Mahala Botanical was created by South African distiller, Danielle Schoeman, who wanted to create the perfect recipe that combined a range of botanicals from her farm. After some months of testing and trialling different ingredients Danielle created Mahala (Zulu word for ‘free’) which uses nine different botanicals to create its unique flavour.
The botanical ingredients (such as clove, orange, angelica root, buchu, cassia bark and honeybush) undergo a triple-distillation process in custom-built vacuum stills before being bottled, packaged and sent on to thirsty drinkers.
I tried Mahala both neat and with a mixer. In the case of the mixer I added a couple of shot measures of Mahala to a small bottle of Crodino (Italian Aperitivi) along with some ice to make a refreshing cocktail. So did this award-winning (Best Low/No Alcohol Spirit at the Michelangelo International Spirit Awards) live up to expectations? Well, you’ll just need to read my review below to find out.
Is Mahala any good?
As mentioned above I tried this neat and with a mixer. Drinking it neat you can appreciate the complexity of all the flavours that have gone into it. I found it incredibly floral in taste with an underlying subtle bitterness that worked to balance it out. By itself, it had no body and was too watery for my liking (a bit like Seedlips botanical) but when I added the bittersweet mixer to Mahala it brought the drink alive and made for a wonderfully refreshing cocktail.
Aroma & Appearance
Well, this drink certainly tests your senses. Close your eyes and take a whiff and you are hit with all sorts of scents. I picked out honey, oranges and to some extent classic gin ‘juniper’ smells. Mahala is itself naturally clear but the Crodino gave it an orangey look in the glass.
When you’re not going to put on the pounds drinking Mahala as it contains no calories, no alcohol and is suitable for both vegans and gluten-free drinkers. I also like the packaging – simple and natural-looking. It isn’t the easiest alcohol-free spirit to find but you can locate it on a couple of online specialist sites.
Buy Mahala Botanical?
At the time of writing, you can find this drink on the following retailer’s site.
When it comes to alcohol-free spirits, Masters Of Malt has a great selection on offer. Choose from premade cocktails as well as bottles of non-alcoholic spirits.
COST (at time of publication) – £27
– per 100ml
Brewery – Mahala
Country – South Africa
Alcohol content – 0%
Calories – 0
Ingredients – nine different botanicals.
Vegan friendly? – yes
Gluten-free? – yes
Availability – medium/hard
50ml Mahala Botanical
150ml Premium sparkling water
1.Take 50ml of Mahala and pour over ice
2.Mix the Mahala with the honey
3.Top with premium sparkling water
4.Garnish with an orange slice
“Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.”
-Seneca, AD 50 BC
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I can appreciate the work and research that has gone into creating Mahala and if you are someone who really appreciates the complexity of a crafted botanical then this is for you. If however, you’re after a punchier-tasting alcohol-free botanical spirit you may want to check out other options. Realistically the Crodino I added was probably too bold a flavour as it somewhat dominated Mahala’s subtle botanical flavours but it still ended up being a tasty cocktail I enjoyed drinking and so Mahala achieves a very decent score.