Hertfordshire-based drinks manufacturer, Kolibri, the world’s first adult bottled drinks customised to taste, has launched its first range. Alcohol-free, the trio of drinks offer distinctive botanical notes and sweetness adjusted to taste, designed exclusively for the prestige hospitality sector to appeal to health-conscious guests.
Kolibri is available in three distinctive and delicious flavours to complement a wide range of dishes, or to be enjoyed on their own: Strawberry & Basil; Cardamom & Chilli; Elderflower & Lime.
The range is completely customisable; the drink can be tailored to the individual’s taste with a separate patented cap filled with Kolibri drops, which can be added drop by drop to increase the flavour complexity and sweetness of the drink.
Co-founder and creator Kamila Sitwell (pictured) said that Kolibri is set to shake up the soft drinks category within the hospitality sector, believing the major suppliers have become complaisant, offering short-sighted and inadequate solutions to the sugar challenge, such as artificial sweeteners, diluted recipes and smaller packaging.
Sitwell explained, “It’s a sea of sameness out there. Sugar, like any natural ingredient, is only a problem when it’s over-engineered in recipes. Kolibri Drinks are designed to give guests complete control over their drinks’ taste and the sugar content.
'And the best part, the ‘twist in the cap’, is that Kolibri has no more than 40 Kcal per bottle even when all the Kolibri Drops are used.
“Modern customers want a healthy, great tasting and indulgent drink - all at the same time. They also want an experience, ritual and theatre in this area too. With the decline in alcohol consumption accelerating, influencer brands must offer and present alcohol-free drinks which will delight their guests which are on a par with their alcoholic creations.”
Until now soft drinks offered no such experiences. The new range is expected to be priced on menus at around £6 - £7, providing a premium soft drinks choice which doesn’t involve bar tender skills, and offers a good operating margin.
Sitwell is a soft drinks industry specialist who has developed the strategic direction for major soft drinks companies in the past. She had a ‘eureka’ moment when out dining with friends.
Sitwell said, “We all ordered homemade lemonade. It should have been an easy order for the barman, except it wasn’t! We all expected the drink to match our own taste preference. The barman had to re-create the order one drink at a time, mixed to each individual taste. All the insights, industry knowledge and trends I studied for years suddenly made so much sense – the future of the soft drinks must be bespoke.”
Kolibri have appointed Douglas Blyde, a gastronomy advisor to brands, drinks writer, and described as one of the most respected experts on eating out in the Capital, to advise on food pairings for the Kolibri range.
Blyde said, “I like the liberation of being able to accurately adjust the level of sweetness in my Kolibri according to mood or even the richness of an accompanying dish. This ‘dosage’ is comparable, believe it or not, to Champagne, where a base wine is finished with a ‘liqueur d’expédition’ which determines whether the formerly bone dry sparkling wine becomes Brut, Extra Sec, Extra Dry, Demi-Sec or Doux.
Taste an array of finely tuned botanical notes, brought forth in a new way with each measure of the carefully designed Kolibri drops. A theatre of flavours blended by you ensures a multi-sensory drinking experience.”