Remember earlier this year when Claire Warner announced that she’d given up the booze as Head of Spirits at LVMH to develop a new line of non-alcoholic products for Seedlip? Well, she’s gone and done it. And in true Claire fashion, she hasn’t cut any corners to get everything just-so. The range has been devised with taste, style and flavour in mind. “It’s a standalone brand – new company, new product and new design,” she says ahead of the launch. “It’s different but complementary to Seedlip. This time we’re targeting the food occasion.”
Cocktail lovers, make space in your drinks vocab for Æcorn Aperitifs, three innovative drinks, each based around the humble acorn. “We wanted to do something meaningful, something that was linked to nature,” she continues. “When we were doing our research one of the things that was most striking and upsetting to me was that in 2007 the Oxford Union Press removed a dozen or so words relating to nature from the Oxford English Children’s Dictionary. So words like ‘bramble’ and ‘heron’ were taken away to make space for words children are using more often, like ‘hashtag’ and ‘broad band’ etc. One of the words that went was acorn. It’s something we were really sad to see had disappeared but it excited us because as well as nature, the word ‘acorn’ has connotations of childhood and adventure.”
For Claire and her team that adventure manifests itself with the development of Æcorn Aperitifs. “After coming up with the name, we found a recipe for acorn wine in John French’s The Art of Distillation, published in 1651. It turns out that acorns were the original British aperitif! They’re full of tannins and very, very bitter and were used as an appetite stimulant in the middle ages.”
Æcorn Aperitifs brings that concept bang-up-to-date. “People think it’s the alcohol in aperitif-style drinks that’s the stimulus for food but actually it’s the bitterness,” she says. And this lady knows her stuff. “We’ve created three varietals. Each one is different and works with food in different ways but they’ve all got a few things in common: they’re made with English ingredients, are complex and delicious, and designed to awaken the appetite whether you drink alcohol or not.” They’re also concentrated and the suggested serve for each is in a wine glass over ice, topped with sparkling water, or as a tool for bartenders to use as a modifier.
It may be a standalone range but Æcorn Aperitifs is very much part of the pioneering non-alcoholic Seedlip family, as Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip attests: “Since launching Seedlip three years ago, the global traction has been both surreal and overwhelmingly positive. We are still just scratching the surface of the category’s potential and Æcorn Aperitifs takes us another step closer to our aim of changing the way the world drinks.”
You’ll have to wait to taste them though, as they won’t be available until early 2019. Find out more at aecornaperitifs.com