Simon and I love discovering innovative new products and meeting their creators, as there is often an interesting story behind their creation. We continue our series of blog posts on fermented and preserved food & drink, a hot topic and growing trend.
Binary Botanical is one such story of fermentation and so much more. Brewed like a beer, drunk like a wine, created in Woking Surrey, brewed in Sussex in U.K., lower in alcohol, gluten free, vegan, gently sparkling, a unique refreshing taste, great with food and in cocktails. I was definitely intrigued to find out more. Danielle, Binary’s creator is a Master Brewer, with a background in Chemical Engineering & Innovation, unique within brewing, an Industry that has traditionally been dominated by men. Craft beer has evolved and grown with a big influence from USA craft brewers and now in the U.K. and beyond. Danielle realised the market was aimed at men. Everything from the taste of a bitter full on IPA style, high in malty taste, to the names and label design, and the alcohol content too. She wanted to create a table beer, more delicate in taste, very food friendly, and something slightly healthier, lower in calories and alcohol. A beer that would be about ‘savouring the moment’ all of us could enjoy as a refreshing drink that would enhance not compete with the food. So something complementary and experiential, vegan, and the most important criteria- a great taste!
So does Binary Botanical deliver?
It certainly does, gently sparkling with a taste that reminds me of a dry fruity white wine with hints of elderflower. Served chilled and in a wine or champagne glass, a great alternative to Prosecco with 4% alcohol / vol , which is only 0.5 units of alcohol in a 125 ml glass.
The fruit flavours are complex with hints of pomegranate, peach, guava, grapefruit , pepper and rosemary- refreshment in a glass!
So how did Danielle achieve this? By creating a light beer and infusing it for 5 days with organic hop leaves. The name Binary has a dual meaning. It refers to the bine or stem of the hop plant. Traditionally beer is made with the cone shaped hop flowers, that impart the bitter characteristic. Binary is also a language used in computer processing made up of a series of characters 0 and 1. So from two digits a whole language was created, and Binary takes a similar approach combining simple ingredients and creating something complex in character, with no compromise on taste and quality. So the name Binary really reflects the ‘science & technology meets art’ approach to create this botanical drink.
After drinking it I was inspired to create some recipes to utilise its complex fruity flavour. I decided to create two granita recipes that are easy to make and a perfect dessert for the May Bank Holiday Weekend in U.K. , Memorial Day Holiday in USA and a Summers Day where ever you live. Binary Botanical is available on line and in independents in U.K., check out their website, on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter @binarybotanical. If you can’t manage to get hold of Binary, although I urge you to try it (list of stockists or on line from their website below), I have included an alternative. The recipes are vegan, and can be made alcohol free and without refined sugar.
Binary Botanical, Lime & Lemon Thyme Granita
Ingredients ( serves 4-6):
1 x 250 ml bottle of Binary Botanical or alternatively Fever Tree Tonic Water with no artificial sweetener
Zest and juice of 1 lime
25ml of caster sugar ( I used golden) or agave syrup
75 ml cold water
20 fresh lemon thyme leaves washed ( or use standard thyme)
Optional: If you use tonic you could also add a 25 ml measure of gin
Add the sugar ( or agave syrup ) and water to a small saucepan and heat gently for 3-5 minutes until fully dissolved. Take off the heat and add the lemon thyme leaves to infuse until cool.
Add the Binary Botanical ( or tonic water & gin , if using), lime zest and juice and stir to combine. Add this to a shallow metal baking tray.
The easiest method is to put the tray into an empty drawer in the freezer and then add the liquid to avoid any spills.
Freeze for 30 minutes, then carefully remove from freezer and use a fork to break up the mixture that will start to freeze around the edge.
Put back in the freezer, freeze for 30 minutes and repeat 3 times so the granita is made after 2 hours of freezing and forking the mixture. Transfer to a lidded container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Watermelon, Binary Botanical, Mint & Lime Granita
Ingredients ( serves 4-6):
350g fresh watermelon cut into chunks & seeds removed
1 x 250 ml bottle of Binary Botanical or alternatively you could use Prosecco. If you want to make alcohol free just add 250g of extra watermelon.
25ml agave syrup ( or caster sugar)
15 fresh mint leaves washed & finely shredded
Zest and juice of 1/2 fresh lime
Blitz the watermelon in a food processor or blender until a pulp. Sieve out any remaining seeds.
Add the agave syrup ( or sugar) and water to a small saucepan and heat for 3-5 minutes until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the shredded mint leaves to infuse until cool.
Add the watermelon pulp, Binary Botanical ( or Prosecco), lime zest and juice and combine.
Freeze in a shallow metal baking dish using the method in the 1st recipe above, forking the mixture to break up the ice crystals.
Binary Botanical Granita – Summer Refreshment in a Glass! Thanks Danielle Master Brewer & creator and Tamar, Binary’s Marketing Manager for a refreshing fermentation story- Cheers!