Mockingbird Spirit
Back to Journal + Musings

Mockingbird Spirit

Mockingbird spirit; non-alcoholic tequila

As lockdown has sent all our long regulated patterns and routines into complete freefall –  drinking habits seem to have become a universal topic of conversation. Whilst I had been aware of the multitude of ‘non-alcoholic’ options there were out there, as someone whom had never been a heavy drinker and  had to keep tabs on my ‘extremist’ tendencies, I hadn’t got around previously to sampling them.  2020 – the rollercoaster year – I turned sober. I sifted through an array of mainstream ones from gin to rum, from the coast of Cornwall to the Italian vineyards, all professing something new. It was only after a few weeks I noticed skin breakouts and realised that not only did these brands taste nothing like the original spirits but they were just loaded with sugar as a replacement.

Enter Mockingbird Spirit: the first ever non-alcoholic tequila brand to hit the market. The brainchild of Fern McCoy, who had previously worked in the drinks business(but not in tequila), she took the seminal lockdown time to pivot her passion into a fully fledged business. Whilst she is fully aware that in the UK, ‘tequila has a bit of a reputation as a ‘4am shot’ drink,’ McCoy is keen to change the mindset through her artisanal storytelling, ‘it’s a niche, premium product and we offer ingredients and recipes to make up ‘cocktails’ such as Margarita and Paloma, which are all tequila based too.’ Hailing originally from San Diego, South California and making regular trips into Mexico, where she imbibed the culture, developed a love for tequila made in Mexico from the original Blue Agave plant, and then hearing of the recent steep rise (around 173% in Waitrose/John Lewis) of tequila sales, McCoy realised her passion project made business sense; ‘with the success of the alcohol there is room for a non-alcoholic counterpart,’ she reassures. So how do you actually make non-alcoholic tequila?

‘We source the blue agave directly from a Mexican brewery – a family run business I found after much research. That’s the main ingredient and then everything else is around that.  Mockingbird is actually made in the UK.’  And what about the sugar count? ‘The Agave has naturally occurring sugar because of the nature of the plant but there is no added sugar at all. I sampled so many tequilas and took the elements I like – so I added a peppery finish, sweet cinnamon and vanilla notes, and lemon which exuded citrus mixes. I wanted to mimic that feeling of alcohol in the mouth.’

Mockingbird is very on wellness point too adding in a surprising element: ashwagandha. Mccoy comments: ‘ the idea is you are holding the drink, getting the taste but also the feeling as well. That slightly relaxing feeling you get when you sit down to your first drink, we wanted to emulate that and ashwagandha is the adaptogen related to anxiety relief.’

McCoy is bringing a taster of Mexico to London; imminent plans include the launch of a Mexican type beer (non-alcoholic) – which has Mockingbird added to it – a tequila flavoured beer. And no doubt a portfolio of artisan led non-alcoholic products is the future under the Mockingbird name: which incidentally McCoy derived from influences, including ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ the idea of Mockingbirds imitating other mockingbirds (what her non-alcoholic version is doing to spirits) and how it represents innocence (over the guilt of ‘one too many’ glasses of alcohol). Storytelling through spirits – win win.

mockingbird 1 glass