• Abstinence

ABSTINENCE Non-Alcoholic Spirits: Process of Distillation

Updated: Nov 26, 2021


At ABSTINENCE Non-Alcoholic Distilled Spirits, we live by our ethos to Restore Balance. This slogan encompasses all behaviours: from total abstinence to moderate drinking to taking occasional breaks from alcohol, all in the spirit of taking back the control and Restoring Balance in every aspect of your life.


Connecting people with the world of alcohol-free drinks is an essential part of helping people create and sustain lasting change. Expressions such as “mindful drinking” and “sober curious” have gone mainstream, and an entire “alcohol-free” or “sober” identity is being formed stretching across age, gender, and culture.


The process of distillation

According to a recent IWSR study, over 40% of the respondents surveyed listed one of their main reasons for drinking low/no alcohol beverages to avoid the effects of alcohol. Conversely, just under 40% said that they also like the taste of no/low alcohol beverages. This shows that there have been massive strides in getting much better quality, non-alcoholic beverages to consumers over the last year. But not all are created equally. Some products are, in fact, nothing more than flavoured water with a hefty price tag.

Our distillation process:


ABSTINENCE products are all premium, distilled non-alcoholic liquids.

  1. 24 Hours: Maceration

  2. 30 hours: Distilling (6 hours Still heat up time, 24 hours distillation)

  3. 5 Days: Marriage of Components

  4. 7 Days: Production time per product

  5. Tasted: Tested, bottled, packaged, palletised, and shipped

As makers of non-alcoholic spirits, we strive to create complex, nuanced flavours using botanicals, herbs, barks, and seeds. At ABSTINENCE we formulate our own mixtures specific to each product by using a combination of techniques:

  • Maceration: soaking the source of the desired flavour in a cold liquid.

  • Steam distillation: this extracts essential oils from the botanicals by passing steam through the ingredient.

  • Hydrosols: water-based products made from the distillation of fresh flowers, leaves, fruits, and other plant materials.

It’s this combination of maceration, infusions, steam distillations, and hydrosols that have produced award-winning liquids in some of the most respected international beverage competitions in the world.


Hero botanicals:

Abstinence Non-Alcoholic Products are made using our hero botanicals found in the Cape Floral Kingdom, the largest and most diverse floral Kingdom in the world.

Some of these include:

  • Buchu - great for detoxing and reported to improve kidney and renal function. Buchu imparts a blackcurrant taste depending on how its extracted. It is often used as a general tonic and has many reported medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and pain relief. (Present in the Cape Citrus, Lemon and Buchu Aperitif).

  • Honeybush - is full of anti-oxidants, is an anti-aging product that contains hesperidin and mangiferin, the latter being a unique polyphenol occurring only in honeybush. (Present in the Cape Spice, Epilogue X)

  • Rose Geranium - most literature focuses on the essential oil distilled from this plant. Most common properties are associated with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and sedative effects (Present in the Cape Fynbos)

  • Impepho - calming, anti-insomnia, spiritual state (Present in the Epilogue X)

  • African Wormwood - artemisia is great for pulmonary function, respiratory tract, clearing the head. Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial (Present in Blood Orange Aperitif, Lemon and Buchu Aperitif)

Distilling and Extraction, here’s the facts:

Ethanol, the type of alcohol we drink, is made naturally by the fermentation of sugars by yeast. Distillation reaches a higher concentration of alcohol by separating the components of a liquid mixture by exploiting differences in the relative boiling points of the mixture's components. In a traditional spirit distillation process, ethanol is converted into vapor and then condensed into a liquid. Distillers repeat the process several times until they achieve a desirable alcohol-to-water ratio. The familiar spirits, such as vodka, rum, or whiskey, are distilled in this way to obtain a higher concentration of alcohol than possible by fermentation alone. However, distillation can also be used to reduce the alcohol content, and that is exactly what some non-alcoholic products do. They start off with alcohol to extract and then remove it later in the process.


distillation process – meet our distiller

If you’ve ever mixed water and oil, you know that not all liquids are mixable, or even able to be mixed by employing clever techniques. Water, for example, is a polar molecule, while oil is non-polar. Alcohol sits in between: it has both polar and non-polar parts, meaning it can mix with either polar or non-polar molecules. This is what makes alcohol so good at carrying flavours. Since the alcohol evaporates readily, drink makers can then further distil the resulting mixture to remove most of the alcohol and concentrate the flavours. At ABSTINENCE however, we use completely different, alcohol-free methods to extract and carry flavour, but we can’t give away all the secrets. For one, it means that we readily have to use more of our botanicals and ingredients than you would with alcoholic extractions.


Restore your balance with ABSTINENCE Non-Alc Spirits

Changing drinking habits starts with making better choices. Better choices can be made if the products don’t compromise on liquid excellence. There are no cutting corners when it comes to producing quality products, and the same holds when producing every bottle of ABSTINENCE non-alcoholic spirit or Aperitif.


distillation process – restore balance

So when you shop, make sure you are, in fact, buying more than flavoured water with a hefty price tag. Try ABSTINENCE’s premium, distilled non-alcoholic drinks that are incredibly versatile mixing partners covering all drinking occasions.


Shop the ABSTINENCE range at online Cutler & Palmer

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