The most perfect meeting of plant scientists and bartenders, Three Spirit make some of my favourite alcohol-free drinks! The drinks are functional, plant-based, vegan and provided in sustainable packaging. Just 40 calories per serving; that’s nowhere near a Mars Bar!
Each month, I am exploring the ingredients list of each of these tasty drinks. This month, we chat through the best lubricant for any social evening…
Dark and sexy, this herbal tonic is bound to enhance your social life, it is mood-boosting and super tasty. The flavour is full-bodied and bittersweet, not unlike gin with it’s savoury bite. Another complex blend of functional ingredients, extracts such as lion’s mane mushroom and damiana all contribute to that feel-good factor!
Get the Social Elixir here.
Here are 5 of the most eye-catching ingredients in the Social Elixir!
1. Damiana – legend has it this quite unassuming yellow-flowered plant has been responsible for frisky Americans for centuries! An ancient Mexican aphrodisiac, which grows wild from Texas down to South America. A member of the passion flower family (of course!), Damiana is a small, woody shrub with a chamomile aroma. It’s the leaves that are used, and are said to have been used in the original margarita too! In drink form, the flavour is zingy, and floral, and a pleasure to devour, especially when you’re on the hunt for…ahem.. pleasure!
2. Coconut Vinegar – a staple in Southeastern cuisine, most notably in the Philippines, coconut vinegar derives from the sap in coconut blossom. It is milder than apple cider vinegar, and is a good bacteria, helping bowel movements, and general gut health! A health-giving perky taste which blends well in the Social Elixir!
3. Caraway Seed – whilst it may not possess of glamour of species such as cinnamon and vanilla, caraway seeds should not be underestimated! Harvested since Neolithic times, caraway seeds are actually the fruits of the plant, which indeed hold a seed inside. The flavour really adds to the Social Elixir, with a nutty bittersweet flavour and a very unique flavour profile, thanks to a complex mix of essential oils. Tasty!
4. Tulsi – you may as well call this the ‘wellbeing basil’, Tulsi has been used for centuries in ayuverdic treatments, and is native to India. This herb is said to help the body adapt to stress and to boost energy, and as part of the Social Elixir, it can really help get the party to full swing! The flavour is peppery and playful. Plants are small, shrubby and often paired with frothy purple flower stems. Interestingly, the dried leaves are used to repel insects in dried grains, such is the peppery aroma!
5. Lion’s Mane – the mushroom of all mushrooms! Lion’s Mane is a globe-like, white fungi, with rather fancy shaggy spines. Used culinary and medicinally for years from Japan to Korea and China. Lion’s Mane grows mostly on dead trees, although has been known to inhabit living ones too! Full of bioactive substances to aid your brain, health and gut!
Grow your own Social Elixir ingredient!
Passion Flower extract is an important part of the Social Elixir, and you probably know that you can grow them in the UK. Passiflora incarnata is drop dead gorgeous, with exotic blooms and honey-flavoured leaves. Used in health tonics for years, Passion Flowers are a settling herb, perfect for easing you into the evening.
Grow your Passion Flower vines in a sheltered spot, though they are hardy down to -15C, they won’t enjoy cold windy spots! Grow in sun or dappled shade, and give support fo the tendrils to grip onto. Your soil should be moist and well-drained, and it’s ok if it’s sandy or chalky too! Plants will grow go about 2 metres, and also look pretty cool in a conservatory too!
Make your own Social Elixir ingredient!
Agave extract is a great alternative to sugar, as it has a low GI index. This exotic sweetener is extracted from the heart of the agave plant, called the pina, and is either called agave syrup or agave nectar.
It is harvested from several species of agave, including the sweetest, which is Agave tequilana (blue agave). The plants you use need to be at least 7 years in age!
- Cut the pina into eighths with a large knife, rinse and arrange them in a roasting pan.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pina pieces for 40 to 72 hours or until a rust colour is achieved, check regularly, even every 10 minutes if you can!
- The heat and slow cooking process encourages the juice to flow out of the pinas.
- Pour off and discard the bitter nectar that accumulates after three hours of baking, then continue the rather epic baking process.
- Place the cooked pinas into a bowl to cool them off, pour the nectar from the pan into a second bowl.
- Rinse the pina under the tap, and then return them to the bowl.
- Mash the pieces with a potato masher to squeeze all the liquid out of the agave. Collect the nectar in the nectar bowl as it emerges.
- Cut the pina into tiny pieces or mince in a food processor and continue to mash them until you get all the liquid out! You may also want to push with the back of a spoon to get the very last dribbles!
- Place a paper filter into a funnel. Set the funnel inside a glass jar or bowl, and pour small amounts of your nectar into the funnel. The paper filter will clarify the nectar. Repeat until it looks good!
Join me next month as I taste and explore the final drink from the Three Spirit range, the Nightcap!
In the meanwhile, why not go explore the Three Spirit range. You may even be tempted by the Starter 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.