GOING OUT & WELLNESS
This week, the London Living team visits the Seedlip pop-up shop and non-alcoholic cocktail bar on Duke Street (just across the road from Selfridges), and interviewed Seedlip ambassador Stewart Howard about the non-alcoholic offering that is taking London (and the rest of the world!) by storm.
Seedlip Pop-Up General Store & Bar
71 Duke Street
Weekdays 10am – 7pm
Weekends: 12pm – 7pm
Signature Cocktails start at £5.00
Thanks so much for inviting us into this stunning pop-up. We can’t believe that such a calm haven exists so close to the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street Christmas shoppers! How long is the pop-up here for?
At the moment we are set to be here until the 16th of December, but as you can imagine, we would love to have the opportunity to stay here for longer.
We have heard that Seedlip started out following the owner stumbling across a book from the 17th century? Could you tell us a bit more about that?
Yes that is exactly how the owner got his inspiration for Seedlip! Ben, the founder, has always been fascinated with natural ingredients. He originally signed up to be a chef and took a course at the prestigious Leith’s School of Cookery. Whilst there he indulged his fascination with ingredients. Though Ben ultimately decided that cooking wasn’t the career for him, during his time on the course he came across mentions on the internet of a book called ‘The Art of Distillation’ which was first published back in 1651.
It was written by famed physician John French, and it documented the healing powers of herbs and natural ingredients. Natural remedies wasn’t a ‘done thing’ or known-profession in 1661 but the author wrote in an opening paragraph that it was an important time to start documenting natural substances to use for medicinal purposes. Ben discovered there was a copy of the book in the British Library that used to be owned by King George III. He booked an appointment in the British Library, and during his time with the book he found a section at the back about distilling herbal remedies. It was around the same time that he started to think about how strange it was that on his visits to most Michelin star restaurants, that if he wasn’t drinking he was given basic juice and saw a gap in the market for non-alcoholic botanical drinks. The rest is Seedlip history!
How popular has the shop been since opening?
The Duke Street pop up shop has been extremely popular since opening. Being located opposite Selfridges is the perfect location. We offer a relaxing haven for those that have been shopping on Oxford Street – especially in these crazy Christmas months.
We believe we offer something that has not been done before in London, a place to drink when you are not drinking.
We have a beautiful bar in our basement fully stocked with every Seedlip product available to buy in the shop upstairs. Customers can pre book tables on our website. Cocktails range from £5-8 and we are open 10am to 7pm weekdays and 12pm to 7pm weekends.
What is the most popular Seedlip flavour?
Grove 42 is currently our bestseller. It’s the newest edition to the Seedlip family, combining bitter orange, mandarin and blood orange, along with ginger, lemongrass and lemon distilled with traditional methods. It’s also sugar, calorie and sweetener free with no artificial flavours and no allergens.
What is your personal favourite Seedlip cocktail?
I love the ‘Nogroni’ – it’s a play on the classic alcoholic cocktail the ‘Negroni’. A bitter and challenging drink, made with no fewer than 21 ingredients, the lack of alcohol certainly doesn’t result in a compromise on flavour.
What do you think makes Seedlip different to other non-alcoholic drinks on offer?
Many other non-alcoholic drinks brands use artificial flavouring and sweeteners or sugar. Seedlip is free from all additives and flavoured naturally, it’s the perfect guilt free but full-of-flavour non-alcoholic option.
The Seedlip Garden 108 has a very distinctive taste. Could you shed some light on what that comes from?
Yes, of course. It actually comes from the classic English garden pea! Our founder Ben is also a Lincolnshire pea farmer, and the peas we use in the Seedlip Garden 108 come from Ben’s farm. The pea has also inspired the name, as it takes 108 days for a pea to reach maturity. Hence the name Seedlip Garden 108.
What bars and restaurants can our London Living readers find and order Seedlip?
Seedlip can be found in a variety of bars, restaurants across London and the UK. My personal favourites include the Dandelyan near Waterloo, the American Bar at The Savoy, Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden, the Clove Club in Old Street, and Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane.
In addition to London and the UK, Seedlip is also now available in over 20 other international countries across Europe, America, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I’m also very proud to say we are also stocked in 250 Michelin star restaurants globally.
Why do you think there is so much pressure to drink and get drunk at this time of year?
Historically there has been a big connection between bonding and alcohol, and obviously at this time of year there are so many more social events, so the pressure to drink increases further. We hope that with Seedlip on the scene, and a growing number of stockists, that the non-drinkers feel this pressure less now they have a flavoursome alternative and lots of new cocktail choices.
What is your favourite spot in London for relaxing and taking time out?
It’s got to be Rapha on Brewer Street. Rapha is a cycling brand and the front of their space is a shop but towards the back is an excellent coffee shop, which not that many people know about. I used to be the Bar Manager of Hix opposite and used to pop in to Rapha to wind down or have the odd meeting away from my office. I just love its position, Soho is an amazing place to be, the electric buzz of central London and the eclectic mix of people.