One of the most interesting alcohol trends to come about recently is the growing popularity of non-alcoholic or low-alcohol by volume (ABV) drinks. The reality is that many people are embracing a new relationship with drinking. Some are mindfully reducing their intake, while others are periodically taking breaks from alcohol.
Personally, I don’t feel the need to drink as much alcohol as I used to. In 2021 especially, I’m honestly just happy to be able to go to a bar with our friends again. Being out in the world provides a feeling of excitement that I missed from the lockdowns and uncertainty of the pandemic of 2020. One doesn’t need a lot of alcohol to achieve that feeling. With this in mind, it makes sense that alcohol-free beverages are becoming more popular in the industry. One of my current favorites? The Pathfinder Hemp & Root.
The Pathfinder Hemp & Root is a fermented and distilled hemp-based liquid that has all the intense flavor and aromatic characteristics of a spirit, but none of the harmful effects of an alcoholic beverage. It’s made from fermented and distilled hemp, plus other wild ingredients such as Douglas fir, sage, juniper, saffron, wormwood and angelica root. The unmatched herbaceous flavor and versatility makes this zero-proof elixir delicious on its own, or added into other drinks.
The Pathfinder was born out of a simple question: what will the back bar of the future look like? Three proven trailblazers in their respective fields set out to answer that question with a spirit that only they could dream up. Guy Escolme, expert brand builder with 22 years of experience at Diageo, Chris Abbott, founder of Mr. Moxey’s, a cannabis industry pioneer, and Steven Grasse, founder of Quaker City Mercantile, creator of Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum, combined their expertise to create this iconic alcohol-free spirit.
I sat down with co-founder Chris Abbott and brand ambassador Kraig Rovensky at Life of Mars in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we sampled some delicious Pathfinder concoctions. Chris made a very interesting point while discussing the new alcohol trends: “You have to think of it as an adventure, rather than a break or sacrifice. We have to reframe how we think about cutting back on drinking.”
The Pathfinder is about creating something new, changing perspective, and breaking the monotony. None of the three founders are teetotalers (someone who practices abstinence from alcohol)—they just wanted to try something different and are following the trends of people wanting to drink less.
“When you think of the future of the back bar, non-alcoholic and cannabis drinks will be a part of it,” said Chris.
The Pathfinder can be sipped neat, enjoyed on the rocks, used as the base of a cocktail, or even served with coffee, making it a valuable addition to the back bar of forward-thinking restaurants, bars, cafes, as well as the home bar carts of mindful spirits fans. My personal favorite way to enjoy it is either in a spritz with seltzer water and an orange slice, or in a Negroni, taking the place of sweet vermouth.
The Pathfinder Hemp & Root is now available for purchase online ($35), and is currently available to enjoy at a growing list of bars and restaurants in Seattle, as well as Philadelphia and New York City. The Pathfinder Cannabis Spirit, containing THC, will land in licensed Seattle and Portland cannabis retailers soon.