Sip these clean, vegan plants from Optimist Drinks

Optimist Drinks offers a new line of clean, vegan and alcohol-free botanical spirits. Launched in Los Angeles, the brand keeps sustainable and ethical practices in mind by offering drinks that are alcohol-free, sugar-free and additive-free. Optimist Drinks combines its goal of minimizing environmental impact with a mission of physical and mental well-being to support it.

To satisfy the needs of a ‘conscious consumption’ movement, the Optimist Botanicals range uses carefully selected ingredients. The final product contains no sugar, sodium, carbohydrates 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 the different ecosystems of Los Angeles.

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

A sparkling drink.

Plants inspired by Los Angeles

BRIGHT is a “sensory journey to saline coasts”. FRESH takes you through verdant canyons, while SMOKEY explores the arid California desert. These flavors were inspired not only by the environment, but also by the diverse cultures, landscapes and mindsets of Los Angeles. Creators, husband and wife Tommy Johnstone and Lisa Farr Johnstone, say that despite the popularity of the increasingly crowded NoLo (no and low) liquor space, it lacked a clean, complex offering.

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

A dark photo of a bottle of Optimist.

Sustainably sourced botanical ingredients

Sustainable farming and sourcing practices were paramount in sourcing ingredients for the Optimist Botanicals range. With ingredients sourced from around the world, the company has taken particular care to maintain sustainable and ethical standards.

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

A variety of fruits and drinks.

BRIGHT – Venice Beach

BRIGHT is inspired by Venice Beach and contains notes of citrus, sorbet, salt and sunshine. Flavors include lemon, jasmine, green mandarin, lavender, turmeric, field mint, orange, tangerine, fennel, cinnamon and myrrh. If you’ve ever wished you could drink your own incense or your 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”.

A bottle of Optimist next to a glass of clear drink.

FRESH – Topanga Canyons in Spring

FRESH reflects on the green Topanga Gorge after a late spring rain. The drink includes notes of wild herbs and leaves, pine, juniper berries, coriander, 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 compares FRESH to “a botanical gin”.

A glass next to a bottle and pink flowers.

SMOKEY – High Desert at sunset

If you love the desert southwest at sunset, SMOKEY is the drink for you. Tasting notes for this flavor include warming bonfire, bittersweet, and spice. Major 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, combines with sweet jasmine flowers to enhance this scent profile with a comforting touch. Optimist Drinks describes SMOKEY as being similar to “smooth tequila”.

A green drink.

Why Optimist Drinks?

Optimist Drinks says its mission goes beyond simply giving people new choices to experience their drinking rituals. The brand wants to help people improve their social connections and their mental and social well-being. To this end, Optimist is launching In progressa bi-weekly podcast aimed at helping people develop a practice of optimism.

“The founders of Optimist Drinks are building a company with integrity, purpose and truly sustainability,” said a Press release declared. “There has never been a more crucial time for optimism, and Optimist believes people deserve the freedom to experiment with their drinking rituals and strengthen their social connections without compromising their physical and mental well-being.”

The company will also direct 2% of all sales to help underserved youth access mental wellness services. Optimist Drinks’ nonprofit launch partner in Los Angeles is Safe Place for Youth, a Venice Beach-based organization that empowers homeless youth by providing community-driven solutions.

Welcome to the Year of the Optimist, says Optimist Botanicals. And honestly, maybe the days of cynicism and skepticism are over. The world needs everyone on deck, and it can’t hurt to have clean drinks on the ride. A 16.9 ounce bottle of Optimist is available here for $35.

+ Optimistic Drinks

Images via Optimist Botanicals

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