Three Spirit is in a league of its own, with its "plant magic" in a bottle. We love how their botanical elixirs truly deliver on the benefits they claim, while tasting and feeling like an elevated drinking occasion. We couldn't help but want to know more about the alchemy behind these drinks, crafted in the UK by plant scientists and bartenders, so we chatted with their three founders, Dash Lilley, Meeta Gournay, and Tatiana Mercer.
What was your original inspiration to create Three Spirit?
So many non-alcoholic drinks focus on what's missing, our idea was to create a drink where the focus was on what goes IN. We wanted a more creative and positive spin on an alternative to alcohol, why not create something functional with no need for intoxication? A third way between drinking and not drinking. It's what partly inspired the name Three Spirit! The idea was that this function was going to come from botanical alchemy, purely from plants used for hundreds (and for some, thousands) of years to make people feel good, combining it with new processes to create something truly special.
What would be a go-to Three Spirit recipe for someone hosting a party and wanting to have a non-alcoholic option?
We love how your product is designed by bartenders and "plant scientists" — can you elaborate on that latter part?
We work with lots of different scientists, such as Professor Michael Heinrich; he's the Head of Ethnobotany and Pharmacognosy at UCL, and he really is a world leader in his field. With more independent research, we've been working with Dr. Shelini Surendran as Nutrigeneticist and research fellow at Surrey University. Rebecca Lazarou is a medicinal plant researcher at Kew Gardens and associate editor of the Journal of Herbal Medicine; she's been great for advisory purposes.
Nightcap is pretty self-explanatory, but we were wondering how you would define the difference between Livener and Social Elixir? Would one be more appropriate for a certain situation or desired effect than the other?
Livener livens you up! It's the perfect party pick-me-up. It has natural caffeine from the guayusa which, combined with the l-theanine from the green tea, gives the drinker a gentle but sustained buzz. It's a great pre-drink or something to have at the start of the night—or later if you plan to be up til the early hours! Social Elixir is a bit more nuanced. This is the drink to have to chill you out and make you chatty. It contains lion's mane mushroom, cacao, damiana, and more! These are all euphorics to lift the spirits. So I'd say Social Elixir is the one to have when chatting at the bar, and Livener is for when you're out on the dance floor.
Three's a charm... but are you expanding your collection?
Yes! We dropped our first batch of Blurred Vines in the UK in December, and it sold out in 24hours. We're getting batch #2 ready to drop as soon as possible. If you ever come visit our HQ, you'll see it's a little laboratory where exploration is never ending. We're always tinkering with new ingredients and concepts.
We love how sophisticated Three Spirit drinks taste. How did you go about defining a flavor profile for each variety?
We were keen not to create an imitation spirit. We wanted drinks that were bold and packed full of herbal flavor, but that was also something reminiscent of alcohol. For example, the spices in Nightcap simulate the 'burn' one might get from a whiskey, and the color even has some resemblance to it, but the taste is its own unique, oaky flavor.
What has made you most proud on this journey of bringing Three Spirit into the world?
We're just really pleased with the positive response. We've received so many rewards from professionals praising the taste and function, but customer feedback is really what motivates us. We're still a small business and small team, so we're able to circulate positive stories from customers writing in among the team really easily. It's great to see that we're providing a ticket back into the party for so many people wanting to cut back on alcohol.
Our motto at Boisson is seeing the Glass Half-Full. How do you think alcohol-free alternatives like Three Spirit allow people to see the glass half-full?
We're focused on what's on the inside, not what we've removed so we're very much aligned on your values. Our drinks are a celebration of what we put in, and you get out all sorts of benefits—buzzes that go beyond them being non-alcoholic.