Most of us enjoy the occasional tipple or two, and when it comes to drinking for a good cause, well, there is even more reason to enjoy this favourite pastime of ours. “Good cause” you ask? I too, was thirsty for answers and so I headed to Hackney to quench my curiosity. Arriving in Hackney Central and navigating with a mobile app through its alleyways, my friend and I arrived at our destination – the Arches in Hackney. A trendy space as one would expect – we walked through a corridor where skateboards lined up the walls and a ping-pong table occupied the middle of the room. We headed to the back bar area with a view of an immaculate looking micro-distillery, which resembled an art installation.
The reason for our visit was to help celebrate the collaboration of Lemonaid and ChariTea, a German enterprise, with a new micro-distillery Our/ London in Hackney. Together they stirred up a new summer drink, already a favourite on the German bar and club scene – Vodka/Mate.
We were eager to find out more and learn what this ‘good drinking’ was all about, so we walked over to the bar and ordered Vodka/ Mate. If this wasn’t intriguing enough, the drink also came with its own instructions. There were four steps of action to complete before we could enjoy this peculiar drink.
Firstly, we took a sip from the ice-cold bottle of Mate, ChariTea’s organic sparkling tea drink made from Yerba mate tea. Secondly, after the first sip, we passed it back to the bartender, who topped it up with vodka, completing the third step. And the last step, the most familiar one – we grabbed the bottle back and started sipping our Vodka/Mate. It might seem like a drag, but after the first round, you are guaranteed to become a pro. You even get a straw hand-made from hay with it!
Mate is one of the four ChariTea’s organic teas on offer, and it holds a “Great Taste Award”. The Yerba mate tea, which originates from South America and Mate is made from, is also known as “the drink of the gods”. It is believed to have the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and euphoria of chocolate”.
I am not a big fan of tea, but even to me, Vodka/Mate tasted delicious! It was light, slightly sparkling and very refreshing.
We couldn’t resist the other combinations on offer and also tried Lemonaid’s Blood Orange with Vodka – also utterly delicious.
All Lemonaid and ChariTea drinks are organic and Fairtrade, free from artificial sweeteners, flavourings and preservatives, and what is more, they also give back to the farming communities. Every bottle sold means 5 pence for the Lemonaid and ChariTea e.V. – a non-profit organisation, which recently raised a whooping £1million for “development aid projects, including education, childcare, mental health and infrastructural initiatives”.
Julian Warowioff, the UK Founder said: “We started the Lemonaid & ChariTea project with the vision of turning the for-profit sector on its head. Being firm believers that businesses should not merely benefit their shareholders, we set out to prove that a soft drink can be a successful means to fundraising. Whilst the Social Enterprise is quickly growing, we stay true to our principles of immediacy and transparency, visiting the social projects annually and building long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with the farming communities. As an example, we are currently working with our rooibos tea growers in South Africa to co-finance the expansion of their cultivation area, allowing them to increase their yield and providing more members of the co-operative access to partake in organic rooibos farming.”
These are drinks that not only taste amazing, they also do incredible things in return. They are stocked in all over the country, from Whole Foods to Planet Organic to Rough Trade East, and in over 150 independent stores and cafes.
What’s more, a cute four-bottle summer pack of Lemonaid, ChariTea and Our/ London Vodka is now available at Selfridges. Handy to pick up on your way to a picnic or a summer party, it comes with an added feel-good factor that you are helping communities across South America.