild strawberry, meadowsweet and cucumber, this drink will hydrate and satiate you.
Firefly Botanical Vegan Mixed Case Fruit Drink 330ml (12 Pack)
These refreshing botanical drinks are perfect over ice or with your favourite spirit. It comes in lemon, lime and ginger, pomegranate and elderflower or kiwi, lime and mint flavour.
Botanical drink accessories
Gin Botanicals and Infusions Gift Kit
This set of the 12 finest botanicals and spices will transform any gin into flavoured G&T drinks to match your favourite flavours - sweet, citrus, spicy, or floral. This range of spices ad herbs makes for a fun activity that will give you incite into the world of botanicals.
The Herball's Guide to Botanical Drinks
This handy guide is perfect for plant lovers, foragers, brewers, fermenters or those interested in the healing power of herbs and spices. Learn how to make a selection of fantastic non-alcoholic drinks, among many other things.
Botanicals: 100 Postcards from the Archives of the New York Botanical Garden
Can't get enough of botanicals? This card set contains 100 rare portraits of exotic flowers, cacti and succulents from the world-renowned collection of the New York Botanical Garden. Either frame them, place them on your fridge or send them to a fellow green thumb.
Botanical drinks FAQs
What are botanical drinks?
Spirits such as gin, absinthe, flavoured vodka and ouzo are all botanical drinks. However, there is a new surge of drinks that have declared themselves botanical and are made in much the same way as gin.
Botanical extracts offer a unique flavour because they come directly from plants, usually from the leaves, flowers or fruits. Some botanical extracts are made through frozen ingredients, while others use dried ones.
Are botanical drinks alcoholic?
Although many spirits use botanicals to craft the unique flavour they can equally be used in non-alcoholic beverages too. That being said the botanical benefits work best when there is no alcohol or added sugar getting in the way,
Are botanicals good for you?
Botanicals not only offer a unique taste but also come with many health benefits too. For example, research suggests the echinacea plant may strengthen the immune system, and that green tea extract may help maintain cardiovascular health.
Ingredients like nettle have been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anaemia. There are so many healing properties in plants that we can work with through medicine, food and drink.
How to use botanicals in my drink?
In terms of alcohol, gin is typically made of a botanical blend of juniper, citrus and some other classic ingredients. However, you can opt for other botanical ingredients such as bergamot, flower blossom cherry blossom, yuzu fruit and various types of teas too.
The ](https://foodanddrink.scotsman.com/drink/beginners-guide-making-gin-home/) **[Scotsman****** offers a beginner's guide on how to make botanically infused beverages at home:
To infuse botanicals into your drinks, use a sterilised jar, then add your botanicals in minus any fresh peel. Top up with your beverage (such as gin) and infuse it in a cold dark place for 48 hours, giving it an occasional shake; however, don't leave it in for too long and over-infuse it – think of it a bit like brewing tea.
Then filter out all the botanicals using a sieve. If there’s still some sediment left, use some muslin or a coffee filter to strain again.
Leave the liquid to sit for a couple of days and then filter out any remaining sediment – and put it through a water filter jug if you want to make it even clearer (but don’t worry too much about the colour).
Finally, bottle the beverage and feel free to create your own label if you want.
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