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Ethics, alchemy, and extracting chocolate with Blue Sky.

We're passionate about sourcing the best ingredients. It makes all the difference between a good and great tasting drink. One of our suppliers is a company called Blue Sky Botanics. You'll find their ingredients in most of our drinks and we've been so impressed by their ethos that we invited Daniel Jones, head of innovation, to chat about what they do. 

Where do you source your raw ingredients from?

We work with local foraging experts as well as directly with farmers & traders all over the world.  We are experts in sourcing authentic botanicals from fully traceable & ethical sources.  Our botanicals are carefully selected to ensure that we source only the very best tasting herbs, spices and fruits.

You’re a bit like alchemists, how do you magically infuse your extracts?

If we go to that much effort sourcing these wonderful botanicals, it is only right that we treat them with the respect they deserve. We don’t apply any heat, all of our infusions are cold. This helps to capture the wonderful delicate flavour profiles, as well as being good for you by extracting all of the ‘good’ molecules.

It’s basically like magic. We infuse a botanical for a set amount of time, press it, filter it and in the end we have created a fantastic natural liquid extract.  All made by hand on our organic farm, nestled in the beautiful British countryside.

How do you come up with new ideas?

We have an amazing team of passionate people (and I’m a trained chef that helps). We look at trends, history, science and flavour pairing, and basically just play until we achieve something amazing.

If we can source it, we can extract it. So that narrows it down to thousands of botanicals – herbs, spices, flowers, fruits – basically anything that is edible from a plant.

We specialise in bespoke blends and our most recent one was inspired by the aromas of a Poire belle Hélène (or Poached Pear if you are not a chef) … Star Anise, Cassia, Vanilla. And when this is married with an apple or pear juice – WOW!

Tell us about some of the ideas you’re currently working on?

We are currently working on a range of ‘shrubs’ – acidulated fruit based drinks with botanicals. With people's palettes changing and wanting less refined sugar in their diets, we look to naturally sweet botanicals and the use of vinegar to enhance and balance flavour profiles.

We also like to use waste products, thus helping the environment. I also happen to be a trained Chocolatier so very passionate about cacao. During the chocolate process the outer husk of the bean is removed and discarded, but there is so much flavour and aroma still left in there. We decided to extract it and what-do-you-know we have an amazing chocolatey extract … fruity, creamy and complex. Add a splash to your favourite cocktail or spice up your coconut water. You will be amazed!

Another exciting thing we make are hydrolats (or floral waters). These are normally made as a bi-product of the essential oil business (think rose water, orange blossom water), but they are only really available where there is a market for the essential oil. We don’t make essential oils, but we do make incredible floral waters and the beauty is that we can use any botanical. The advantage is a crystal clear liquid (perfect to drop into waters or tonics) that has the most wonderful floral top notes that you just wouldn’t get from an extract. Fresh herbs, zingy citrus or aromatic spices – they have to be tried to be believed!