Aren’t those people annoying? You know the ones. They’re pouring wine. You say no. But, they go on and on about it. “Go on, have a drink, you’ll feel better”, ‘Just one won’t hurt”…
Well, perhaps you just prefer to drink something different. Perhaps you prefer a drink that can get you ‘there’ in almost the same way as alcohol, but for a fraction of the hangover?! And it’s made entirely from plants, so naturally there’s tonnes I want to chat about…
Three Spirit is a meeting of plant scientists and bartenders, two professions seldom used in the same sentence! This melange of skills gave birth to the Three Spirit concept; functional drinks, plant-based, vegan and in sustainable packaging. Just 40 calories per serving, AND you won’t feel guilty for pouring one before 12 noon either!
Over the next 3 months, I’ll be exploring the ingredients list of each of the drinks, starting with…
LIVENER – AKA The Party Starter!
This is my favourite from the collection. The flavour is tantalisingly complex and spicy; I would almost describe it as ‘silky’. It boasts an expansive list of 10 ingredients, including vivid-flavoured berries, uplifting aromatics, and a depth and warmth that’s so special. You have to try it!
Here are 5 of the most eye-catching ingredients in the Livener!
1. Guayasa – this South American relative of the Holly offers caffeine without the jittery after-effects. Cos we all know what it’s like when you have one espresso too many..! Often monikered as a ‘clean caffeine’, the flavour of Guayasa is grassy and a bit nutty. The earliest evidence was found in the Bolivian Andes, dating this uplifting drink as 1,5000 years old! Plants grow in the rainforest, thriving in shady pockets and the rich, fertile ground. The leaves are picked when mature, twice a year, so slightly different to tea. And, how do you say it? Repeat after me… “gwhy-you-sah”.
2. Chilli – oh yes, that’s what gives the deep throaty kick and warmth to our Livener… but without it, the Livener just wouldn’t be the same! Chillies are technically berries of the plant, and have been part of human diets since 7500BC, and is the oldest cultivated crop in The Americas. As I’m sure you know, chillies can easily be grown in Northern Europe, and indeed on a windowsill indoors.
3. Schisandra Berry – align your physical performance with this invigorating berry! Used by Russian WWII pilots for endurance, this intriguing berry pops up in many guises across Asia and Russia. Often called the “5 flavour berry”, as the red flesh carries 5 distinct flavours: sweet, salty, bitter, spice and sour. The leaves are often cooked as a vegetable in Russia and have a lemony flavour, in Korea, the berry is made into a cordial named Omija-cha! Native to the northern forests of China, where it climbs for it’s life as it chases the light! Good news, you can grow Schisandra in Northern Europe, it’s known to be hardy down to -30C and copes with wet conditions too!
4. Watermelon – after all that heat, we need a slight cool down, and that comes in the form of watermelon! Hydrating, cooling and damn right tasty, watermelon can also help your body to access energy, and improve circulation. More specifically, it’s said to be rich in a particular amino acid which relaxes and dilates blood vessels. Much like Viagra! And, yes, you can grow watermelon in Northern Europe, just keep them warm and surrounded them with black sheeting, to keep the soil warm too!
5. Siberian Ginseng – when I was a kid, I remember finding a tub of ginseng tablets in my Dad’s bathroom cabinet, and didn’t quite know why. However, I now know all about its libido properties! It can also help mental fatigue, and strengthens your immune system. It adds a functional layer to the Livener. Siberian Ginseng originates in Northeastern Asia, and the parsnip-like root has long been used in folklore and Chinese medicine.
Grow your own Livener ingredient!
Did you know that you can grow your own Green Tea in the UK? A few companies even harvest their own brews. Camellia sinsensis is well suited to life in the UK, as it would usually grow above the cloud line in the Himalayas, plants can cope with temperatures down to -10C (14F).
If you live in a super chilly area, then it may be worth growing tea plants in a cold greenhouse or against a south west facing wall. Never let the plants dry out, plant into acidic soil, and give an ericaceous or citrus feed.
To harvest, wait until the plants bush out well, and don’t harvest too hard at first! Pluck two leaves and a bud from fresh growth on your plants. This is called a ‘flush’.
To brew your first pot of tea, steam the harvested leaves for 1-2 minutes. Quickly rinse the leaves under cold water to halt oxidation. Then roll the leaves, and dry in an oven at 110C for 10 minutes. They should then be dark green and crispy! Use 5-6 leaves per pot, and cover with boiled water, leave to steep for 7 minutes-ish!
Make your own Livener ingredient!
The floral, exotic aromas in the Livener are given by a rather simple ingredient; rosewater. Typically made from Rosa damascena, but any well-fragranced rose will do. The simplest recipe method of all is the simmering method, and it’ll take you 30 minutes tops!
Organic Fragrant Rose Flowerheads – ideally pink
1.5 litres distilled water
- Remove petals from stems and run them under luke-warm water to remove any leftover residue and/or bugs and critters.
- Add the petals to a large saucepan and top with enough distilled water to just cover the petals.
- Bring the water to a gentle simmer and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until petals have lost colour and are pale. Leave too cool with the lid on.
- Strain the mixture to separate the petals from the water.
- Discard petals and place water in a dark glass jar to store in a refrigerator, and use within a few weeks.
Join me next month as I taste and explore the Social Elixir from the Three Spirit range! In the meanwhile, why not go explore the Three Spirit range, you may even be tempted by the Taster Pack. I seriously cannot recommend these drinks enough. When I first got my set, I drank them all within a week!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.