Driving the winding Cornish country roads is not new to me. Having spent chunks of my year every year since birth in Cornwall and having lived there for a time, the landscape and way of life is second nature. Though despite that familiarity it never gets old. The vibrant yellow stems of coconut scented gorse in spring, replaced by elegant meadow vetchling wildflowers in summer that follow the winding curves of the narrow B roads, where, if you’re close enough to the coastline, as you round a corner you may be lucky enough to snatch glimpses of bright crystalline blue; a shimmering susurration that catches your breath and stops your heart (is it still the done thing to yell “first one to see the sea!”?).

Of course, Cornwall doesn’t always look like this. It’s not all cerulean skies and warm sunshine, wisps of hazy white clouds lazily drifting by…there are days where, in an endless ombré stretching from delicate silver to deep gunmetal, the sea and sky become indistinguishable, with moody clouds rolling like a bedsheet hung out on the line to dry in the breeze.

But the Kernow way of life is evergreen. After all, the Atlantic Ocean is never not cold and wet (even if during the two days I spent with Wavelength, particularly after paddleboarding there happened to be lively debate about sea temperature; there’s no doubt the natives are of stronger stock…!) and there is something about the dark and mysterious skyline that is equally as intoxicating as the glorious sun filled days.

Having been invited as part of a small group to learn more about Wavelength, a locally produced and small batch fermented alcohol free spirit, I arrived alone at their HQ in the middle of the quiet countryside and the weather couldn’t have been better if we’d had a hotline to Zeus himself. I felt a warm tranquillity wash over me before my car had even rolled to a stop. Welcomed initially by the herd of dairy cows lined up at the gate ready to inspect visitors, I then met two sets of curious portly pigs with backstories so salacious you need never watch another episode of Succession (you’ll have to visit if you want the details…). By the time I met an actual human being I was being warmly welcomed by the founder himself, Eddie Lofthouse, who ushered me inside the slick but laidback building complete with wooden decking, festoon lighting and deckchairs peppered around outside. While Eddie took my coffee order my head was spinning as I looked around thinking what a perfect place for a party.

Although I only spent pockets of time with Eddie I quickly got the sense that he is equal parts entrepreneurial spirit and salt of the earth (ocean?) who segues from boardroom to surfboard with ease. While showing us the vast barrels of botanicals – some of which are hand harvested from the site that the fermentary sits on – during a tour he talks about the fermenting process like a man who has learned it the hard way: first-hand.

Like all true entrepreneurs Eddie has surrounded himself with a brilliant and fiercely loyal team and it was evident that the concept of balance is not just a company catchphrase but a way of life; everyone works hard but also makes time for fun, family and rest. And so, after learning and a lunch of feasting on a luxurious spread of cheese, fruit and charcuterie, all provided by a local chef, we checked into the Polzeath Beach House then hit the sand to bask in the rays and waves and appreciate the natural beauty of the coastal landscape around us.

Fermented like kombucha, starting with tea and using a scoby, Wavelength, flavoured with hibiscus (which is what gives it that beautiful “Ruby” hue) has a fruity, bitter edge to it is not your average non-alcoholic spirit. In large part because Wavelength isn’t designed just for dry drinks. Served with tonic over ice with the optional addition of prosecco, the beauty of it is that it can also be used to craft both no and low alcoholic drinks – and with more people drinking less or abstaining completely there is a rising demand for non-alcoholic options that actually taste nice. Drinks that are interesting and well crafted.

Admittedly, I fall right into the target market for Wavelength. For the past year or so, since I moved to the countryside and find myself having to drive more, I have to think about my alcohol consumption when socialising and so have found myself exploring low and no alcoholic alternatives in stark contrast to my pre-pandemic days of city living where rounds of wine were followed by the night tube, or an uber. I still want a glass of wine with dinner but perhaps I’ll have a non-alcoholic Ruby Spritz beforehand to get the best of all worlds; nice food, nice drinks and a fun evening out – and that’s what Wavelength is all about: balance and enjoying life. Laura, House of Coco’s formidable founder has been publicly documenting her journey to a fully sober life. What started out as a finite and experimental period of time has developed into a long term lifestyle choice for Laura as she has seen first hand that fun > alcohol.

There are so many reasons in modern times that people want to drink less – or not at all – but rather than, as in times past, this topic being taboo and the demographic being overlooked, it’s now becoming the norm as people think more about their physical health, mental health and are viewing their lives and enjoyment in a different way.

During the two days I spent with Wavelength, we spent time at the beach, walking scenic coastal routes in the warm sea air, drinking lunchtime Ruby Spritz cocktails knowing we could spend the afternoon paddleboarding and having beach saunas. We also ate steak and chocolate brownies, drank champagne and got river taxis across the Rock – Padstow estuary. It was a little bit of everything; two days of the perfect balance Wavelength represents – if only every day could be like this. They describe themselves as “Complex, beautiful and weird. We are alive” and I really couldn’t agree more; it’s what we should all aspire to.

RECIPE for Ruby Spritz – the signature serve

  • 50ml Wavelength Ruby Aperitif
  • 200ml Mediterranean Fever-Tree Tonic

Build in a wine glass with lots of ice and a wedge of pink grapefruit or orange

Wavelength Drinks

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