Non-alcoholic spirits and other beverages continue to raise their profile, and a new brand called Tilden is taking the bottled cocktail approach toward NA, offering two ready-to-serve offerings in 750ml bottles, designed for enjoying over ice.
We tasted both expressions and have some opinions to share.
Tilden Tandem – A wild combination of savory and sour and smoke, made with cherry, American oak, lapsang souchong tea, and bitter orange. An extremely smoky, smoldering experience, this initially hits the nose and palate like day-old tea, landing with something of a dirty laundry quality. It’s a beverage that’s desperately in need of more fruit, the tea and oak extract dominating the experience fully and clawing at the back of the throat. Other elements are fully absent. Ginger is high up on the ingredients list, but I didn’t taste it at all… unless that’s contributing to the lingering funk clinging to the experience. I can see how this might grow on some, but alas, not me. C
Tilden Lacewing – Do you like cucumbers? I hope so, because you’ll be getting plenty of ’em in this overall refreshing and only moderately spa-like experience. Built on a base of lychee, basil, and juniper berries — and of course cukes — the experience complements its vegetal core with a light lemon note and a pop of peppery basil. (Had I formulated this, I might have experimented with mint instead.) It’s the cucumber of course that makes the biggest impact, with a modest sweetness from stevia helping to brighten and lighten the experience. There’s no denying the raw power that the cucumber brings here, however, making the overall experience a bit less complex than I’d hoped. The alcohol is only slightly missed along the way. As a side note, I drank half my sample then went back to the bottle a week later and found that the concoction had taken on a distinct dill flavor that hadn’t been present before. It’s better when it’s fresh. B+
each $35 / drinktilden.com