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Brief Published: 10 May 2019

Spirits Makers Defy Conventional Categories

Rebel Rabbet

Innovative alcohol entrepreneurs are flexing their creative muscles to develop new-wave spirits that don't neatly slot into conventional categories. They're playing with brewing techniques, flavours and unusual ingredients to conjure intriguing formulations.

In March 2019, London distillery Rebel Rabbet launched a new spirit called End of Austerity, which the brand is calling "the most affordable spirit in the world with the most expensive ingredients". The grain-based libation is made from white truffle and vacuum-distilled orris root and is filtered through beluga caviar.

Danish experimental alcohol brand Empirical Spirits has created a spirit for multi-award-winning British bar owner Ryan Chetiyawardana's newest bar Lyaness. The mixture, called Onyx, is made from blackened koji, maple wood, birch, hibiscus and hops, and is aged in a walnut cask. The spirit is described as 'wood spice and white stone fruit on the nose, with a full, lightly sweet palate and sweet spice aromas.' Meanwhile, producers are stepping outside category boundaries to play with restricted flavours and ingredients.

London start-up El Destilado has created 13 agave- and sugar cane-based distilled beverages that live outside the mescal umbrella. Regulation in Mexico stipulates that in order for a drink to be defined as a mescal, it must be produced within certain regions of Mexico and uphold certain requirements, such as falling between 33-55% ABV and being fermented with yeasts from Mexico. By choosing not to classify its product, El Distilado can freely experiment with and manufacture the limited-edition spirit in the UK.

For more on convention-bending beverages, read Alcohol Trends: Imbibe 2018.

Empirical Spirits
El Destilado