Monday, 9 May 2016

Roots Soda Co. Howl at The Hanging Bat.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about creating drinks with as little sugar as possible. In February we released our first ever low-sugar soda, I Need My Girl, and we’ve been tinkering away on more low-sugar offerings ever since. Today we are launching Roots Soda Co.’s second low-sugar soda: Howl.

Howl is a Grapefruit, Orange, Chilli and Smoked Paprika soda. Like I Need My Girl, we have made this drink by using nearly 40% fruit and vegetable juices, as well as herbs and spices, allowing us to create a soda rich in flavour, but low in sugar. Unlike I Need My Girl, rather than being a totally new drink, Howl is a remake of Hoodoo from our core range.

We’ve always had a holistic approach to soda. We are trying to make the healthiest drinks possible from real ingredients with absolutely nothing artificial, and to do that we believe that every part of our sodas must be of the highest quality possible; from the ingredients we use, to the way we make them. A huge part of making healthy, high quality sodas is keeping their sugar levels as low as possible.

Our earliest sodas, Hoodoo and Kaleidoscope, were free from artificial ingredients and packed full of fresh fruit juices but, because of the high levels of sugar naturally present in the fruits used, they were still too high in sugar. They were our first attempts, and a vast improvement on mainstream alternatives, but we wanted to do better. Since then we have learned how to make drinks with a lot less sugar and have introduced a soda with 69% less sugar than most other soft drinks. In our eyes, it would be irresponsible of us if our drinks didn’t all have such low sugar contents.

We decided to update Hoodoo and Kaleidoscope to finish what we started by bringing their sugar levels down. We tried to improve these drinks simply by modifying their recipes but, due to the ingredients used, sugar levels would always stay quite high. Instead, we realised we would need to create completely new drinks which have the same sort of feel and flavours as Hoodoo and Kaleidoscope, but using different ingredients to make them lower in sugar.

First up is Howl, our newest creation and a Grapefruit, Orange, Chilli and Smoked Paprika soda. Hoodoo was inspired by Mexican flavours, and we wanted to create a drink which had the same refreshing qualities and feisty bite. We looked to other common Mexican ingredients in order to provide a similar palate and taste. Howl maintains Hoodoo’s citrus punch and chilli kick but has its own unique flavour provided by new ingredients not found in Hoodoo, such as Grapefruit, Smoked Paprika and Beetroot.

When we came up with Hoodoo our primary concern was creating a great-tasting drink using only natural ingredients. We mixed together some amazing flavours, but they resulted in a high-cost product. At Roots Soda Co. we believe that well made food and drinks should be accessible to everyone, rather than being exclusive products with a premium price tag. We want to make each of our new drinks using ingredients which are easier to source and lower in cost, meaning that they can be available at an RRP of £1.85.

Some of Hoodoo’s ingredients, such as pomegranates, are really expensive. Because we wanted to keep Howl true to the flavours of Hoodoo, we had to be quite creative when developing this soda to find alternative ingredients with the same character and taste profiles as pomegranates. We did some research and discovered that in the past, soda producers would use fruits such as cherries mixed with cloves to recreate a pomegranate flavour. We took inspiration from this and used a combination of beetroot and cloves to provide the earthy taste and mouthfeel of pomegranates in Howl, but at a much lower cost than using pomegranates themselves.

We wanted to release Howl as soon as possible so we haven’t yet had nutritional analysis carried out to confirm the final sugar contents of this soda. We will be doing this soon, but because of the quantities and ingredients used in the recipe we already have a pretty good idea of what this will be. Howl will be close in sugar contents to I Need My Girl, and will be lower in sugar than its inspiration, Hoodoo, and substantially lower than other premium and craft sodas on the market.

At Roots Soda Co. we see naturally low-sugar drinks as the way forwards. Now that we know it is possible to create sodas with lots of fruit and vegetable juices, but very little sugar, we don’t want to be making our drinks in any other way. So over the coming months we will be working on new low-sugar additions to our line. Until then, we are launching Howl today at the Hanging Bat, Edinburgh, where it will be available on tap. Howl will be available in bottles shortly, and I Need My Girl is already available in bottles from certain stockists.

Howl’s full ingredients are: Orange Juice, Beetroot, Raw Cane Sugar, Cayenne Chilli Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Coriander Seeds, Cloves and Smoked Paprika.



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