“Ceder’s Distilled Non-alcoholic” was founded by South African Craig Hutchinson and his Swedish wife, Maria Sehlström. In 2017, the couple came across a beautiful valley in the vicinity of the Cederberg in South Africa. The valley, which they now co-own, is the habitat of many botanicals, which can develop their full taste and scent in optimal conditions. The valley inspired the couple to develop a non-alcoholic distillate with these delicious botanicals from Craig’s homeland, in combination with pure water from Sweden, the homeland of Maria. By combining these ‘best of two worlds’ they want to offer an alcohol-free alternative to Gin.
Classic, Crisp and Wild
Currently there are three types of Ceder’s Alt-Gin, because that’s what they call their distillate in full: Ceder’s Classic, Ceder’s Crisp and Ceder’s Wild. The difference between these three is the botanicals that are most prominent in the distillates. The classic contains coriander and rose-geraniulm, in the crisp you will find cucumber and camille, the wild has to do it with cloves and the typical South African rooibos. These botanicals give the distinct taste to the different types, of course other botanicals are used in the distillates, including an abundance of juniper.
Ceder’s Alt-Gin is available in bottles of 50cl. We tasted half a liter Ceder’s Crisp to test what the Swedish-South African connection has to offer. When you smell the bottle of Ceder’s Crisp, it is clear that cucumber and camille were added here as flavorings, and the juniper is clearly noticeable. If we try a few centiliters of pure Ceder’s crisp as a tester, we must conclude that taste and smell are very close to each other, so the cucumber, camille and juniper are also clearly present during tasting. The taste of the undiluted stuff is definitely too prominent to drink it pure, but that is not the intention. Ceder’s recommendeds on their website to add 5 cl. Ceder’s Crisp to 15 cl. tonic when you want to make an ‘alcohol-free gin and tonic’. We think that is just a bit too much and we think the best combination is 5cl. on a bottle of 20 cl. tonic. Of course this depends entirely on your own taste and the tonic used.
As far as we are concerned, the interaction between the South African botanicals and the pure Swedish water is very successful. Of course we don’t know if the result would have been worse with water from the South of France and herbs from Siberia, but we would advise Craig and Maria not to experiment with that. Never change a winning team, so we can only advise them to keep their recipes and tested concept and who knows, maybe add some new variants to the range.