Words by Jessica Peace
A KITCHEN IN THE WOODS AND A DUSTY DISTILLATION BOOK DATING BACK TO 1651… TELL US WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP?
Hey….so, I guess I’ll tell you a little bit about how Seedlip got started. It was whilst researching interesting herbs I could grow at home, I came across a book written in 1651 called, ‘The Art of Distillation’ that documented distilled herbal remedies – both alcoholic & non-alcoholic.
Out of sheer curiosity I began experimenting in my kitchen with home-grown herbs & a copper still….It was when I was out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London — great food menu, amazing cocktails, that I asked the waitress what they had that was non-alcoholic and she just looked at me rather sadly. I was like, ‘You're not excited about this, and I'm definitely not excited about what’s on offer.’ So then I began to research whether anyone had created a sophisticated drink for a non-drinker, that pandora’s box opened and I realised that the opportunity to solve the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking with the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits was an opportunity to grab with both hands!
WE FOUND YOU AT CHELSEA HANDING OUT COCKTAILS NEXT TO THE ‘SEEDLIP GARDEN’ (A G&T FAVE THIS YEAR), SO WE KNOW YOU CAN MAKE A MAD TIPPLE BUT ARE YOU GREEN FINGERED TOO?
My family have been farming across North Lincolnshire and Yorkshire for just over 300 years. And some of my fondest memories are of growing up there - sitting in the combine, playing around on the yard, eating peas, it was like an adventure playground!
I’m definitely happiest in nature. I certainly appreciate the hard work that goes into growing a plant and feel very lucky to have spent so much of my childhood outside. Family, hard work, patience, fresh air – you learn a lot! Growing up with a deep appreciation for the natural world is why it’s important to me to continue this championship of nature in all that we do at Seedlip. We’re a nature company not a drinks company.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TIPPLES THEN…
Inspired by nature, Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, solving the ever-growing dilemma of ‘What to Drink when you’re Not Drinking®’ Seedlip is a true product of my upbringing - I am very proud of the fact we use some of our ingredients that we grow on the farm in Seedlip’s products and it was actually memories of time spent with my grandfather that gave me the inspiration for our blends.
Blended & bottled in England, we have created a coveted bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation & filtration process for each individual botanical that takes 6 weeks.
PETAL, PALM OR POTATO?
Potato. I grew up with bags of our potatoes in the kitchen & that exciting feeling when you pull up a plant to see how many brilliant, muddy round spuds are dangling beneath. Nothing can beat that smell of holding a potato covered in soil in your hands.
So many, but here are three.
My great grandfather who was actually knighted for his services to agriculture and philanthropy and is a guiding inspiration.
Dr Calvin Lamborn [R.I.Pea] – the man who bred the first ever sugar snap pea back in 1976, we were lucky to work with his family to create a garden at Chelsea Flower Show all inspired by the Fabaceae [pea] family & our spirit Seedlip Garden that uses peas from our farm & English garden herbs. The garden featured 3x new exclusive varieties of peas bred by Calvin before he died last year.
Dan Barber – such an inspiration on farming for the future, rediscovering ancient grains and plants & championing growing for flavour rather than yield at his magical restaurant and farm Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York. So so proud we get to work with him, his team and his wonderful produce.
FAVE FLORAL SPACE?
Chelsea Physic Garden holds a pretty special significance to me. It was opened in 1673, just 22 years after The Art of Distillation was published in London, the book that I found detailing apothecaries distilled non-alcoholic remedies that gave birth to Seedlip.
We held the launch event for Seedlip at the Chelsea Physic Garden back in 2015 serving non-alcoholic martinis to bartenders at 9am!
I don’t take any medicine full stop, just an orange before bed [our new spirit Seedlip Grove 42 rose out of my love or oranges] and as many peas as I can eat [we just held an unofficial world record attempt for the most peas eaten with a cocktail stick in 30 secs, the previous record was 42, Lucinda on our team managed to do 50]
FINISH THE SENTENCE: ‘PLANTS ARE…’
The true veins of mankind, we just haven’t quite realised it yet!