All great duos are great because they bring out the best in each other — and it’s true for drinks, food, and of course, love. We had the pleasure of meeting lovely power couple Rose and Chris who came to NYC from the UK to meet up with Boisson team and chat about their brainchild – the non-alcoholic spirit company Bax Botanics.
The founders generously shared with us a recipe for one of their go-to food & drink pairings: a combination of their signature Sea Buckthorn spirit-based cocktail with a beet & walnut pesto tagliatelle. It’s delicious, vegan, and alcohol-free — exactly what one needs now that the weather’s getting colder and cozy dinners at home regain their appeal. Below you’ll find all the instructions needed to cook this killer combo and learn how Bax Botanics draw inspiration for their product from perfumers and alchemists, innovating on the cusp of the old and new.
It’s interesting to talk about Bax Botanics in the context of a pairing guide, because your product itself has been created primarily to be paired with tonic. How does it work that tonic brings out the spirit’s flavor?
It's all about getting a balance, the bitters in tonic really bring out the bright and herbal notes in Bax Botanics. You get lovely layers of flavour: citrus, herbal fragrance and great length. Bitters give depth and balance, and the bubbles make the flavours pop. If tonic is not for you, try some other great Bax combinations with Ginger, Lime, Apple or Blood Orange.
The copper stills you distill the drinks in look rather steampunk. Why alembics and where did the idea come from?
Ha Ha! Yes, very steam punk. I guess we use them because they are simple and beautifully effective. Like Chris says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". The idea came from the perfumers and alchemists of old, the people who made rosewater in Persia and herbal hydrolats. We love to blend history and modern ideas. Traditional distilling is magical and relies on our skill and knowledge. Other processes like filtering are less romantic but are needed to get our drinks just right. We love the mix of new and old tech - I guess that's Steampunk.
In the guide, you say: ‘these bounce between the food and drink just as any good pairing should.’ What are some of your ‘rules’ for a winner pairing combination?
A nice question! For us, a winning combination is almost like designing a cocktail on a very big scale. But here the balance and tone of the flavours must expand into thinking about food, too. Beyond that, we also like to think about mood. Is the drink bubbly and lively or silky and smooth? We like to pair fresh and bright drinks with raw foods, salsa and salads. Conversely, richer drinks pair better with more fully flavoured foods.
We know that Bax Botanics is not a ‘gin’, however, your spirits might perfectly work as its non-alcoholic alternative. Could you tell our readers what the etymology of the word ‘gin’ is?
A gin has to be flavoured with juniper berries, that's the legal definition. When we created Bax Botanics, we used our 20 years of experience working with botanical flavours to create new and innovative botanical distillations. Our drinks are often described as "gin-like" because of the botanical elements. We have been voted "best non-alcoholic gin" by journalists in the past. We think we fit into a new category emerging in the AF sector "Botanicals and beyond”! The word ‘gin’ itself though is derived from the Dutch word Genever – which in English means 'juniper'.
Describe your brand in three words?
Taste. Purity. Sustainability.
The Pairing Guide:
Sea Buckthorn meets Pasta and Beets
Here we’ve got a great food pairing showing how Chris and Rose make a Bax Botanics cocktail to go with a tasty pasta dish.
The flavors here compliment each other really well. It’s a great balance of earthiness from the beets, with acidity and herbal notes. These bounce between the food and drink just as any good pairing should.
To make 1 cocktail you will need the ingredients below, so just multiply by the number of serves you want.
• 1.5oz/50ml Bax Sea Buckthorn
• 0.5oz/15ml pomegranate juice
• 2tsp/10ml lemon juice
• Ice for shaking
• 3oz/85ml soda water
• Fresh mint garnish
To make the cocktail, simply shake the Bax Botanics, pomegranate juice and lemon juice with a few cubes of ice and strain into a glass. Top with the soda and garnish with mint. Of course, you can shake up more than one at a time and share between glasses.
Roasted Beetroot with Fresh Mint & Walnut Pesto Tagliatelle. Serves 2.
• 3 fresh beetroots, peeled and chopped
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 8oz dried pasta ribbons
• Balsamic vinegar
• Olive oil
• Fresh mint
For the pesto:
• 5g fresh mint, chopped roughly
• 1 clove of garlic, chopped
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1.75oz/50g walnuts, chopped
• A good pinch of salt
Peel and chop the beetroot and place in a roasting tray. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with fennel seeds and salt then stir round. Roast for 25 minutes at 180 degrees °C (~350 °F) until tender.
While this is cooking make the pesto by combining the ingredients and whizzing them up in a food processor. Cook the pasta according to the instructions, and don’t forget to take the beetroot out of the oven when it’s cooked! We like to dress the pasta with oil and vinegar to bring out the flavors of the pasta and beets. So, mix a couple of spoonful of olive oil and a spoonful of Balsamic vinegar in a cup, and when the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour this dressing over. Now add the beetroot chunks and stir it round gently. Serve in big bowls with little piles of pesto on top and mint scattered over.
Hope you and your friends love this combo as much as we do, and it’s perfect for a vegan diet too, as long as you choose Durum wheat pasta.