Optimist Botanicals Fresh


Optimist Botanicals Fresh

Distilled Spirit / Optimist Botanicals NA / 0.0%

Optimist Botanicals are artfully distilled botanical spirits that are completely free of alcohol. Designed to be mixed as you would a premium spirit. FRESH is inspired by verdant Topanga Canyon in the spring, after a rainstorm. Lush wet earth, cool clean air, and a warmth rising up from nature.

Some of the more interesting NA products to arrive on the scene in the past few years have been botanical based NA spirits. Some companies take the approach of trying to replicate the alcoholic cousin as closely as possible by adding elements that bring the same bite an alcholic spirit has. Other companies have embraced their own unique flavor profile while not trying to call themselves anything that would invoke an alcoholic spirit comparison.

Optimist has taken the latter approach by not only naming their products things like FRESH, BRIGHT and SMOKEY, but also actively promoting the ingredients that make it unique. In the case of FRESH, this is a long list of botanicals like juniper, cilantro and fennel. Sure, they say you might like their FRESH drink if you like botanical forward gins or herbal liqueurs, but that’s understandable given many people are trying to make the transition from their alcoholic favorites to find common ground in their new NA realities.

They lose me a bit with the comparison to fresh canyon air in the taste profile, but the product is proudly from Los Angeles and it might appeal to the free spirits of California that desire their drinks with an undercurrent of whimsy. After all, the product is called Optimist, and it’s clear that through their branding and social good efforts, they are trying to create a beverage that speaks to the optimists in all of us.

Optimist FRESH Review

I have to say, of all the beverages we try here at Lo2No, I am typically most impressed with the packaging from the spirits companies. Coming in a sturdy cardboard box, the unboxing feels like that of a tech product or a piece of designer clothing. With quotes like “Inspired by the varied landscapes and diverse cultures of Los Angeles”, Optimist is trying to set the mood before you take the first sip. And the bottle doesn’t dissapoint either. A thick, clear glass bottle with a clean label and a beautiful scene of botanicals on the inside of the back label continue to transport you into the Optimist world. I removed the glass stopper and was excited to dive into my experience with Optimist FRESH.

Is Optimist FRESH Good?

It’s recommended to pair 1 part Optimist FRESH with 2-3 parts club soda or tonic water. I chose to pair with San Pellegrino and a hefty serving of ice cubes. While there are also cocktail recipes and more advanced pairings, I like to keep my drinks clean when reviewing so I can get the truest sense of flavor and understand the subtleties. On the nose, in my first taste and in the finish, the dominating flavors to me were of fennel and cilantro with oregano as a tertiary flavor. As many can imagine, these ingedients have very distinct flavors in nearly any dish or drink they are added to and it’s no different here. Other ingredients I would have expected to pop like habanero or lime peel were not noticable in my tastes. Obviously, everyone has a unique palate, so they might identify other ingredients, but those are the ones that stuck with me.

I believe the name FRESH is totally appropriate here as unlike most other NA spirits I’ve consumed over the years, this one totally left my mouth and throat feeling fresh and clean after each sip. It’s a distinctly strong flavor, but it’s not overbearing or offputting. And as you ratchet up the mix of soda water and Optimist FRESH towards the FRESH part of the equation it follows a linear path of strong flavor and after taste. This would certainly impress people that are trying their first NA spirit and they couldn’t argue that it’s bland. In my opinion, not only is a basic combo with soda water (or mineral water in my case) the easiest way to understand the identity of the drink, but it’s also the ideal way to consume it.

Optimist FRESH Rating

There is something I haven’t mentioned about FRESH yet that gives it a leg up over many competitors and would appeal to many discerning and healthy consumers out there. FRESH has no calories, no sugar and no artifical flavoring. I personally stop consuming calories each night after an earlier dinner, but there are times I’d love a NA drink while winding down for the evening. It’s almost a given to rule out a NA beer or NA wine in that situation, but a cocktail of Optimist FRESH plus soda water — it checks that box!

Optimist seems to be forging it’s own path and embracing it’s own identity. While FRESH is the first Optimist product I have consumed, I am very pleased with the approach from their packaging to the after taste. I think they can win the NA newcomers and impress the veterans with a uniquely bold beverage that stands strong on the (NA) liqueur shelf.

I was debating whether this was a 4 or a 5. It’s very good and close to being the perfect NA spirit, but that’s a limiting moniker when there is such strong competition over the world. In thinking through the taste profile combined with zero calories or sugar, it pushed me over the hump. I am rating the Optimist FRESH spirit our highest honor, a 5/5 for a job well done!

Photos Credit: