Ceder’s distilled non-alcoholic gin is the alt-gin of Sober October
Sober October is here! It is a 30-day challenge that has its roots in an Australian fundraising program called Ocsober. It joins many other 30-day challenges like Movember and Dry January. If you’re participating in Sober October, then you’re probably looking for some quality non-alcoholic alternatives to your favourite alcohols. Ceder’s Distilled Non-Alcoholic alt-gins are the latest in non-alcoholic spirits to enter the Canadian market.
Husband and wife entrepreneurs Craig Hutchison (South African) and Maria Sehlstrom (Swedish) founded Ceder’s “to offer an ‘escape’ from alcohol-based spirits without compromising on taste — and answer the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverage options,” says Sehlstrom. “We aim to provide consumers with more alternative choices of the highest quality without sacrificing a sophisticated drinking experience.”
All Ceder’s alt-gins feature an exclusive recipe of South African botanicals from the Western Cape’s Cederberg Mountains. The botanicals are individually distilled and then blended with Swedish water. I got my hands on three “flavours” so I could test if they’d really satisfy that itch for a good gin.
Juniper, Coriander, Geranium
According to Ceder’s, the Classic is the one closest to your typical gin. The nose is sharp and citrusy with very, very subtle floral notes. The smell reminds me most of (my favourite) green box lemonade, only perhaps with a flower or two floating in the glass. That lemonade sensation follows through in the mouth, only a lot more toned down than I’d anticipated. The juniper and botanicals soften everything. Instead of that tart “I just sucked a lemon” experience, it finishes smooth, light and with a hint of citrus.
Core Cocktails – Disarmed 75 and Deep in the Valley
Juniper, Ginger, Clove, Rooibos
Ceder’s touts this rendition of alt-gin as a spicy and intriguing take on classic gin. It’s lovely pale gold colour definitely drew my eye. Then its strong, ginger nose made them water just a bit. Very (very) subtle earthy notes balanced out the ginger to make it very reminiscent of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. The first taste is very soft, which is surprising given the nose. It starts out almost like a refreshing flavoured water. Right up until the mid-palate, when that ginger kicks in, revving up with subtle hints of clover and tea. It speeds through to the finish and leaves your mouth a touch on the dry side. (Dry enough that you feel like you need to drink some flavoured water.) If you like ginger ale, you’ll like sipping Ceder’s Wild on ice, or with some club soda.
(I don’t recommend mixing with tonic, as that makes it even drier on the finish. Though that is my personal opinion and I highly encourage everyone to test it out for themselves!)
Core Cocktails – On the Beach and Wild Tiani
Juniper, Citrus, Cucumber, Camomile
After the excitement of the Wild, I was very much ready for “refreshing and tranquil”. Looking at the ingredients – cucumber, camomile – I already formed an idea of what to expect. Cucumber dominates the nose, taking me to spa days and relaxation. In the glass, the aromas soften to a subtle blend of cucumber and chamomile. In the mouth, cucumber leads the way, supported by lemon (citrus) and a slight tea/floral note. Juniper gives the whole thing structure, adding much needed backbone without taking any of the spotlight. Refreshing is definitely the right way to describe this one, and it stays refreshing and interesting throughout. (This one is my favourite of the three).
Core Cocktails – Collins and Stinger