Vol. 26 No. 01

Culinary Focused Alcohol-Free Beverages Are Taking Root – Here Is One Example.

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The low- and no-alcohol beverage market continues to expand with consumption expected to grow 31% by 2024, according to the IWSR. Many people are taking a break from alcohol altogether and looking for better – and better-tasting options. The term used to describe this movement is “sober curious.” Two examples of how this movement manifests during the year are the promotions around “Sober October” and “Dry January.” 

This behavioral shift has created an entirely new beverage category catering to the alcohol-free lifestyle. But it is not just for “sober curious” folks. Beverages with better-for-you ingredients are also being marketed to the on-premises industry for cocktails and mocktails.

One example is Enroot, USDA certified organic sparkling “farm to bottle” cold-brewed teas with essences of fresh fruits and herbs. Enroot is a partnership between three friends: Actor Brad Pitt and entrepreneurs, Cristina Patwa and John Fogelman.

Enroot Co-Founders Brad Pitt, Cristina Patwa and John Fogelman

While appealing to the “sober curious” lifestyle was a goal, it’s Enroot’s connection to the earth and to farming that inspired its name and mission. Cris Patwa’s grandmother in the Phillippines was a small-scale farmer who ran a food business

“When I was a little girl, my grandmother would have fresh mango cut for our afternoon snacks. If we were thirsty, a fresh coconut would be plucked and hacked to enjoy directly from the trees as refreshment. We lived with this authentic connection to our food, farms, and family – which ultimately became the values that Enroot is founded on today. A driving force for me in creating this company with Brad and John was to be able to bottle these memories and learnings from her.  I wanted to be able to capture her legacy into something my daughter could understand and one day experience as well,” said Patwa.

The Process

Patwa says the process is lengthy, from sourcing ingredients to brewing. “Our organic teas can take several months to several years to evolve and mature for careful picking during harvest season. For example, our hibiscus tea requires 6 months of maturation in Burkina Faso, Africa. Our white peony tea takes 2-3 years to evolve in the Fujian Province, and a yerba mate tree will take 5 years to be ready in Southern Brazil.

‘Our small-batch wellness brews then embark on a three-day ritual beginning with a slow cold brew in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks for 20 hours. We then strain our blends and layer in soft sparkles over several more hours. Finally, we gently pour them into glass bottles and seal,” said Patwa.

Photo: www.drinkenroot.com

Working with Chefs & The James Beard Foundation

Enroot is a certified B-Corp committed to giving back and- as the name implies- helping others sow seeds of success. One example is its collaboration with The James Beard Foundation, working with 12 chefs to create the recipes for Enroot. They include JBF Award winners Michael Cimarusti (Los Angeles), JJ Johnson (New York), and JBF impact program alumni William Dissen (Asheville, N.C.), Christian Thornton (Martha’s Vineyard), and Ryan Nelson (Indianapolis) others.

The thoughtful chef pairings include plant-based dishes (with recipes) to match with specific Enroot flavors and cocktail recipes. A full list of chefs’ recipes and food pairings can be found here: www.drinkenroot.com/recipes .

Enroot also gives back to the Foundation’s women’s leadership program and is the first food and beverage to partner with sustainability leaders SCS Global Services on a comprehensive responsible sourcing policy.

Toasted Chickpeas and Curried Kale
by Chef Digby Stridiron.
Enroot recommendation: Rejuvenate peach, hibiscus, jasmine green tea

So how does Enroot taste?

I find most fruit-infused teas too sweet, but Enroot is a step up – refreshing on the palate with a nice balance between fruits and herbs. There are no added sugars and only 25 calories in a serving. I tasted five flavors and was partial to Apple/Lemon/Cayenne/Yerba Mata and Strawberry/Lavender/Rosemary/Tulsi (a type of holy basil).

Enroot is sold at retail and is offered at hotels and restaurants including The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Field Trip in New York City, Providence in Los Angeles, and Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

Check the « Recipe » section in this issue of Santé Magazine for cocktails made with Enroot cold-brewed teas.

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. www.theconnectedtable.com www.melanieyoung.com Instagram @theconnectedtable

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