Sip on these clean, vegan botanicals from Optimist Drinks

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Optimist Drinks is offering a new line of clean, vegan and non-alcoholic botanical spirits. Launched out of Los Angeles, the brand keeps sustainable and ethical practices in mind as it provides drinks made without alcohol, sugar or additives. Optimist Drinks pairs its focus on minimizing environmental impact with a physical and mental wellness mission to back it up.

A drink with pineapple garnish.

To satisfy the needs of a “mindful drinking” movement, the Optimist Botanicals line uses thoughtfully sourced ingredients. The final product has no sugar, sodium, carbs or calories. So what is it made of? Optimist Botanicals offers three blends: BRIGHT, FRESH and SMOKEY. The creators call them “a liquid love letter to Los Angeles.” Each is a unique flavor reminiscent of LA’s various ecosystems.

Related: Proud Pour wines and cider benefit bees, oceans and coral reefs

A fizzing drink.

Botanicals inspired by Los Angeles

BRIGHT is a “sensory journey to salt-sprayed coastlines.” FRESH takes you to verdant canyons, while SMOKEY explores California’s arid desert. These flavors were inspired not only by the environment but by the diverse cultures, landscapes and mindsets of Los Angeles. The creators, husband and wife Tommy Johnstone and Lisa Farr Johnstone, say that despite the popularity of the increasingly crowded NoLo (no and low) alcoholic drinks space, a clean and complex offering was missing.

The Optimist Botanicals line was created with the help of a master distiller in downtown Los Angeles, using 15 unique botanical distillates and a range of extraction methods. The steam, vacuum, and CO2 extraction methods are “clean” and commonly used in perfume making or cannabis extraction. Optimist Drinks uses them to retain the true essence of every botanical for authentic flavor.

A shadowy shot of an Optimist bottle.

Sustainably sourced botanical ingredients

Sustainable farming and supply practices were paramount in sourcing ingredients for the Optimist Botanicals line. With ingredients sourced from all over the world, the company took special care to maintain sustainable and ethical standards.

This careful sourcing results in distinct and high-quality flavor profiles that pair beautifully with other ingredients like fresh fruit and herbs for fun mocktail creations. Combine the flavor profiles to create mocktails like the Professor Plum (recipe here).

A spread of fruit and drinks.

BRIGHT – Venice Beach

BRIGHT is inspired by Venice Beach and contains notes of citrus, sherbet, salt and sunshine. Flavors include lemon, jasmine, green mandarin, lavender, turmeric, cornmint, orange, tangerine, fennel, cinnamon and myrrh. If you ever wished you could drink your clean incense or favorite body oils, this is your drink. Venice Beach brings with it the elements of sun, surf, sand and bright outdoor fun. Optimist Drinks describes the taste as “a lemony vodka.”

An Optimist bottle next to a glass of clear drink.

FRESH – Topanga Canyons in spring

FRESH reflects on the green Topanga Canyons after a late spring rain. The drink includes notes of wild herbs and leaves, pine, juniper berries, cilantro, lime peel, fennel, lovage, basil, angelica root, red thyme, tarragon, jasmine, habanero for a southern California kick, oregano and tangerine. Angelica root, a refreshing herb used for everything from medicine to perfume, lends a unique note to this floral drink. Optimist Drinks like FRESH to “a botanical gin.”

A glass next to a bottle and pink florals.

SMOKEY – High Desert at sunset

If you love the southwest desert at sunset, SMOKEY is the drink for you. This flavor’s tasting notes include warming bonfire, bittersweet and spice. Key botanicals in SMOKEY include Lapsang Souchong, bitter red orange, clove, ginger, sage, turmeric, bergamot, cinnamon leaf, habanero, geranium, valencia orange, and jasmine. Geranium, a type of wild rose, pairs with sweet jasmine flowers to set this scent profile off with a comforting twist. Optimist Drinks describes SMOKEY as similar to “a smooth tequila.”

A green drink.

Why Optimist Drinks?

Optimist Drinks says it has a mission beyond just giving people new choices to experiment with their drinking rituals. The brand wants to help people enhance their social connections and mental and social wellbeing. To this end, Optimist is launching In Progress, a bi-weekly podcast focused on helping people build a practice of optimism.

“The founders of Optimist Drinks are building a company with integrity, purpose and one that is genuinely sustainable,” a press release stated. “There has never been a more crucial time for optimism, and Optimist believes that people deserve the freedom to experiment with their drinking rituals and strengthen their social connections without compromising their physical and mental wellbeing.”

The company will also direct 2% of all sales to help underserved youth access mental wellbeing services. Optimist Drinks’ non-profit launch partner in LA is a Safe Place for Youth, a Venice Beach-based organization that empowers young people experiencing homelessness by providing community-driven solutions.

Welcome to the year of the Optimist, says Optimist Botanicals. And honestly, maybe the time for cynicism and skepticism has passed. The world needs all hands on deck, and it can not hurt to have clean drinks along for the ride. A 16.9-ounce bottle of Optimist is available here for $ 35.

+ Optimist Drinks

Images via Optimist Botanicals



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