Handcrafted in the Surrey Hills, Sipello marries a gooseberry-led blend of British ingredients such as rhubarb and the little known chuckleberry with sustainably sourced botanicals from around the world.
Led by sandalwood, gentian and wormwood, our botanicals are hand-picked, wild harvested and where certifiable, organic. It is a fruit-forward aperitif with a long bitter finish.
Sipello transcends occasion with its versatility, unique flavour and playfulness. It's a liquid love letter to the eccentric in all of us.
Creating the recipe
After almost 18 months of experimenting and blending batches at the distillery, we approached dozens of top bartenders in lockdown, many of which are household names with a batch we felt was close to the finished article. Most were happy to receive something different and new so Sipello’s Founder, Tim, would jump on his bike if they were in London and hand deliver them himself – much to their surprise.
In those moments on their doorsteps he’d explain what Sipello is but not how they should drink it because at this early stage, he wasn't sure himself. Delivering samples in time for Christmas and New Year's Eve in December, and then again in January and February, Tim cycled about 700km on his bike, often in temperatures that reached -3c!
When put in their hands for the first time, bartenders created riffs on dozens of classic cocktails.
We've seen Boulevardiers, Martinis, Americanos, Spritzes, Hugo’s, Garibaldi’s, Highballs, Lowballs and Negroni’s,
Top end bartenders have mixed Sipello with everything from gin, prosecco, sea salt, single malt whisky, coconut water and Champagne to mezcals, pale ales, fruit liqueurs and Elderflower Pressé’s.
The invaluable feedback, insight and suggestions these bartenders gave helped shape Sipello into the liquid it is now.
A Drinking Perfume
Sipello takes 4 weeks to make as we macerate many of the ingredients separately before blending the fruity-bitter liquid to give it depth, complexity, and a long finish.
We think of it as layering the flavours for a drinking perfume.
Some of the fruit is macerated fresh, some is picked and frozen before being pressed to keep the sugars locked in. We like to think of it as a similar concept to how they make ice wine.
We found that 22% abv was the right amount to bring out the best in the ingredients and along with the gentian give it the right mouthfeel.
Gooseberry is a subtle and stubborn fruit so it took a lot of experimentation to get the right flavour from it. Most of our fruit is sourced by a strawberry farmer in Kent where the fruit farmer trades her strawberries with farms that grow our fruits.
Terroir then plays its part in how Sipello tastes from batch to batch. Sometimes the fruit is sweet, sometimes it can be really aromatic or even tart so we have to find a balance to get that Sipello taste.
We then cuvee the liquid and let it all mellow for several days before bottling.
Sipello is unique in many ways; from the mix of flavours to the way it is traditionally made by hand to the final liquid which is often referred to as “unlike anything I’ve ever tasted”.
Unique in the way it involved the feedback of such a broad number of top bartenders from 5* hotels to dive bars and everything in between. Unique in not using colouring or artificial flavouring. Unique in that it was on cocktail menus in some of the UK’s most highly respected cocktail bars almost 5 months ahead of launch.
We set out to make something vivid, elegant, eccentric but also classic to go with soda. It took on a life of its own. The ingredients we use probably don’t make natural bedfellows like gooseberry and gentian and yet as an ensemble, they work beautifully and with genuine complexity.
Our final product is truly Different by Nature.