Rapscallion is the cheeky new kid on the block, but the team behind it is deadly serious about putting the craft back into soft drinks
Editor JJ Stenhouse meets the makers…
Gregor Leckie and Sophie Easthope are the couple powering the latest soft drinks line, Rapscallion – a brand that hopes to redefine sodas as an adult treat.
But don’t be fooled by the cheeky brand name. This is a grown-up product that’s as far away from industrial fizzy drinks as you can imagine.
The rascally handle merely allows them to be playful while marketing a serious business.
The pair have years of experience in the hospitality industry and bring a stringent eye to making the most flavourful, natural carbonated drinks possible at their Glasgow base – a Gorbals railway arch.
They met while working in bars in Sophie’s native Australia.
Gregor – originally from South Queensferry – spent six years down under gaining experience in commercial drinks production and even molecular mixology.
He also worked in the wine industry in New Zealand. It was there that he developed a distaste for the pomposity that’s so prevalent in the industry.
“We knew what we didn’t want to be and that’s a pompous drinks maker,” he says.
“We are meticulous in the way in which we create flavour but in terms of how we market it, it’s not our job to preach to people.
“We want it to be about relearning what a soft drinks company could be.
“I know this sounds like a cliché, but there so much craft in whisky, beer and spirits and we both lived and breathed that.”
In fact, it took the couple nearly two years of hard work to come up with their winning formulas using raw, fresh ingredients and sourcing the best local produce in season.
They use Co2 as a natural preservative after a slow pasteurisation maintain the best flavour profile.
“We never actually intended to make a healthy soft drink we just wanted to make the best tasting drinks without artificial ingredients,” says Gregor.
“Soft drink consumption is such a huge part of any bar or restaurant offering, so why then are you getting lemonades that have never seen a fresh lemon in their life?
“Why is limeade nuclear green and sickly sweet?
“We made sure we were using the right sugars. Raw organic cane sugar was a way that allowed us to bind our ingredients together beautifully and allowed us to use much less of it.”
Originally, the business operated as a trade supplier but pivoted to online and a subscription service when bars and restaurants closed during lockdown.
It was a nimble move that kept Rapscallion – and its plans for more innovation in the future – afloat.
Sustainability and traceability are important to the brand, as is seasonality.
Apart from the core flavours of lemon, lime and ginger Rapscallion offers seasonal additions from time to time, so watch out for some special surprises in the run up to Christmas!
Gregor and Sophie’s Signature Soda Serves
Yes, you can drink Rapscallion sodas straight from the can if you want, but why not have fun with them?
Here are three delicious ways to serve their core range.
Gregor says they prefer to encourage adventurous flavour pairings before you reach for the spirits cupboard, but you can add alcohol of your choice to any of the recipes below.
- Get those cans in the fridge
- Whip out your best glassware
- Find the best clear ice (we recommend Edinburgh Ice Co. Or 1ce 24/7)
- Choose your weapon (garnish, see below)
Ginga Ninja // Core_01 // Ginger + Pineapple
- Grab an overripe pineapple and cut 5-6 wedges
- Muddle wedges with a touch of muscovado sugar
- Fill glass 2/3 full with a cold can of our Ginga Ninja
- Stir through and have a cheeky sip to test
- Top with ice to the brim
- For extra acidity: add a squeeze of lime
- For added complexity: add a dash of angostura bitters
- For extra oomph: forget the wedges and start with a splash of proper pineapple juice (not from concentrate)
Burnt Lemon // Core_02 // Lemon + Peach
- Source ripe fresh peaches or grab tinned peaches from your supermarket when out of season
- Slice peach, remove pit, cut into 8 slices
- Gently heat on your frying pan with a pinch of sugar. A tiny touch of salt works very well too
- When peaches have softened, add 6 slices to the bottom of your glass
- Fold in half a can of cold Burnt Lemon and stir gently
- Top up with ice, and garnish with your pan roasted peach slices
- Enjoy! This is a team favourite
- For extra acidity: orange wedge does the trick
- For extra complexity: black pepper and lemon love each other
- For extra oomph: use peach puree for a robust non-alcohol take on a Bellini
Dry Lime // Core_03 // Lime + Mint
- Head to your local farm shop to get a bunch of perky mint. Black mint and peppermint are best if you can source them
- Gently rinse your mint and pick a handful of the tips and the best leaves
- Press softly in your hand to release some oils and discard into the bottom of the glass
- Add a splash of cloudy apple juice. Cawstons and Copella are best for mixing
- Add some ice, stir, top with Rapscallion Dry Lime and taste
- For extra acidity: lime wedge
- For extra complexity: replace the mint with a soft herb like coriander, tarragon, or dill
- For extra oomph: granny smith apple juice has the perfect silky texture and astringency to balance our Dry Lime. Replace your cloudy juice with something fresh pressed