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By
Kali Mireva

Brewing with Botanicals: The World of Herbal Spirits & Beer

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The three alcoholic beverages consumed most in the world are beer, liquor, and different varieties of wine. As a matter of fact, all three of them come in a huge variety. Beer brands are producing new and unique beers all the time. And don’t get us started on the different types of alcohol… 

With the changes in society, the beverage demand changes, too. Nowadays, people are a lot more health conscious than they used to be. This led to the rise of wellness drinks, such as CBD cocktails (see: benefits of CBD drinks). Dietary plans and restrictions are also ever-changing and led to the creation of vegan drinks and gluten-free beverages.

But do you want to know what else is on the rise? You guessed it - herbal beer and herbal spirits! And because we love to shed light on new and trendy topics in the beverage industry, we will dive deep into this one. 

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What Is Herbal Brewing? 

Herbal brewing is a brewing process that involves the infusion of various herbs, spices, and botanicals into beverages, primarily alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. 

It is an ancient practice that dates back centuries. Through it, plants are used to enhance the taste, aroma, and sometimes the medicinal properties of the final product. The process uses herbs (such as mint, thyme, and basil), spices (like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger), flowers (such as lavender or chamomile), and even roots (like licorice or ginger). 

Herbal brewing can be applied to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. In alcoholic brewing, herbs and botanicals are often used to create unique flavors in beer, wine, spirits (e.g., gin or absinthe), and liqueurs. In non-alcoholic brewing, herbal infusions are commonly used in teas, herbal sodas, and botanical-based water infusions.

Key Takeaway: Herbal beer and herbal spirits offer a huge variety of flavors to consumers. They are great to have on their own but also use them in cocktails. They will set any bar or restaurant business apart from the rest and give customers an exciting new experience. 

What’s the Difference Between Regular Beer and Herbal Beer?

The main difference between regular beer and herbal beer lies in the ingredients used during the brewing process. 
Regular beer is primarily made from water, malted barley (or other grains like wheat, corn, or rye), hops, and yeast. These are known as the core ingredients of beer. Herbal beer, on the other hand, incorporates a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, and other botanical ingredients into the brewing process. These botanicals are in addition to the standard beer ingredients. 

What’s the Difference Between Regular and Herbal Spirits?

What sets regular spirits apart from herbal spirits are the ingredients and their flavor profiles. Regular spirits, such as vodka, whiskey, rum, gin, and tequila, are primarily made from a base ingredient. The main ingredient can be grains, like barley, corn, rye, or sugarcane (for rum), grapes (for brandy), and agave (for tequila). 

Herbal spirits are infused or flavored with a variety of herbs, spices, fruits, flowers, and other botanical ingredients. Depending on the specific herbs and spices used, herbal spirits can have a wide range of flavor profiles, including herbal, floral, spicy, sweet, or bitter notes. The flavors and aromas of the spirits we are all used to, on the other hand, are primarily derived from the base ingredient, the distillation process, and any aging in wooden barrels. 

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The Health Benefits of Herbal Beer and Herbal Spirits

There are no clear numbers and stats about the benefits of herbal beer and herbal spirits. However, there are some theories about the health benefits people can reap when they switch from regular to herbal drinks.

Botanical ingredients have potential therapeutic properties. Still, it’s very important to consume any beverage, especially alcoholic ones, in moderation. Now, let’s look into some of the benefits that could come from drinking herbal drinks. 

Health Benefits of Herbal Beer:

  • Digestive Benefits - Some herbal beers, particularly those containing chamomile or ginger, may have digestive benefits. These herbs are known for their soothing properties and may help alleviate indigestion or nausea.
  • Antioxidant Properties - Certain herbs used in herbal beer, such as rosemary or thyme, contain antioxidants that can help reduce stress.
  • Calming Effects - Herbal beers with herbs like lavender or valerian root may have mild calming or relaxation effects, which can be beneficial for stress reduction.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects - Herbs like turmeric or ginger, often used in herbal beers, have anti-inflammatory properties that may provide some health benefits.

Health Benefits of Herbal Spirits

  • Digestive Benefits - Some herbal spirits, known as digestifs, are traditionally consumed after a meal to help with digestion. Ingredients like gentian root or peppermint may have digestive properties.
  • Healing Herbs - Some herbal spirits, such as Chartreuse, were historically used for their healing properties. However, these effects are not commonly observed in modern herbal spirits.
  • Aromatic Benefits - Herbal spirits are often used in mixology to add unique and complex flavors to cocktails. While these flavors may not offer direct health benefits, they can enhance the overall drinking experience. This is great for business owners looking to increase customer satisfaction and better the customer experience

Serving Herbal Beer and Herbal Spirits at a Restaurant

Offering diversity is always great when you are running a business in the hospitality industry. When you have a menu that includes various drinks that can suit different lifestyles and dietary restrictions. This helps cater to a larger audience and will have a lot many happy customers. 

By serving herbal beer and herbal spirits at your restaurant, you can introduce people to new flavors. You can use these drinks to create and offer unique drink and food pairings that will set your business apart from the competition. Just make sure to educate yourself on topics like can beer expire, how many beers are in a keg, and proper alcohol storage.

Don’t forget the fact that you can use herbal drinks to create new, unique cocktails. This is something you can use a lot in your restaurant marketing campaigns. You can have permanent offers, as well as create seasonal drinks based on the base flavors and aromas of the herbal spirits. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Herbal Beer and Herbal Spirits

Need to learn more about the unique herbal beer and herbal spirits you can offer? Here are some questions and their answers, which will give you more insights! 

What Herbs and Botanicals Are Commonly Used in Herbal Beer and Spirits?

The most common herbs and botanicals used in herbal beer and herbal spirits include mint, chamomile, lavender, thyme, rosemary, coriander, anise, ginger, cinnamon, etc. The choice of botanicals depends on the desired flavor profile. Brewers can create numerous combinations of botanicals, which will lead to new flavors and aromas every time. 

Can Herbal Beer and Spirits Be Gluten-Free or Vegan?

Herbal beers and spirits can be gluten-free and vegan, but not necessarily all of them. It depends on the ingredients used in the brewing or distillation process. Check product labels or consult with the manufacturer to ensure they meet specific dietary preferences.

Are There Non-Alcoholic Herbal Beer and Spirits Options?

While herbal beer and spirits typically contain alcohol, there are non-alcoholic herbal beers and alcohol-free herbal alternatives available. Each bottle must have a label where people can see the alcohol percentage. If you are serving herbal beer and herbal spirits at your restaurant, make sure to mark everything that’s non-alcoholic accordingly. 

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