What do you mean when you say Wild-Arbor is “Plant Based” and made only with natural ingredients?
Plant based means that all our ingredients are derived from something that has naturally grown. We use grain, sugar cane and various plants to create our natural flavours. "Naturally grown" means that do we not use artificially created chemical compounds to replicate nature. Many of our everyday food and drinks products use chemical compounds to create flavours and other sensations. Most often this is simply for cost reasons. For example, most cream liqueurs use artificial flavours and colours.
How come your cream liqueur is clear, when all the others are brown?
Wild-Arbor is clear for several reasons that magically came together. For a start, unlike other cream liqueurs, particularly Irish Cream Liqueurs, sugar cane is used as the alcohol base as opposed to what goes into whiskies. We discovered it was virtually impossible to guarantee that whisky would be totally gluten free. There is much discussion about distillation and whether traces of gluten remain when distilling from a base that has gluten in it. However at this stage there is no cast iron guarantee that traces of gluten from the barley, for example, are not present; hence our choice to go for a guaranteed gluten-free base alcohol.
This change in base alcohol had no effect on taste, and basically gave us a start towards clarity. Then, in our quest to use only plant based products for our ingredients, we found that as a general rule the highest quality and most natural alternatives were also clear.
This led us to another critical decision. We had made a cream liqueur, very similar to other cream liqueurs, smooth and creamy in texture, with a luxurious taste of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. But it was clear. Not at all like other cream liqueurs in appearance. We could do what is very common with cream liqueurs - adding colour back in, often artificial ones. But we liked it clear.
By making a great tasting cream liqueur that was also gluten-free, lactose-free, free of any GMOs or artificial flavourings or colourants, and plant based it also turned out clear. We realised that was something to celebrate, and had a great advantage over other 'brown' cream liqueurs. In one word: Versatility.
Go to our recipes or Instagram to see how you can use Wild-Arbor creatively in a huge range of sophisticated, colourful cocktails and long drinks.
Go to our
Instagram to see how you can use Wild-Arbor creatively in a huge range of sophisticated, colourful cocktails and long drinks.
How many calories does Wild-Arbor contain, is that less than other cream liqueurs?
Wild-Arbor contains 190 calories (kcal) per 100 ml. Other popular cream liqueurs are reported to have around 70 – 90% more calories, at somewhere between 325 to 350 calories per 100 ml.
Can Wild-Arbor be considered a diet cream liqueur?
Well we certainly have not set out to create a diet cream liqueur, as we are all about indulgence and would not recommend Wild-Arbor, with its indulgent sweetness and thickness, if you are on a medically prescribed diet. Having said that, one of the unintended benefits of our recipe, is that traditional cream liqueurs contain 70 – 90% more calories than Wild-Arbor and unlike other cream liqueurs Wild-Arbor is fat free.
For a little extra luxury and indulgence you can always add a little more cream. The beauty with that is you will be using real, FRESH dairy cream. Or you have the option of mixing with your own favourite dairy-free, plant-based alternative. We have some mouth-watering and delicious recipes this works well with, such as Wild Berries and our take on the
Does Wild-Arbor contain honey?
We are always evolving the Wild-Arbor recipe to ensure we use the best possible ingredients to create the perfect, indulgent taste. Through the years we have had various requests to satisfy a number of ‘Free-Froms’, among them artificial ingredients, dairy and gluten. We have successfully managed to adapt the recipe to fit those requirements. Honey was an ingredient in an earlier version. This was to provide some mouthfeel and sweetness. Over the years we found better, plant based, substitutes for honey and gradually reduced the amount of honey. In July this year (2020) we produced the first Wild-Arbor entirely without honey. The previous versions, which you may still find in some stores, include a miniscule amount of honey (less than 0.1 percent).
Is Wild-Arbor vegan?
The previous Wild-Arbor recipe contained a miniscule amount of honey. Although honey ultimately comes from plants, it is processed by bees, and as such many vegans refuse to eat honey. We have now discovered vegan, plant-based substitutes for the honey, so from earlier this year (July 2020) all Wild-Arbor should meet the strictest definition of vegan. Please contact us if you need to check whether your local store is carrying the old or new version of the recipe.
