With more than 58% of us looking for alcohol-free alternatives, the booze-free drinks scene is booming, and Botivo, the non-alcoholic aperitif, has your summer sundowners sorted.
Launched by cocktail developer Sam Paget-Steavenson in 2021, Botivo is bittersweet, complex, and hand-crafted from all natural ingredients. Inspired by ancient herbal remedies called 'oxymels' (blends of acid and honey), it’s a blend of raw honey, raw apple cider vinegar, gentian, wormwood, rosemary, thyme & orange zest, not dissimilar to your cocktail bar favourite Campari.
Much like the natural wine process, Botivo is made using centuries-old macerating techniques. Produced and bottled on a small farm in Hertfordshire, each bottle contains the distinct aperitif flavour, made all the better by the unique personality of the English countryside. Even better, the bottle is so pretty it’ll impress guests of your next dinner party and double up as a candle holder once you’ve drunk the last drop.
Already planning your next cocktail hour? Thought so. We spoke to Sam to find out more.
Hi Sam. Tell us, how did Botivo come about?
"I have been working in the hospitality industry for the past 12 years. Drinks and cocktail development have always been a passion of mine, which is what led me to start my own event-based cocktail company, Rum Runner. "
"At Rum Runner we have always loved and used aperitifs on our menus - they add such great depth and complexity to almost any drink. Given that half of my working life is about alcohol, I wanted to challenge myself to create a non-alcoholic product that had all the depth of flavour that you would expect from its alcoholic cousins. The pandemic temporarily took away my working life at Rum Runner, but gave me the gift of time to launch Botivo in July 2021."
What is your key ethos?
"In our modern world of mass produced products, Botivo celebrates craft and our incredible suppliers. We are proud to know where our ingredients come from - our honey is from the Local Honey Man whose ethical honey helps protect the UK's vulnerable bee population and our incredible raw apple cider vinegar from Ostlers made at their orchard in North Devon. Botivo is made using real ingredients, without the use of flavourings, extracts or preservatives.
When developing drinks menus, there is always a discussion about how to get the best flavour out of an ingredient. There is usually a pre-packaged shortcut to make things easier, but there is often a sacrifice to flavour should one decide to go down this route. At Botivo, we not only enjoy the longer journey to making our product, but we also know that the time spent picking fresh rosemary, or the weeks waiting for the infusions results in a better taste. I feel that the world is starting to appreciate 'local' and 'craft' once again and we hope that this means there will be an exciting future for Botivo!"
What’s the best way to serve and drink Botivo?
"Botivo can be mixed into various cocktails, but our perfect serve is:
Lots of ice in the glass of your choosing and garnish with an orange twist. This makes for a super refreshing, complex, slow sipping drink."
We’re in the height of summer cocktail season, what does a night hosted by Botivo look like?
"This would have to be outdoors enjoying some evening sunshine with friends. BBQ lit, grilling some tasty treats to go with fresh salads and of course some Botivo. Music wise - anything from 70s Californian rock or some soulful jazz."
What’s next for you?
"We are working on some exciting new flavours to add to our range so stay tuned for this..."
Which other indie brand are you championing right now?
"In the non-alcoholic space I have been super impressed by ALT.’s sparkling wine alternative, Agua de Madre's incredible range of water kefir and Freestar's brilliant low-alcoholic beers."