This is a collaborative post, but as always, it’s totally honest and all opinions shared here are my own.
As far as non-alcoholic drinks go, Three Spirit’s original range are some of the best options on the market right now. I’ve been working my way through an array of 0% gins, ciders and lagers lately, as well as trying out some 0% wines – and I can honestly say that the Three Spirit drinks reviewed here sit firmly at the top of my personal chart for grown-up drinks choices that don’t contain booze (or the risk of a hangover).
Keep reading to find out more about Three Spirit, their Social Elixir, Livener and Nightcap drinks, and where you can buy them. Just for good measure, I’ve even thrown in some sunny photos of the bottles and cocktails posing in my garden so you can see how luxurious they all are.
What’s Three Spirit all about?
When you visit the Three Spirit website, you’ll see words like “adaptogenic” and “nootropic” being thrown around here and there, as well as references to “functional plants”, “active plants” and “mood making”.
I’m gonna level with you, I don’t think I’d ever actually seen the words adaptogenic or nootropic before I discovered Three Spirit, but the gist is this: something that is adaptogenic is believed to help counteract the effects of stress on the body, while nootropics are things which are supposed to improve cognitive function, improve your mood and/or promote relaxation. Three Spirit’s website says that their team includes “plant scientists, world-class bartenders, hedonists, herbalists and artists”, and based on what they’ve produced I can certainly believe it.
What sets Three Spirit apart from other grown-up ‘soft’ drinks is not only the fact that their spirit trio isn’t designed to impersonate anything else. Though part of their charm and appeal is that they aren’t aping gin, whiskey or another type of alcohol, a big reason they’re proving so popular is that these drinks aren’t just designed to taste great. Social Elixir, Livener and Nightcap each make promises about their ability to boost your mood in one way or another, using the power of plants and herbs from around the world to make you more sociable, energised or relaxed.
With many people reaching for alcoholic drinks because they feel that they ‘help to take the edge off’ a long day, or that they ‘warm you up’ for social occasions, there’s an obvious appeal to a range of alcohol alternatives that brings you those benefits without the negative side-effects that come with drinking booze.
All of Three Spirit’s products are 100% vegan, and their packaging is 100% recyclable as well as 99% plastic-free.
Pictured here for your viewing pleasure is a ‘light and stormy’ cocktail/mocktail made with Social Elixir and ginger ale, posing with the glossy green bottle itself. I’ll momentarily draw your attention to the birdhouse/feeding station in the background that my husband made with his own fair hands, and now that you’ve admired it, let’s talk about the flavour and the function of this gourmet booze-free drink.
Social Elixir is rich and full-bodied, but it doesn’t burn or bite like a heavy duty spirit would. It’s on the savoury side of the drinks spectrum, so if you’re like me and you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, don’t be put off by the agave nectar and molasses on the ingredients list.
It’s hard to describe the taste and mouthfeel of a drink that blends everything from cacao bean and passionflower to lion’s mane mushroom and caraway seed. What I can say is that it’s smooth, the overall taste is aromatic, and when served over ice with ginger ale it’s just the right level of warmth. Three Spirit recommend serving this with a slice of fresh orange or ginger, but a wedge of lime is also a solid shout.
As well as being packed with B vitamins, which are well-known as cognitive performance enhancers, Social Elixir has several other key active ingredients. The main aim of bringing the whole lot together is to make you feel more sociable – perhaps even flirtatious… And here’s some insight into the ‘how’.
- Damiana leaf is an aphrodisiac that has been used in Mexico for centuries as part of ‘love potions’, and it contains Apigenin, which some scientific studies suggest has antidepressant and antianxiety properties
- Lion’s Mane mushroom (which tastes a bit like chocolate) is a mood-booster and energiser, which studies also suggest improves overall cognitive health
- Cacao bean contains several active compounds, including mood-booster theobromine, and is the most potent way to get the stress-busting benefits commonly associated with chocolate
Give me three Social Elixir & gingers and I will start to become mischievous. Whether that’s a placebo effect at play or the magic of plants, I can’t tell you, but there’s definitely more going on in a glass of this than you’ll get from a standard 0% spirit.
All Three Spirit Social Elixir ingredients:
Filtered water, agave nectar, botanical extracts of; (caraway seed, damiana leaf, lion’s mane mushroom, yerba mate, passion flower, tulsi, cacao bean, green tea), coconut vinegar, molasses, black carrot concentrate, preservative; potassium sorbate, antioxidant; ascorbic acid, vitamins; B3, B6, B7 and B12.
You’ve got to hand it to Three Spirit, the styling of these drinks is pretty special. When I’m opting for a sober night of drinking I still want to be able to feel ritzy and like I’m having a treat, and there’s something incredibly pleasing about all of these bottles. Anyway, I know it looks like I’ve made the same drink twice but I promise it’s a Livener and tonic in this one. Here’s the inside scoop on the palate and the point.
