Caleño – A Columbian Inspired Alcohol Free Tropical Delight

Peter Morrell enjoys cocktails made with this exotic spirit – the added bonus is that it is totally guilt-free

It’s thanks to founder and creator Ellie Webb that we have Caleño. Ellie was frustrated by there not being an exciting and adventurous non-alcoholic drink available when she was out dancing and socialising so she set about creating her own recipe. Ellie started experimenting in her kitchen before flying to her family’s homeland Columbia in South America to search for the right ingredients.

Ellie visited the entire country, drawing inspiration from its vibrant culture. Back in the UK Ellie achieved her dream of creating a unique zesty, tropical drink with the flavours of juniper, citrus, Inca berries and other spice botanicals.

Named after the residents of Cali, a city of salsa music, Caleño is produced by carefully steam distilling the ingredients to make a fresh and uplifting non-alcoholic spirit.

I have recently been trying Caleño and it is an excellent alternative to an alcoholic drink. Before writing about the tasting, a word about the packaging. The striking design of the label features Huitaca, the Columbian goddess of arts, dance and music. Combining this design with a heavy bottle gives it a feel of style, sophistication and quality.

To appreciate its unique flavour profile and my first tasting was to sample it neat. This gave me an opportunity to detect the aroma strands in the drink. There were strong notes of juniper with zesty citrus shards, coriander, cardamom, tropical fruits and a very pleasant but indefinable flavour that I guessed was the combination of the Inca berries and other botanicals.

Having established Caleño’s taste credentials it was time to try some other serves. I started with a double shot (50ml) of Caleño poured over ice and then mixed with 200ml of tonic water. For a more exotic twist, you can add an Inca berry (also known as physalis or Cape gooseberry) as a garnish. This cocktail was highly refreshing.

I then made a summer fruit cobbler – Mix a selection of soft fruits, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc, in a glass and muddle, add a dash of sugar syrup, a double shot of Caleño and crushed ice. Stir with a cocktail spoon and garnish with an Inca berry. This is an ideal drink for a warm, lazy afternoon.

Finally, the most famous of all cocktails, the Martini. A shaker full of ice, one part Noilly Prat, two parts Caleño, then ‘shaken not stirred’ and poured into a chilled martini glass and garnished with an Inca berry. This was bone dry with the citrus flavours of Caleño working well with the herbs in the vermouth.

Try Caleño for yourself, it’s all fun, with no guilt or hangover the next day.

You can buy Caleño from their website – www.calenodrinks.com It’s also available on Amazon and in Sainsburys

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