Low-alcohol drinks

From Bath Botanicals

Bath Botanical Distillery has launched Dirty Dash – a brand of world-first, bitters-style drops to recreate the taste of a G&T with 90%* less alcohol.
Since setting up shop as in 2015 as Bath Botanical Gin Distillery & Herbal Apothecary, Sue Mullett has made and sold delicious No.1 Gin as well as a huge range of medicinal herbal elixirs and tinctures from the distillery tucked away in Widcombe. Sue has now combined forces with Saul Wheeler to blend Saul’s love of cocktails and mixology with Sue’s intricate knowledge of herbs and botanicals. The result is Dirty Dash, something that’s poised to make the no-and-low-spirits market a whole lot tastier.
Sue says, “I’d thought of making a gin bitters for ages, but Saul encouraged me to do it.” They realised they had stumbled upon something quite unique, not for cocktails but as a low-alcohol option. “Sue and I had chatted about the rip off and poor quality of the zero-
proof gins that have to be made with artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives”, Saul says. “We realised gin bitters could fill this niche and be so much more delicious.”
This was what launched the Dirty Dash rocket ship, “We made a bunch of different gin botanicals – we tinkered around and ended up with something that was really delicious!”
The Dirty Dash comes in 100ml, bitters-style bottles with a
dropper that can be added to mixers to replicate the taste of
traditional spirits. The flagship product is Gin Drop, which, when a few
dashes are added to tonic, recreates the rounded, satisfying taste of a
classic G&T, but with 90%* less alcohol – and calories!
This new product is timely as more people than ever are opting for low- and no-alcohol options. A study by Alcohol Change UK highlights that over one in four people have expressed their intention to cut back on their alcohol consumption in 2024. But typically people are not cutting out alcohol completely. Drinkers are swapping out for low-alcohol options or being more mindful with their choices.

The low-and-no options for beer and lager drinkers are pretty wide-ranging by this point. But for spirits fans looking to cut down consumption and re-create the experience with something just as tasty, the options were more limited. “It dawned on us that there was no really good low-alcohol offerings for people who drink spirits,” says Saul. “Everything out there is highly expensive and pretty poor quality. The spirit market is still stuck – but no one has done a gin bitters with a mix of botanicals to make a low alcohol beverage. It was quite exciting.”
Dirty Dash bridges this gap. It’s not sugary soda or fruit juice, nor is it perfumed cordial or an alcohol-free replica of the real thing. Instead, it’s a totally unique, sophisticated sip that has the depth you’d expect from a traditional gin. Saul says, “It’s all natural and it has got that authentic taste, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.”
This herbal, botanical, partially alcoholic taste comes from the way Dirty Dash is created. The exact method and recipe are a closely kept secret, but in essence the bitters method is used to infuse alcohol with the natural flavouring from botanical ingredients. This brings out the key flavour notes. When diluted, the minuscule amount of alcohol remaining in the drink is enough to satisfy your senses into believing that you have a grown-up drink to be savoured. “It’s got that bitterness to it” Sue explains “the taste creates a reward in a different kind of way.”
So what’s in the name? It’s all to do with prepping the drink. Saul says, “When you’re adding something to a drink, you’re making it dirty – that’s the term in the industry for changing the colour or taste of a drink. like a Dirty Martini. The ‘dash’ is because we’re just using a dash!”
Bath Botanical Distillery, 1a Prior Park Road, Bath BA2 4NG; dirtydash.co.uk; bathbotanics.co.uk

Using the suggested serving of 4 dashes added to 150ml tonic creates a drink with 1.2%ABV, which is 90% less alcohol than a standard-serve 50ml G&T. A dash is one complete squeeze of the pipette!