Founded in 2019, the British company started with its non-alcoholic Sea Buckthorn and Verbena spirits; and recently launched RTD versions with Zingy Lemon Verbena & Tonic and Smooth Sea Buckthorn & Tonic cans. He also won his first London cocktail lists at Gông at Shangri-La, The Shard; as well as being listed in bars in New York and Dubai.
From sourcing organic and ethically grown plants to using sustainable and recycled materials during production, everything is designed by nature with the idea of an inspiring connection to the natural world.
Foraging in the wild
While Bax Botanics was founded in 2019, the story really begins decades ago, says co-founder Rose Bax.
“Wildlife, plants and everything botanical were part of my upbringing. I was brought up in beautiful Yorkshire and respect for the land is something inherent in me. Picking and gardening were very important to my family. Later I worked at an outdoor store selling walking and hiking gear because I had such a love for the outdoors. »
As a chef, co-founder Chris was quick to become passionate about local ingredients and the duo’s first partnership was Taste the Wild, a company that taught chefs about the local ingredients available to them.
“It was amazing to watch the chefs of these great Country House hotels go out and find tasty toppings and ingredients in the very places they roamed every day. We started getting requests from other food companies, even a group of chocolate makers, whom we taught to make spruce chocolates reminiscent of Christmas trees. They were delicious! We’ve also worked with local gin distillers showing them new botanicals to add a real USP to their products. We became fascinated with the processes of preservation and distillation and thus Bax Botanics was born.
Launching its non-alcoholic spirits, the company uses a unique distillation process to create its flavors, but without the alcohol – “everything you taste comes from the plants themselves with the complexity coming from the layers of flavor created by the ingredients and amounts in the recipes”.
“Over the years, we had a very clear vision of what we wanted our first spirits to taste like: once we started distilling, they came together very quickly, which was amazing. We have achieved our goal: delicious liquids, which we believe create an emotion in the drinker. We chose lemon verbena to lead the ingredients in our refreshing and vibrant expression and paired it with other grassy meadow flavors. Sea buckthorn was chosen for its softness and sweetness and these relaxing notes were complemented by rosemary and orange, to give an ahhhh at the end of the day!
While keeping its exact production method a secret, Bax Botanics distills the traditional way with copper pot stills, although alcohol is never involved.
“We always use genuine organic, ethically sourced botanicals from trusted partners using ethical farming methods. Once the botanicals arrive at our North Yorkshire distillery, it’s up to us to extract the flavors, via a method we’ve perfected.Each of our spirits has a unique recipe that brings together a number of different botanicals to create the complex, nuanced character we love.Each botanical is distilled in one of our three pot stills, Ebenezer, Hephzibah & Edith – each named after a family member with a unique connection to what you see as Bax Botanics today!
“Once the stills have done their job, the liquids are collected before filtering, blending and bottling. Filtering is super important in a non-alcoholic spirit to remove all impurities. Every bottle of Bax Botanics is truly created by us, in our distillery before setting off to travel the world. Everything is designed – our distillery, our process, even our packaging – with the idea of an inspiring connection with the natural world.”
Unctuous & Tonic Sea Buckthorn:“Seabuckthorn is sweet and fruity when distilled. It’s the perfect complement to the quinine in the tonic, and the orange, rosemary and spice lend themselves to a savory experience, enhanced with a garnish of orange zest for real luxury, ‘at the bar’. This drink is designed to be the perfect digestive – after food, with herbs and botanicals designed to create a feeling of relaxation and contentment.”
Food and wine pairings: Barbecued pineapple, savory snacks, spicy street food, charcuterie platters.
Perfect for: Copperhead fans, Monkey 47, Opihr Gin, digestive fans
Lemon Verbena & Tonic: “Lemon stimulates the senses and awakens the taste buds – it is therefore the perfect ingredient for an appetizer, a pre-food. The invigorating taste of lemon verbena is the epitome of the English garden – delicious! Subtle mint, fennel and florals are also present for a true summer meadow experience – perfectly served chilled, over ice with a slice of cucumber.”
Perfect for: Fans of the classic G&T, Hendricks or Bombay Sapphire lemons, those looking for a super luxurious non-alcoholic alternative.
Food/wine pairings: Salads, fish and seafood, smoked salmon and cucumber, sour cream and chives.
So what role do herbal medicines have to play in today’s alcohol-free and low-alcohol market? It’s not just about finding a new flavor, says Rose: it’s about creating complex flavor profiles that can propel the category forward.
“People are now looking for purity and diversity of flavors. Creative product developers push the boundaries of what’s possible with their extraction techniques. For customers, this means more diversity in the market and new products to try. People can educate themselves online before they buy, which we believe helps them learn about the authenticity and health aspects of products and engage with our brand.
“I like a variety of botanicals – I would say a lot of my love of flavor is scent driven. Floral and woody flavors are wonderful. We are always experimenting: innovation is so important to us, it “That’s what we really value, and that’s what’s driving the 0% ABV industry right now. This space is so exciting.”
One of the roles of plants is to steer the industry away from the sugary, non-alcoholic drink style of older non-alcoholic alternatives and establish a more sophisticated adult profile.
“The non-alcoholic products that are coming now need to have this complexity and layers of flavor to stand out from the crowd,” Rose said.
“With a generic soft drink, you can taste sugar, overwhelmingly. The sugar coats your mouth. An adult drink should have length and complexity and not leave the drinker with just sweetness. Our drinks are sugar free – your palate experiences true flavor and purity. We find that they are appreciated by drinkers of complex wines and spirits. Recipes are key layers of taste, no thickeners, gums or similar things, we prefer to let organic botanicals provide clean and pure flavor.
However, the industry should be about choice, continues Rose, who encourages people to use a sweet mixer if they enjoy a sweeter drink.
“Our key market is those who want an adult beverage and are obsessed with quality and flavor: our customers are avowed foodies, chefs, discerning drinkers. Drinkers are more sophisticated than ever and while there’s always a time and place for classic flavors like strawberry and chocolate, why not try strawberry with hibiscus? Or chocolate with chilli? Push the limits a bit – it’s fun!
All photos: Joanne Crawford