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Subterranean bar launches low-alcohol spirit

A drinks entrepreneur who has made a name for himself by turning underground public conveniences into neighbourhood bars has launched Willow, a low-alcohol spirit.

Created in William Borrell’s subterranean neighbourhood bar, the Ladies and Gentlemen in Kentish Town, north London, the spirit’s name is a combination of his first name and ‘low’.

Willow has 4.4% ABV and its ingredients are a combination of a Calvados base, complemented with a blend of pineapple, star anise, cherry tomato, kaffir lime leaves and agave syrup. It has a retail price of £16.

This blend results in a clear, yet viscous, liquid that aims to be a “perfect option” for those looking for a lower ABV spirit. It has aromas of green apples and citrus dominate, with hints of tomato and flora. It can be served neat over ice or with tonic and a slice of fruit.

William Borrell said: “There’s obviously a boom in no/low alcohol spirits. I don’t have much time for most of the former, as I think the notion of no-alcohol spirits is a con – especially as the prices are outrageous and the production methods opaque. To be frank, I’d rather just buy a decent soft drink.

“However, there’s clearly a role for low-alcohol spirits – and Willow’s designed for those wanting all the cues of alcohol with a depth of taste.”

Borrell, who is also the founder of Polish craft vodka, Vestal, has just opened his latest below-ground bar L&G Camden opposite Camden Road railway station in the north west of the capital.

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