Going out for dinner and a drink is a big part of life for many Singaporeans, especially when there is always a new bar or restaurant.
This was especially the case for the founder of Melati Drinks, Lorin Winata. The 27-year-old worked in the investment industry and often had to attend after-work networking events.
Alcohol was often present at such events and she felt compelled to drink when socializing with friends or colleagues, although she worried that she might not feel so fresh and rested the next day.
Lorin felt that there was a lack of sophisticated, adult-oriented alternatives that were both satisfying and with the same complexity as alcohol, and it was difficult to find a drink that paired well and complements dishes. .
She noticed that while Singapore was a food and drink capital of the world, there was a huge gap in terms of zero- or low-alcohol drinks that were delicious, complex, and wouldn’t look out of place on a glamorous event or Michelin-starred restaurant.
A life-changing trip to Bali
Melati’s idea really started to come to life during a tour of Lorin’s ancestral farmlands in Jatiluwih, Bali.
According to Lorin, the plants grown there have been used in traditional medicinal remedies for centuries, and something just clicked in his head.
Why wasn’t there a product that utilized the restorative properties of these ingredients, while being socially acceptable – and enjoyable! – to organize parties or to relax after a busy work week.
Lorin Winata, founder of Melati Drinks
As a result of this visit to Bali, she shortlisted 60 herbal remedies that she believed were intriguing and had significant health benefits. She then worked alongside an Ayurvedic specialist and a diet specialist to narrow that list down to 26 herbs.
These herbs were selected for their detoxifying and mood-boosting properties, as well as the fact that they blend together to create a deliciously complex taste.
With this, she created Melati – Asia’s first alcohol-free aperitif inspired by traditional Asian remedies. An appetizer is an alcoholic drink usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
Classic Melati is created from rare and individually selected Asian plants, and the team works closely with farmers around the world to ensure a fair trading process and build a long-standing relationship.
The plants are then individually cold-extracted for up to six weeks for maximum benefit, before being thoroughly mixed by hand in Singapore.
To ensure optimal quality and freshness, the team only produces 500 bottles each time. Each bottle contains zero percent alcohol and only 12 calories per serving.
According to Melati’s website, a 500ml bottle of Melati costs S $ 68. There are also sets available, with a gift set for S $ 75 and a starter set for S $ 38.
Is it a replacement for alcohol?
The main difference between Melati and existing alcohol-free options is that Melati is not intended to be a direct replacement for alcohol and does not attempt to mimic the flavor of traditional spirits.
Additionally, Melati is a restorative product, due to its use of rare plants such as chokeberry, sencha, red kampot pepper, and star anise. These plants work together to provide antioxidant and detoxifying qualities.
Together, they help detoxify the liver, increase blood flow, trigger digestion, and promote overall well-being. Melati also doesn’t use sugar as a filling ingredient, so the herbal blend is particularly potent.
According to Lorin, “the flavor, mouthfeel, and length have a certain depth that can sometimes be lacking in non-alcoholic beverage options.”
When asked what Melati tastes like, Lorin said it was a deliciously complex bittersweet appetizer reminiscent of red vermouth or sloe gin.
Due to the unique blend of herbs, Melati’s complex flavor profile means it’s best enjoyed in a classic spritz set – you can just add one part Melati and one part tonic or sparkling water. on ice and garnish with an orange slice – making it easy to enjoy at home or in a bar or restaurant.
Melati is currently on the menus of some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, including three Michelin-starred Odette, Michelin-starred Nouri, and Native, ranked six out of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020.
Are soft drinks the future of drinks?
There has been a growing popularity of alcoholic alternatives recently, as more Singaporeans try to cut down on their alcohol intake for one reason or another.
Other alcohol-free or low-alcohol brands such as Lyre and Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits have entered restaurant and bar menus over the past year.
Although they are a small amount compared to alcoholic cocktails, the growth is steady and I see an increase in demand. Three years ago, one in ten customers asked for a non-alcoholic cocktail, but now it’s one in five.
Aki Eguchi, Program Director at The Jigger & Pony Group in an interview with The Business Times
Indeed, Lorin believes that “this is just the start of the road for spirits and non-alcoholic aperitifs” as more people than ever are concerned about what they are putting into their bodies – health benefits for everyone. product, the way it is. sourced and manufactured.
Non-alcoholic spirits and aperitifs offer consumers the choice to abstain from alcohol in an interesting and sophisticated way, while still being able to enjoy a tasty drink.
“As the non-alcoholic scene continues to grow, I think there is more than enough room for several brands and products. Essentially, the category barely existed until a few years ago, so it’s really exciting to see how it continues to evolve and how new players are responding to consumer demand and tastes to develop new products and exciting, ”said Lorin.
Featured Image Credit: Dsgcp / Melati Drinks
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