How can Wild-Arbor be a cream liqueur without dairy cream and how does it get its creamy mouthfeel?
First of all not all cream is dairy cream. There are many popular cream options out there that are not dairy, and many things are creamy or cream without lactose. We like oat milk, which will froth up like regular milk, cashew milk and half'n'half coconut and almond milk. And most lactose removed dairy products taste just as good as the regular item, including fresh cream!
In fact, in alcoholic drinks cream traditionally refers to something sweet; such as cream sherry or the various cremes that you can find, and has nothing to do with dairy.
To get the rich velvety creaminess of Wild-Arbor we use gluten-free grains, such as oats or corn. These grains are boiled gently, then very finely strained to remove the pulp. This process yields a creamy plant-based cream that makes Wild-Arbor so rich and velvety in texture.
Do you have something against dairy?
Certainly not. Funnily enough among our team we have the full range of people from those that eat and drink dairy products regularly to flexi-vegans and vegans. Some that are intolerant and some that are not allergic to say, lactose. But they may choose to avoid dairy for health reasons and, in some cases, environmental considerations.
The great thing about Wild-Arbor is that you have the freedom to choose for yourself.
But, one thing we are adamant about though is that, if you are to use dairy, make sure it is fresh! There is nothing like adding a little fresh double cream to your Wild-Arbor if you want to get really indulgent! Have a look at our beautiful
recipes……. Great thing is that you can still use these recipes if you don’t drink dairy products; just substitute for your favourite dairy free option. We like oat milk, which will froth up like regular milk, cashew milk and half'n'half coconut and almond milk. And most lactose removed dairy products taste just as good as the regular item, including fresh cream!
In reality the cream that is in most ‘cream’ liqueurs comes from emulsified milk powder, not real fresh cream. It is also interesting to note that conventional cream liqueurs also use other food thickeners to get the creaminess, so it’s ironic that much of their creaminess doesn’t come from dairy at all.
Are the ingredients of Wild-Arbor ethically sourced?
We are always looking for the highest quality producers for every ingredient. Every producer is vetted for production standards and have to show that they have the EU qualifications to meet our Free-From requirements (free-from dairy, lactose, gluten,and artificial ingredients). We are working backwards in the supply chain and are trying to make sure that every component meets our environmental and ethical pledge. In a modern production environment it is still not possible to do this to 100% but we are at well over 95% and doggedly working on the remaining 5%!
Does being plant based and naturally grown mean Wild-Arbor is not processed?
Well, this is where definitions are tricky. We like to think that Wild-Arbor is as low in processing as is feasible. However, any meal that is not raw, one could argue, is processed. For example, to make Wild-Arbor we distil to derive alcohol from the sugar cane. We also need to boil the grain, adding water to break it down, then filter it, to extract its natural creaminess.
What was the motivation for creating Wild-Arbor?
With Wild-Arbor we simply wanted to create the best possible tasting cream liqueur. At the heart of this product is the fact that we simply love to indulge in its rich, sweet flavour. However, we found that so many of the products available at the time had artificial ingredients that we didn’t want to consume. Or, for that matter, specific ones which some of us can’t consume or choose not to consume based on our own personal beliefs or health choices.
We do not claim to be nutritional or ecological experts. The fact is any strict diet you are on if you are on it to improve your health would tell you to cut out alcohol and sweet things all together. But we think that would make for a rather dull existence. We certainly need to take care of the planet we live on, but isn’t part of life all about enjoying its fruits, even occasionally the naughty ones? So we thought if we are able to, why not create a wonderful, indulgent product that, at the same time, is just that bit better for you and the environment, than the alternatives?
Even among our team at Wild-Arbor, we are a very broad church of carnivores, flexitarians, vegans, dairy and non-dairy consumers. The great thing about Wild-Arbor is that none of us have to compromise, and it gives us the flexibility to choose when to consume, for example, dairy or gluten.
In this endeavour we had a wonderful recipe that had been gifted to us, we like to say by nature. But it still involved some compromises on the ingredients. We then had endless enquiries and requests asking whether it contained artificial ingredients, lactose, gluten and so on. We spent literally a decade listening and refining, changing ingredients and playing back and forth to both meet these requests and improve the flavour. The wonderful thing is, and maybe this is not a coincidence, the better and more natural the replacements we found, the better the taste of Wild-Arbor became.
