Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin
While seeing milk fortified with multiple types of vitamins is normal, healthy alcoholic drinks raise doubt. The recent health scare increased the number of products claimed to be beneficial to health, increased stamina, immune system booster, etc.
What is a botanical drink? We gathered all our resources to find out everything about it.
Defining Botanical Drinks
A botanical drink is a drink that contains botanical ingredients derived from plants or herbs. These can be fresh or dried parts combined or isolated chemical components.
If infused in liquors, these ingredients are added during the second distillation. These can be used for flavoring, aroma, medicine, or functional health benefits.
History & Origin
Botanical drinks date back to the time of the Roman Empire. Gladiators used to consume a drink infused with charred plants. This method was believed to have healing and revitalizing effects.
Some 500 years ago, people discovered another proof in Asia. Pottery was found in a Neolithic village called Jiahu in China. The pottery contained a fermented drink of rice, honey, and hawthorn fruit or grapes.
How It Tastes
Botanical drinks’ flavor profiles differ depending on the botanicals used. Fruit essences can produce pleasant sweet fruity flavors. A blend of botanical plants and herbs will produce balanced, earthy, spicy flavors.
Botanicals generally impart a more authentic taste to the drink it is mixed with. Some may have unpleasant smells or flavors but are mostly used for medicinal purposes. Traditional ways include soaking fresh botanicals to infuse flavors and colors.
How Botanical-Infusion Works
Botanical infusion is normally done by steeping or soaking a raw material. Another method is through extraction. The first process is commonly used in non-alcoholic botanicals. Teas are infused with leaves and other parts of plants for flavor enhancements.
However, botanicals such as mint, white tea, chamomile, and rooibos are recognized more for their health benefits.
All ingredients used as additives must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be considered safe (GRAS).
There is a wide range of benefits seen by experts in botanicals. The most common would be as an energy booster. These are also known to help with relaxation and stress.
Memory enhancement is also an area experts see benefiting from botanical drinks. Physical health-wise, it helps with immune system enhancement.
The growing popularity of botanicals can be directly associated with consumers’ health concerns, especially after the recent pandemic.
However, it was already a steady-growing industry due to the increased number of health-conscious individuals.
These individuals are out to find the best natural ways, if not traditional, to increase wellness and emotional stability.
5 Botanical Drinks To Order At A Bar
1. Botanical Beers
Botanical beers were already evident 7,000 years ago. Instead of the common hops as bitter taste flavoring, “gruit” was practiced. These are flowers, roots, and herbs mixed in their fermented malted barley to balance the taste.
The outcome would be very sweet without the botanicals, which are not very pleasant to drink. Nowadays, these are pretty common at bars. Botanicals are used not only as bitters but also as flavor and aroma infusions.
2. Botanical Gins
These spirits are neutral spirits made through distillation or compounding . Botanicals such as junipers and other types of berries, seeds, herbs, and fruits are used as flavoring.
Though still high in alcohol, these are considered diuretics and healthy if consumed in moderation. These are low in calories, and the botanicals used also provide health benefits on their own.
3. Botanical Vodkas
Botanical vodkas contain 100% natural botanicals and fruit essences. It uses organic and non-GMO grains, does not have artificial flavors, and does not have any additives and sweeteners.
Alcohol-wise, some botanical brands have lesser ABV. It contains fewer calories and uses natural sweeteners, making it healthier if consumed moderately.
4. Botanical Rums
Powdered essences are easily mixed with these spirits, like those in liquid forms.
5. Botanical Wines
Botanical wines are wines infused with flowers, roots, herbs, and other aromatic ingredients already present in ancient Egypt.
They mixed the resin of the terebinth tree with fermented liquors. These trees are known to produce pinene and camphor and are used as antibiotics.
Resins or skins are commonly used for wines because of their color. It is easier to blend without too much change or displeasing appearance.
Botanical Drink Recipes To Try
Gin Garden Cocktail
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
- 1-ounce botanical gin
- 1/2 ounce Elderflower Liqueur
- One small cucumber (sliced, reserve two slices for garnish)
- 1/2 ounce apple juice
Place cucumber slices at the bottom of the cocktail shaker and pour apple juice—muddle contents. Add liqueur, gin, and ice. Shake well. Strain over a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with cucumber slices. Serve.
Elderflower Cordial Cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
- 250 ml botanical gin
- 200 ml elderflower cordial
- 1-liter apple juice
- ice cubes
- apple slices
In a jam jar or glass pitcher, mix the cordial and gin. Once blended well, pour into eight glasses and top with apple juice. Put ice cubes and garnish with apple slices. Serve.
Are botanical drinks alcoholic?
Yes, botanical drinks are alcoholic, but some brands are not. Other brands also produce drinks that have lesser alcohol volume.
How do you make non-alcoholic botanical drinks?
Non-alcoholic botanical drinks are fermented and go through distillation. It has a prolonged distillation process where alcohol proceeds to evaporation . Another method used to make these drinks is maceration which will require evaporation to remove the alcohol.
A botanical drink is a beverage that contains botanical components derived from plants (fresh or dried) or herbs. It has botanicals that provide flavor, aroma, or functional health benefits to liquors.
This drink has been used way longer than modern wines and spirits. It provides more enticing and real aromas, while its flavors are more profound.