Charlotte Matthys grew up not far from Ghent, near a nature reserve. During her childhood she spent a lot of time in this nearby domain and was inspired by everything that nature has to offer, for example by making tea with and from the herbs she could find in the nature reserve. Because of her love for nature, but also because of her interest in product development, Charlotte decided to study bio-engineering, with a master’s degree in food sciences. A few years after her studies, when she went for a drink with friends after a busy working week, she asked for an alcohol-free aperitif. She did not like the drink she received. Far too sweet, not really tasty. That evening Charlotte started to think about whether it was not possible to make a more sophisticated non-alcoholic drink. Aided by the knowledge she gained during her studies, she started to develop such a drink.
Charlotte started working on a tasty non-alcoholic drink that would eventually become Nona June. The name Nona June refers to the ingredients used in the drink. Nona is the Latin word for nine and stands for the nine distilled botanicals that are used, June stands for the juniper, of which a distillate is also processed in Nona June. You can also discover the number 9 in the Nona June Logo, which also refers to the nine botanicals. To perfect the taste, she worked together with a number of renowned chefs, bartenders and Gin lovers. The result should be an alternative to Gin with a distinct citrus flavor, finished with spicy notes.
When we open the bottle and smell it, it is clear that the smell of the juniper is very prominent. We asked a notorious gin drinker what Nona June smells like and the answer was clear: “I smell Gin”. That is already a big plus, because we have to admit, this Nona June will probably primarily be used to make an alcohol-free Gin and Tonic. When we taste the Nona June pure, it is the citrus flavor that clearly has the upper hand. Of all the non-alcoholic distillates that we have already drunk, this Nona June is the only one that you could actually drink pure, although of course it is not the intention to do so. That it tastes so good pure is perhaps due to the fresh acidity of the lemon and also because Nona June is a bit sweeter than we are used from other distillates. As we thought based on tasting the pure stuff, you have to use a relatively large amount of Nona June to give your tonic an extra punch. Their site recommends to us 5 cl. Nona June on 10 cl. tonic, which is indeed a bit more than with other distillates that we have already tasted.
So we mix 5 cl. Nona June with 10 cl. neutral tonic and immediately notice that this ratio is correct and not excessive. We are a bit surprised that when we taste it we taste more juniper and the citrus flavor that was so prevalent in the pure drink is pushed to the background a bit. Also, we now actually taste for the first time that a lot of other botanicals have been used to produce this Nona June. What those nine botanicals are is not mentioned on the bottle and we will not guess what they are also, we would probably get most of them wrong. The most important thing is that Nona June, in combination with the right amount of tonic, ensures a well-balanced drink, where the balance between the taste of juniper, citrus and herbs is really correct.
If you like a smooth, balanced taste, this Nona June will definitely appeal to you. If you prefer a very pronounced spicy taste, you might want to look for another alternative. Perhaps the only downside is that you have to use a relatively large amount of Nona June in your ‘Gin and Tonic’, which means that the bottle will be empty relatively quick. If you want more information about Nona June, you can visit this website.