Doing Things Properly with Botivo
Something we're really excited about this year is getting back to shining a light on the brands and partners we love who are 'Doing Things Properly'- an ethos we work by here at Good & Proper. It means taking time to get things right, even when that takes longer, and applies to everything we do, from how we ship our products to finding the best teas, as well as our approach to Sustainability. There is an honest and authenticity to it that we believe is essential in today's world - not only to ensure we are creating the best possible products for our customers, but also to ensure the best possible outcome for the future of our people and planet. Botivo, a beautiful, handcrafted, non-alcoholic aperitif, is a great example of all of that, so we wanted to find out more...
We first met cocktail-craftsman Sam, aka The Rum Runner, and now Founder of Botivo, back in 2015 when he helped with the launch of our Leather Lane Tea Bar. Sam created a menu of tea cocktails for the launch party, including the exquisite 'Mandarin Sling' using our loose leaf Sencha tea, and it's fair to say that guests left talking as much about the delicious drinks as the new venue they were all there to celebrate. His passion for creating unique flavour combinations, using the best quality produce, is as evident now as it was then, and we're very excited to be talking to him this time about his new project - Botivo.
As newly converted Botivo drinkers ourselves, we're thrilled to have teamed up with the brand to kick start the year. We've been busy behind the scenes over the last few weeks developing some exclusive recipes, which we cannot wait to share with you all, but in the meantime let's find out more about the people and process behind this beautiful new drink.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
I have been working in the hospitality industry, originally in kitchens and then as a bartender, for the past 12 years. Drinks and cocktail development have always been a passion of mine, which is what lead me to start my own event-based cocktail company, Rum Runner, that designs cocktail menus and bar structures for events around the UK.
How did you come to Botivo as a concept and as a product?
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 our working life is about alcohol, we wanted to challenge ourselves to create a non-alcoholic product that had all the depth of flavour that you would expect from its alcoholic cousins. The pandemic took away our working life at Rum Runner, but gave us the gift of time to launch Botivo.
Tell us a bit more about the process and how you came about these centuries-old practises?
Classic aperitifs are generally made by macerating botanicals in alcohol. We wanted to show that non-alcoholic aperitifs can follow a similar craft, so we needed to find a medium (not alcohol!) that would serve a similar purpose. Our research led us to these ancient herbal tonics called oxymels. 'Oxy' = acid / 'mel' = 'honey'. This was the perfect base for our product because the British shores have both vinegar and honey in abundance. Furthermore, both of these ingredients have natural shelf-stability and are great extractors of flavour.
The production of Botivo takes several weeks to draw the flavours and nutrients from our ingredients. Like a wine, it is patience that allows the flavour profile to mature and develop complexity.
What makes Botivo stand out from other non-alcohol products?
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.
There is a process to making Botivo and we celebrate the subtle flavour differences between each batch that we make. For us, using raw, untreated ingredients was the only road to capturing the true flavours and complexities of the produce, resulting in a truly sophisticated non-alcoholic drink.
Why is Doing Things Properly important to you and the future of Botivo?
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!
As a fan of Good & Proper Tea, do you have a favourite tea of ours?
If I had to pick one tea, then it would have to be the Jasmine Pearls. Whether brewed hot or cold I love this tea and drink it most days. It's a fantastic base for many of our cocktails and also happens to pair very nicely with Botivo!
Their first production run, Botivo Batch 001, has sold out! Batch 002 will be available for sale on February 1st.
Preorder through their website now!