Three Spirit is a drinks innovation company driven by plants and pleasure, with a vision to revolutionise a third way of socialising. The brand was founded in London in 2018 by a blend of plant scientists, world-class bartenders, hedonists, herbalists and artists, who are on a mission to create drinks that feel, taste and do everything a little differently.
The Collection includes three non-alcoholic elixirs, each with its own flavour and function:
- Livener: the perfect party pick-me-up! Providing natural energy so you’ll feel primed and ready to go.
- Social Elixir: the mood booster; calm, connected and ready to mingle, it raises spirits and enhances connection.
- Nightcap: the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day, this dreamy slow-sipper was designed to soothe the mind and body.
We reached out to the founders of Three Spirit Drinks to learn more about their delicious non-alcoholic aperitifs made with functional ingredients. Read on and discover why alcohol-free doesn’t mean pleasure-free.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the Three Spirit Drinks. What was your biggest motivation?
There have always been two options for social occasions, ‘drinking’ and ‘not drinking.’ We wanted to create a third way of drinking for people who still enjoy the social aspects and rituals that come with alcohol. Rather than focus on what’s missing from our drinks, we focus on what goes into them. We are all about pleasure, and we want to power those social occasions with plants. We have seen a huge boom in the functional wellness industry with smoothies, supplements and energy drinks. Alcohol and socialising is a space that deserves this kind of innovation too.
Which one from your trio appeared first in the collection: Social Elixir, Livener, or Nightcap?
We started with Social Elixir, it’s got quite a bold taste and people tend to either love it and buy six bottles at a time or it’s really not for them. But the vision was always to create a trio of drinks that would take you through the night. Social Elixir was intended to help people feel chilled out and in the mood to socialise. Livener came second, to act as the perfect pre-drink party starter! Then we launched Nightcap to wind people just before bed -that was particularly popular during the lockdown.
How do you capture all the magical properties of the plants? What methods and techniques do you use?
Way too many to list. Our process, Botanical Alchemy, is complex, delicate and takes time – maceration, fermentation, distillation, reverse osmosis, freeze-drying, ultrasonic extraction – you name it, we’re using it. We use modern techniques using traditional ingredients for the optimum results. For example, by pumping a tank with liquid carbon dioxide you can extract all kinds of oils without heating it – which is more sustainable as you are using the same carbon dioxide over and over again. Some processes are a lot more traditional, leaving something in water for a month and a half like brewing a long tea.
What ingredients are most difficult and what are the easiest to work with?
Each ingredient has its difficulties, alcohol is a phenomenal carrier of flavour and active ingredients, and so we have to find solutions that allow us to actually get these to stay in our drinks…
Black pepper and sichuan pepper oleoresins are the most difficult, as they are sticky, pretty much insoluble, and have the propensity of ruining any piece of equipment that they touch… but they are also incredible in terms of aroma, flavour, sensation and mouthfeel. Simply using a pepper distillate or steeping these in water just wouldn’t do. They are almost impossible to tame however in a water soluble solution? It’s tricky, and it needs skill and creativity to overcome. That said, with a little bit of know-how, and a lot of patience, it’s possible – and these can contribute to sensations of heat, cooling, and tingliness, as well as a pleasant numbing sensation.
Easiest? Something like our valerian extract that is extracted for several weeks with a mixture of water, glycerine and ethanol… this brings out maximum potency of the water soluble, glycerine soluble and alcohol soluble ingredients as well as dialling in the perfect flavour profile – pretty simply but effectively.
How do you recommend drinking your elixirs?
However you like to drink your spirits! We recommend a shot served with ice and your favourite mixer. We find that tonic water compliments Livener’s fruity and fiery taste, ginger ale sweetens Social Elixir’s more savoury, bitter taste and Nightcap is perfect simply on the rocks and sipped like a whisky. But we love customers coming up with their own recipe ideas and we have plenty of recipes on our website for non-alcoholic cocktails.
Three Spirit is currently conducting clinical research to test the functional benefits of the ingredients you use. Tell us a little bit about the research work behind the brand.
Three Spirit is currently undertaking a study in partnership with UCL’s School of Pharmacy to look into the effects of a key active compound found in hops called Myrcene. Myrcene is a terpene (that alongside compounds formed through its physical breakdown and metabolism) is not only responsible for a distinct flavour but also key to inducing calm, relaxation and sleep. Three Spirit aims to perform new practical research to further understand optimum varietals and extraction methods to enhance the product’s effectiveness. This will not only enable product improvements over time but will also help the wider industry learn more on the functional properties of the hop plant.
If you could send a bottle of Three Spirit to anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Ernest Hemingway - We think the bitter complexity and rich molasses notes in Social Elixir make such a good alcohol-free alternative to a daiquiri that we reckon that even ‘Papa’ wouldn’t turn them down. Maybe he’d even feel a little more willing to mingle!
Otherwise, maybe Emma Lovewell, a Peloton instructor, that we follow, she's got an amazing energy, all about live, learn and love well and is super into gardening and cooking.🥂Choose your mood and moment with Three Spirit botanical elixirs.