“If you’re about to start Sober-uary, we’re here for you this month!” enthuses Katy Perry. The global pop star is referring to the release of her first wellness drink line, De Soi, which officially launched on 6 January.. To create her French aperitif-inspired, non-alcoholic bubbly drinks, Perry teamed up with Morgan McLachlan, co-founder of Los Angeles-based botanical beverage outfit AMASS.
Perry explains that De Soi was “inspired by the French ethos of pleasure with restraint,” and the brand’s moniker comes from the French phrase maîtrise de soi, which translates to self-control. De Soi itself loosely translates to ‘of the self’. As two women with young children and busy work schedules, Perry and McLachlan were personally invested in creating a drink that would mellow the mind, minus the buzz. Taking into consideration the growing non-alcoholic drinks category, and a heightened collective interest in health and wellness, a sophisticated, low-sugar drink seemed like an ideal offering. “It ultimately comes back to being able to have the mood and feeling of a drink, but getting adaptogens instead of alcohol and high sugar content,” explains Perry.
Contained within earthy matte-toned, eight-ounce cans (four for US$25) and 750mL-sized bottles (US$25 each), De Soi’s three formulations—which incorporate unprocessed sweeteners like birch, date, and maple syrup—derive inspiration from white wine, red wine, and rosé. Amber-tinted Golden Hour represents a citrus-flavoured white wine-style libation made with pear, yuzu, energy-boosting maca and calming l-theanine (from green tea). Amethyst-stained Purple Lune tastes of cherry and stands in for a fuller-bodied red wine with rose petals, cherry, and anxiety-busting ashwagandha. Champignon Dreams bears a pink tone and conveys strawberry and grapefruit flavours along with immune-supporting reishi mushroom.
It’s worthwhile to note that many beverage companies rely on synthetic ingredients for taste (such as “natural flavour,” which, despite its name, isn’t always so natural), but De Soi uses fruit juices, herbs, and mushrooms for both flavour and function. The drinks offer just enough subtle sweetness with a hint of contrasting bitterness thanks to gentian root (commonly used in aperitif and digestif liquors like Aperol and Campari) and hop extract. Gentian root plays a key part in the typical role of an aperitif—to open up the palate and prepare the stomach for a meal—thanks to its purported ability to promote stomach acid and stimulate digestion.
To produce their spirit-free libations, Perry and McLachlan followed a method similar to that of wine aperitif-making: maceration, blending, and adding sugar. But rather than using alcohol as their solvent to draw out the plants’ wellness properties, McLachlan explains that they created a number of custom water-based botanical extracts. They then blended the extracts with adaptogens, juices, vinegars and sweeteners, lightly carbonating and pasteurising it. Perry adds that the De Soi team “worked with … ethnobotanist [Kerry Hughes] to research dozens of clinical studies regarding the effectiveness level of [their] adaptogens,” and that the dosages they chose to incorporate “are consistent with the findings of those clinical studies.”
While De Soi marks a new chapter for Perry, it’s not her only foray into the wellness world. She’s already an investor in both plant-based meat company Impossible Foods and sustainable farming outfit Apeel Sciences. And in 2020 she, with two other partners, acquired longstanding popular health food company Bragg (of the ubiquitous apple cider vinegar).
As Perry embarks on a residency in Las Vegas, the singer admits that her rigorous work schedule serves as a daily reminder of the importance of self-care. But the queen of camp will always advocate for a bit of indulgence in the mix. “I think wellness is taking care of yourself the way you see fit without sacrificing the little joys in life,” she says. Her new brand helps achieve exactly that balance.