Earlier this year, Little Saints—a bold, effervescent and flavorful beverage brand that taps into terpenes, CBD and Reishi mushroom to inspire uplifting sensations—added spicy margarita and mimosa options to their roster of Plant Magic mocktails. These two additions joined their delicious debut products: a ginger mule and paloma, which do, in fact, taste similar to the mixed drinks they’re named after. Little Saints’ founder, Megan Klein, began her professional life as an environmental lawyer and prior to the development of Little Saints, she founded the plant-based food and beverage company Field + Farmer. With all the experience and information from these previous endeavors, she set off on a new mission.
Little Saints mocktails are designed to be an alternative to alcohol. As such, consumers might be curious as to why the products are not only named after well-known mixed drinks but why they have flavor profiles that emulate them. “I wanted to create a non-alcoholic drink that carried along the best parts of the cocktail experience without the booze and sugar—and I wanted it to make me feel good,” Klein says. “Psychologically, that starts with the name of my drink.”
Klein took this ethos and extended it into the visual presentation of the liquid, which—when poured into a glass—looks more like a cocktail than a seltzer. She worked with an adaptogen-expert food scientist and a sacred plant medicine shaman (who also happens to be a close friend) to come up with a functional blend of ingredients that deliver a mood-lifting effect. “I love bringing Little Saints to a party and having friends drink them and not realize they’re not drinking alcohol, because they feel relaxed and happy and love the taste,” she adds.
CBD and Reishi were initial ingredient considerations. “Before I started Little Saints, I read the Rebel’s Apothecary, which inspired me to become more intentional about regularly taking CBD and medicinal mushrooms as an everyday supplement to positively affect my health and mood,” Klein says. “Taken together, those two plant medicines made me feel less anxious, more alert and generally happier. I’d take the CBD oil as a drop under my tongue, and Reishi, Lion’s Mane and Chaga in my coffee. I noticed I really felt better throughout the day—I liked work more, I moved around more, I felt great. So after drinking too much during parts of the pandemic and wanting to come up with a relaxing and joyful alternative to alcohol, I turned to what I knew worked: the combination of CBD and mushrooms.”
Klein’s food scientist partner introduced her to aromatic terpenes and encouraged her to include them in the mix. “Derived from plants, these ‘good smells’ naturally lift our mood,” she says. “This is something our plant medicine shaman had also told me. When combined with CBD, terpenes act like a steering wheel getting our mood in the right direction. For Little Saints, the terpenes are specifically formulated to be energizing and grounding—a formula for feeling joy.”
Carefully sourced, clean ingredients are integral to the Little Saints recipe. “I went to great lengths to select the most premium of each in our mocktails,” Klein says. Her nano-emulsified CBD is derived from New York State hemp, and the CBD emulsion from the supplier was specifically formulated to complement the mocktail brand’s other active ingredients.
Little Saints debuted at Detroit’s Mini Movement Music Festival in May 2021 and music plays an integral role in the brand’s identity. “Music brings people together and inspires dance, the ability to be present without thinking about it, and love,” Klein says. Little Saints’ mocktails hope to inspire those same feelings. With this close connection to music, Little Saints “will continue to support music venues, festivals and other artist-centric events where we can feel joy by connecting with others and not because we’re drinking alcohol,” Klein adds.
Because the ingredient list includes terpenes, CBD and Reishi, Klein often has to educate potential consumers—and is happy to do so. “It’s our mission to provide education to remove the stigma around CBD,” she says. “You don’t need to worry about accidentally getting high with our mocktail, we ensure every one of our CBD batches is accompanied by a certificate showing that it contains no detectable levels of THC.”
It’s not just about the ingredients, however. “Because we market our Plant Magic Mocktails to replace the alcoholic cocktail experience, sometimes people assume they will get intoxicated when they drink them,” she says. “Our mocktails don’t have alcohol in them. Our mocktails don’t have THC (which gets you high) in them. They are 100% non-intoxicating and make you feel good and they contain legal adaptogens—the same kind that are in nutritional supplements and many other health foods.”
Images courtesy of Little Saints