Where to begin? To look for something memorable, we went hunting for something that had been forgotten.

Buried deep within the Art of Distillation, a 17th century collection of British herbal remedies, we found a recipe for ‘acorn wine’. Traditionally used as an appetite stimulant and to aid digestion, this ‘wine’ contained no alcohol, but contained a lot of herbs, roots and of course, acorns.

The acorns were a surprise but the recipe seemed oddly familiar. To us, it looked like the recipe for an aperitif.

A very British bitter.

Acorns aside, what captured our imagination in the Art of Distillation was the concept of acorn wine. Specifically, a non-alcoholic wine that was bitter and botanically complex. A very British take on the European aperitif tradition.

Since many traditional aperitifs are wine based, we looked at the various ways in which grapes were used in the 17th and 18th centuries. Digging deeper into the recipe books, we discovered Verjus was a common ingredient used for many things, but also as a base for English non-alcoholic wines.

Literally meaning ‘green juice’, Verjus is made by pressing unripened grapes. These sacrificial grapes are harvested before Véraison (when the grapes start to change colour), at a time known as the Green Harvest. They are very occasionally pressed to produce a crisp, dry and tart liquid known as ‘Verjus’.

Using this as our base, and adding botanicals from all over the world, including the humble acorn, we have created a range of big, bold and complex aperitifs. The perfect way to start any occasion where food and friends are present.

We hope you enjoy them.