Where is Wild-Arbor made?
Our ingredients are mainly sourced and produced in Europe, the main countries being France and England. The alcohol is usually distilled from sugar cane from Bolivia or Guatemala and is distilled there or in France Bottling takes place in Holland.
Why do you plant trees?
We have been very fortunate to have stumbled, although with a lot of work and fine tuning, onto a fantastic recipe which we think of as a cream liqueur as nature intended. In addition we wanted to build a business that gave something back. Given our focus on natural ingredients, and the fact that a number of us are close to the outdoors and forestry, it became obvious that working for reforestation to support not just natural carbon capture, but also bio diversity was, well, the natural thing to do.
As such we have pledged to plant a tree for every bottle of Wild-Arbor sold. We planted our first 85,800 trees in North-West Florida in February this year.
Why plant trees in North-West Florida?
It is true that it is not the most deforested area in the world, but that’s sort of the point. We should all be endeavouring to plant wherever and whenever we can. One of our founders had good contacts in the area with the forestry business. This allowed us to create a project we could directly control ourselves, making sure there were no costly middlemen involved. Add to that we liked the idea of actually planting trees somewhere where growth could be substantial and fast to support immediate climate goals.
Although the area does have a lot of trees, there is also a growing human population and, as a result, forested areas are in retreat. In particular, the forestry business there is in decline. This means that it is not very profitable to plant trees anymore. The result being that trees tend to be harvested for a fast return but not replaced.
There are also areas there that have been forests historically, but where the soil is sandy. This further reduces productivity from planting. This was the case where we planted. Because of the sandy ground it would not normally have been commercially planted. This meant it was rapidly in the process of being taken over by low growing shrub. This both retards the growth of healthy indigenous trees and provides poor habitat for wildlife. As such the natural forest would not have returned were it not for our project.
What did you plant and how?
We planted Loblolly pine but did so less densely than a normal commercial plantation.
By doing it this way, we will support and give room for other tree species to naturally regenerate, specifically hardwoods, thereby creating bio diversity. The plan is to support this through forestry management. This means we should get more trees than just the ones we planted over time. It should also become prettier and more natural looking, and more in keeping with the original environment.
Will you ever cut the trees?
Well the honest answer is it depends. It depends on whether it is environmentally and economically beneficial to do so. At various stages of the regrowth of a forest it can be beneficial to “thin” the forest in order to speed up the growth of remaining trees and encourage wildlife. It’s also a little known fact that, from a carbon dioxide absorption perspective, a growing forest is more useful than a fully grown one. Trees die naturally and release large amounts of carbon dioxide as they decompose. Also, if we can sell felled timber our pledge is not just to reforest that area but to invest any profit in further reforestation.
So by being smart, both ecologically and economically, at the same time as we sell more Wild-Arbor, we hope to exponentially support reforestation across the globe.
How does Wild-Arbor impact the environment and climate change?
Unfortunately there are a number of steps in the production and logistics of getting a bottle of liqueur to the consumer that do add to the carbon footprint. Glass making and distillation being two obvious examples. To improve the environment generally, and to mitigate carbon emission specifically, to ensure we capture more carbon than we release, we do four things:
We look at every part of the production and logistics chain to see if we can improve it at reasonable cost whilst not compromising on quality. This is an ongoing process.
Using only plant-based ingredients that have at one point grown and absorbed carbon, we restore the natural balance of carbons more than if you use the chemical or animal based substitute ingredients.
We look at the total cost of our production process and measure the carbon footprint. Then we invest in carbon emission reducing projects to off-set those emissions. We do this in partnership with the foundation My Climate. This is not ideal, and carbon credits have come under fire. But our view is that, at least for our production, we make sure we take out the same amount of emissions as we generate. Basically we clean up our own mess.
We plant our beloved trees. For now we are doing both this and purchasing carbon credits in order to make sure we are by far reducing emission more than we are creating, i.e. Wild-Arbor is net carbon emission reducing. As we evolve our own tree planting projects at ever greater scale, they should on their own be above the level required to off-set the bottle production, but for now we just want to be firmly on the safe side.