Sweetdram Wild Absinthe 2022
WHAT IS WILD ABSINTHE?
Our lighter, more approachable take on the notorious green spirit uses botanicals from our on-site distillery garden – hand-picked by the team during summer, just in time for distillation. It’s a proper labour of love and a real garden-to-glass story.
Each bottle features exclusive artwork by local illustrator Jack Fletcher. Distilled in Scotland.
HOW DO YOU DRINK IT?
Simply pour over ice, give it a swirl and allow it to dilute to about 1:1 absinthe to (melted) water. It should chill, ‘louche’ (cloud) and become oily and sweet.
Alternatively, use it to ‘rinse the glass’ in classic cocktails, like the Sazerac or Corpse Reviver No. 2.
WHAT MAKES IT SUSTAINABLE?
Fuelled by a determination to minimise our environmental impact, we grow the botanicals for Wild Absinthe on-site using composted organic waste from batches of Escubac and Whisky Amaro. In that sense, we’re talking hyper local – food ‘metres’ rather than food ‘miles’.
In addition, we’ve moved towards a more sustainable packaging solution – something we’re actively looking to roll out across the rest of our range as soon as possible. For example, instead of the industry-standard heat shrink capsule, we’ve added a new paper tamper to seal the bottle; and we’ve printed both front and back labels on 100% recycled, recyclable paper stock.
Next step: solar panels on the distillery roof to power the smaller 113-litre electric copper pot still we use to vapour-distill Wild Absinthe.
WHAT IS A CLOSED-LOOP GARDEN?
In a ‘closed-loop’ or ‘circular’ economy, no waste is generated – everything is reused or recycled and given a new purpose. In the case of our garden, this applies to any organic matter that might be typically discarded after it has been processed. For example, once we’ve harvested and distilled Wild Absinthe, we return the botanicals to the soil as compost. This provides feed for new botanicals, which we then harvest the following year, and so on, in a loop.
Since we only make Wild Absinthe one time per year, we can’t quite sustain the circular nature of the garden from its spent botanicals alone, so we need to supplement the compost with organic matter from batches of Escubac and Whisky Amaro. In that sense, we don’t have a perfectly ‘closed’ loop – but this ‘almost’ loop allows us to make more tasty spirits and reduce our carbon footprint.
WHAT MAKES ABSINTHE GREEN?
Distillers traditionally coloured absinthe by infusing it with botanicals, especially hyssop, post-distillation. However, that colour – bright green from the chlorophyll of the plants – would inevitably degrade over time, turning brown and anaemic as it broke down in UV light and oxidised with air.
To avoid this, most commercially-produced absinthes now use chemical E numbers to colour – which explains why they can sit on a shelf, in clear glass, and look neon years later.
We use hand-picked, air-dried sweet cicely to tinge our Wild Absinthe with a pale green hue, which we keep light for two reasons: to prevent any real oxidisation and impact on the colour over time; and to ensure the sweet cicely doesn’t impart any unwanted flavour on the delicate, highly-aromatic spirit.
WHAT MAKES IT ‘WILD’?
Back in 2017, when we were still based in east London, we set ourselves a challenge: create a spirit using only ingredients found within 3 miles of our Dalston workshop. Led by local legend John the Poacher, we foraged the Hackney marshes and found a bevy of botanicals right under our noses – edible, aromatic flora and fauna that bud and wilt with the seasons.
So when we first got the keys to our Edinburgh warehouse, we tore up the front of the building and installed a minimal intervention, permaculture-style garden – our own little industrial-estate Eden – where we could grow all those ‘wild’ botanicals for ourselves.
It’s been five years in the making, but that fresh, ‘wild’ absinthe we first conceived on a balmy walk along the Hackney Marshes is now a Scottish reality.
Simply pour over ice until it ‘louches’ (clouds), turning oily and sweet, or mix in classic cocktails, like the Corpse Reviver or Sazerac.
Pale green/cloudy mint (diluted)
Raw fennel, lavender
Black liquorice, sea salt, pine oil
Sea wormwood, wild fennel, bay, santolina, horseradish leaf, marigold, eucalyptus, lemon verbena, purple sage, anise hyssop, sweet cicely
Strength: 46% ABV
Bottle Type: Custom moulded amber glass with tapered sides
Closure: Custom debossed synthetic stopper
Seal: Recyclable paper tamper