Served with tonic and nothing else, I got a hint of sweetness with a balance of fire and spice from Livener. In fact, when I enthusiastically tipped the end of the glassful into my gob, there was a perfect end heat to follow the pomegranate and berry notes I was getting as I sipped.
As with Social Elixir, it’s hard to paint a clear picture of the flavour of this drink when I can’t just hand you a glass to try it. Livener is complex without being overwhelming, fruity without being sugary, and of the three drinks in this review it’s the one with the most alcohol-like kick to it – in my opinion.
I’m really keen to try Livener in an espresso martini, so watch out for evidence of that on my Instagram page soon.
This one’s all about energy and euphoria. While Shisandra berry is better known to some as a plant that helps to fight symptoms of the menopause, and is also one of the OG adaptogens, it’s the Guayusa and green tea that do a lot of the heavy lifting in this concoction.
- Guayasa is said to give you a euphoric feeling, fuelled by naturally-occurring caffeine, theobromine and powerful antioxidant compounds
- Green tea is another plant that’s naturally high in caffeine as well as loaded with polyphenols, so between this and the guayasa you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a healthy buzz if energy is what you need
- Watermelon isn’t just in here for flavour – the L-citrulline in watermelon helps to regulate energy levels and manage blood pressure so that you don’t start to feel like you’ve over-indulged
The Guayasa used in Three Spirit drinks comes from sustainable sources that promote rewilding in the Amazon rainforest, so that’s pretty cool too.
All Three Spirit Livener ingredients:
Filtered water, English beet sugar, watermelon concentrate, pomegranate molasses, botanical extracts of; (hibiscus, guava leaf, schisandra berry, Siberian and Panax ginseng, concentrated aqueous extract of dried leaves of Ilex guayusa, green tea including natural caffeine and L-Theanine), natural flavours, apple cider vinegar, black carrot concentrate, tartaric acid, pectin, preservative; potassium sorbate.
As someone who has lived with insomnia for my entire life, I’ll make a beeline for pretty much anything with Valerian in it, so I was just as excited to try the nighttime beverage in Three Spirit’s range as I was about revisiting the social tipple and testing out the energiser. Nightcap comes in my favourite of the three bougie bottle designs, and here’s what you need to know about what it has to offer.
The ginger in this one gives it a more immediate warmth than Livener when you drink it over ice. That said, the maple syrup and botanicals blend the ginger flavour neatly so that while you are getting that spiciness it doesn’t just taste like a glass of ginger beer. I didn’t have any Angostura bitters to hand to try this out as an alcohol-free Old Fashioned, but having sampled it solo I’m confident it’d be a winning combination – so that one’s on the to-do list.
Mellow, calming and sleep-inducing, Nightcap is the Yin to Livener’s Yang. Lemon balm and Valerian are well-known for promoting better sleep, and for helping to calm the body and make it easier to get to sleep faster, but here’s a bit more info on some of the other ingredients.
- Hüll Melon hops – yes, hops! Like beer, but not like beer, actually. Part of the same plant family as cannabis, hops are full of a compound group called terpenes which promote feelings of calm and relaxation
- Ashwagandha has been referred to as the ‘king of Ayurvedic herbs’ and is used in many traditional medicines to reduce stress and anxiety
- White willow bark, also called ‘nature’s aspirin’, is a much-loved natural painkiller that can aid rest thanks to its anti-inflammatory and and soothing properties
It isn’t going to cure chronic insomnia, but this tasty beverage does give you a nice snoozy feeling to end the night.
All Three Spirit Nightcap ingredients:
Filtered water, pure maple syrup, Hüll Melon hops, botanical extracts of; (lemon balm, turmeric root, ashwagandha, white willow bark, vanilla, valerian, liquorice root, ginger), natural flavours, lactic acid, tannin infusion, Himalayan salt, preservative; potassium sorbate, antioxidant; ascorbic acid.
Where to buy Three Spirit
The easiest way to buy Three Spirit drinks is to order them from the Three Spirit online shop itself, where you’ll find all three of the drinks I’ve reviewed here as well as their new Blurred Vines wine alternatives.
Each 50cl bottle of Social Elixir, Livener or Nightcap costs £24.99, or you can buy The Collection (containing a full-size bottle of each) for £64.99 – so a £10 discount.
If you don’t want to dive right in with the full-size bottles until you’ve given everything a try, there is also a Starter Pack option with smaller bottles of all three for £39.99.
Bonus tip: if you’re from Norwich like me, you can also buy Social Elixir and Livener in-store at Working Title menswear on Bridewell Alley, an official stockist where it’s again priced at £24.99.
Offers on Three Spirit drinks
- Signing up to the Three Spirit mailing list gets you a 10% off code to use on your first order
- Buy 3, 6 or 12 bottles of Social Elixir, Livener or Nightcap from the Three Spirit website and you’ll get a £5, £25 or £50 discount for buying in bulk (you can mix and match!)
Have you got an epic Three Spirit cocktail recipe worth shouting about? Let me know in the comments below!
You can see some other 0% drinks I like listed at the end of this blog post about Europe’s drinking habits.