By Lyre's Spirit Co
9th Mar 2020
Lyre's Non-Alcoholic Spirits are created not by distillation, but the meticulous blending of natural essences and extracts by our flavor architect, David Murphy.
Left to right: Mark Livings, Lyre's CEO, David Murphy, Lyre's Flavor Architect
We believe this painstaking process delivers a far superior result to that of first distilling an alcoholic spirit, only to put it through a secondary process that strips out the alcohol, and with it, much of the flavor.
Constructing non-alcoholic spirits the Lyre's way can only be done by someone with profound sensory ability, which is where David comes in.
We call him our flavor architect, and there is a reason why he is one of Australia's most respected sommeliers, with a CV that includes stints at Sydney's acclaimed restaurants Rockpool and Ash St Cellar.
Having since founded the successful wine bar and restaurant One Penny Red, Lyre's is privileged to have accessed David's talent to create non-alcoholic spirits that are almost indiscernible from the real thing.
"The whole basis of Lyre's was an ode to the original products," he says.
"We really want to make our spirits as close as possible to the originals, re-creating their true flavor so they can be easily substituted in their favourite mixed drinks.
"When people are having a gin and tonic or a negroni, or whatever it may be, it should still taste the same as it would have if it was an alcoholic version.
"People might want to change their own drinking styles or preferences in regards to alcohol, but they won't need to in relation to flavor."
It seems the critics agree that David is pretty good at what he does. Renowned wine writer Max Allen recently said he was"really quite impressed" with the Lyre's negroni, made with our Italian Orange, Apéritif Rosso and Dry London Spirit.
David says he approaches the challenge of crafting the Lyre's spirits as you would blending a wine, by experimenting with combining each flavor component in different percentages.
Of course, there was the added challenge of replicating the mouthfeel and flavor contribution of alcohol.
"When you're tasting a wine, you're looking at glycerol characters, which influence weight and how it finishes to lengthen the palate," he says.
"Depending on which product, we've used a small amount of chilli or pepper-based extracts, that add length and carry to the palate and give a bit of a false alcoholic burn.
"There was quite a lot of intense work on that. It was a bit like reverse-engineering a tasting note for a wine, where you pull out all the flavor and aroma notes one-by-one.
"That wine tasting philosophy was carried throughout the process of making each of the products that Lyre's has released so far."