The REAL Drinks Co. exists so that everyone can live life, unconstrained, whether they’re drinking or not.
Back in 2017, we set out to innovate the alcohol-free offering in the UK. When developing our Sparkling Teas the team were determined to create a non-alcoholic wine alternative that not only tasted good, but paired exceptionally well with food.
Five years ago, REAL’s founder David had all but given up alcohol and found that there was a lack of choice in terms of alcohol-free drinks, he couldn’t find anything that paired with food in the same way as a wine. Knowing that there must be a better way than just removing the alcohol from a wine, which tends to also remove the flavour, he set about experimenting with fermentation.
How do we create our Sparkling Teas?
We are experts in fermentation, constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We found that tea leaves offer incredible complexity and have flavour profiles akin to the different grapes that winemakers use to make wine. After almost 2 years of playing around with fermentation and over 150 different teas in David’s garage, the team created a liquid with the depth of flavour he had been missing and shared it with the team at The Pig who became REAL’s very first listing.
When would I drink Sparkling Tea?
Most people can relate to the habit of cracking open a bottle or two of wine over Sunday lunch, with friends at the pub or at home after a long day at work, and you might be wondering where a Sparkling Tea fits into this routine. In our houses, Sparkling Tea and wine are completely interchangeable.
A glass of Sparkling Tea offers the same flavour and experience as a glass of wine, without leaving you with a headache the next day! Whether you’re trying to cut down on the midweek drinking or just can’t hack the alcohol anymore a glass of Sparkling Tea fits seamlessly into any occasion.
Our drinks are also the perfect leveller for when you are drinking but want to slow things down a bit! We always say that it’s not just about cutting the alcohol completely, lots of people are looking to moderate their consumption rather than becoming completely teetotal. We love to see dinner tables heaving with delicious food, adorned with a bottle of red, a bottle of white and a bottle of REAL.
Let us tell you a bit more about each of our Sparkling Teas…
REAL Royal Flush Sparkling Tea
The first in our line-up is Royal Flush. Fresh and floral with delicate notes of stone fruits and a touch of juicy blackcurrant, Royal Flush is our go-to for that perfect aperitivo moment.
Royal Flush is a crowd pleaser, pop a bottle over Sunday lunch and watch as it’s drunk alongside, or even better instead of, wine by your guests. Offering the perfect balance of floral top notes and a delicate acidity, Royal Flush is the perfect partner to rich roasted meats, creamy sauces and oily small plates.
But we’re not here to judge how you choose to drink REAL, it’s just as delicious enjoyed on its own while you cook dinner, or in front of a film in the evening alongside popcorn!
Royal Flush is made using the finest first flush Darjeeling tea, known in India as The Champagne of Teas. We work with a single tea garden in the Lesser Himalayas in Darjeeling, India which is north-facing and in sight of the world’s third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga.
The first flush refers to the very first tips of the tea that emerge in the springtime. We hand-pick these top buds before withering, rolling and gently oxidising them to capture the young, fresh and fragrant fruity notes of the tea in its raw state.
REAL Dry Dragon Sparkling Tea
Dry Dragon is our REAL alternative to a dry white Sparkling Wine. Light and crisp on the nose with notes of honeydew melon and a delicate leafy undertone. Dry and fresh on the palate with flavours of sweet lemons, grapefruit, and a gentle, nutty finish.
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing Sparkling tea that you can just keep drinking glass after glass of, then Dry Dragon’s for you. It is the ultimate sessionable Sparkling Tea and is well suited to all-day sunshine sipping.
The perfect pair to summer salads and shellfish, Dry Dragon’s light citrussy notes perfectly complement other fresh flavours. It’s also delicious when paired with pan-Asian dishes, so next time you knock up a delicious ramen, be sure to have a bottle of Dry Dragon chilling in the fridge!
Dry Dragon is made using the highest quality pan-roasted green tea from Hangzhou, Zheijiang province called Dragonwell. Otherwise known as Longjing, this tea originates from just eighteen tea bushes that were given special imperial status by the Qianlong Emperor during the Qing dynasty.
The leaves must be baked just after being picked to prevent oxidation and the transformation into a black tea. Longjing tea leaves are hand fired in big handfuls over a large open wok. This ensures that, when processed, the Dragonwell leaves have a distinctive, emerald-green, flat leaf and a delightfully unique fragrance of nuts and straw.
REAL Chaynyy Kvas Limited Edition
Chaynyy Kvas is our special ferment for 2022, conceived of in aid of those displaced or endangered by the terrible conflict in Ukraine. 100% of the profits raised on every bottle are donated to The Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
Our Chaynyy Kvas is a deliciously sweet and smokey Sparkling Tea, made using a robust Yunnan Black tea from southwest China. Pair it with barbequed meats, hard cheeses or, for a change, sweeter deserts - Ukrainian honey cake is a particularly good match!
Yunnan Black tea is a fully oxidised tea grown at high altitude. In its original state it is a full bodied black tea full of tannins with a smokey, earthy base and notes of honey, tobacco and malt which produce a woody aroma and a beautiful glowing amber colour. Through our fermentation process, the tea produces delightful smokey notes of stewed apple with caramel undertones.