Is it 2022 already? Believe it or not, it is indeed. After 2 years of pandemic uncertainty, things will hopefully begin to get a bit more cheery and a bit less… locked down. Now that the booze-fest of Christmas is over, it’s time to trudge back into the swing of things with a new year.
Dry January, as with most health challenges, sounds like a bore at first, but like many things in life, it gets easier as you go. To jump start things, we’ve found some alcohol-free options that are just for you. And we’re not talking Coors light… we’ve found fancy mocktails, fake spirits and delicious mixers. They’ll give you the get up and go to walk the teetotal tightrope, Omicron or no.
Fluère (pronounced ‘flew-air’) is made with the same steam distillation techniques used to produce alcoholic spirits like gin, mezcal and rum. Like its boozy counterparts, bottles of Fluère are assembled from the finest floral ingredients and botanicals for a complex yet balanced taste – perfect for someone looking for a delicious cocktail but with 0% alcohol. Where some alcoholic options are sweet, Fluère has the pleasant after-bite that you might find in a gin.
Fluère has several bottles, including: Original – contains juniper and lime peel to give a bright and fresh flavour with herbal notes of lavender and coriander. Raspberry – carefully distilled with fresh raspberries for a fresh, smooth and slightly sweet taste. Spiced Cane – crafted from pure sugar cane molasses and has a complex, full character with surprising hints of dark roasted coffee, cocoa, liquorice, tonka beans and toffee. Smoked Agave – smoke and honey mixed with fresh notes of pear, the sweetness of agave, a slight bitterness of black pepper, and a clean finish with eucalyptus and mint. Try them all in an array of different cocktails, to convert any of the unconverted.
Price: £20 for 70cl
Available from: Ocado, The Drinks Shop, Master of Malt, Amazon and shop.fluèredrinks.com
2. Nonsuch Shrubs
If you’re not quite sure you want to make the full commitment to sobriety, Nonsuch Shrubs fruit and vinegar-based syrups can be added to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. So you can make your mind up later. The refined liquid is more than your average cordial due to the luxury texture from the vinegar. Add them to tonic or soda for a fancy take on a mocktail. Choose from caramelised pineapple and ginger; wild hedgerow and rose; bittersweet apple and cardamom; and blood orange and bitter lemon. Then top them up with an array of pre-mixed Nonsuch Shrub sodas. Why not start off with a non-alcoholic pina colada? Take 50ml of caramelised pineapple and ginger Shrub and mix 75ml coconut milk and 75ml coconut water, blitz with ice and – ta da! New year, new you.
Price: syrups – £22 for 500ml; sodas – £9.99 for 3 x 250ml or £18 for 6 x 250ml
Wilfred’s is a new non-alcoholic British aperitif and it comes in a fancy little alcohol-free spritz set to kick your new healthy living into action. The concoction uses only naturally bittersweet ingredients to conjure all the crisp, citrussy and refreshing flavours of a spritz, without any of the bad stuff. The dark red liquid can be served simply with tonic water, so you can really pick up the flavours of zesty bitter orange, herbal notes of rosemary, rhubarb and a hint of cloves. What’s more, it contains just 21 calories per 50ml serving and isn’t as sweet as other non-alcoholic alternatives. The spritz set includes a bottle of Wilfred’s, two bottles of Fentiman’s tonic and one personalised message.
Forget the champagne. It’s time to swap flutes of wine with flutes of bubbling tea. Saicho Teas are cold-brewed for twenty-four hours then finely balanced with a hint of sweetness and a dash of acidity to bring a sophisticated taste profile to your glass. As a finishing touch, they add bubbles to the tea to enhance the flavour and creates a fab fizzy tipple to serve chilled. Rather like single estate wines, each tea comes from a specific region and the variety expressed in that bottle has been carefully chosen to be paired with certain flavours and textures. This makes them the perfect accompaniment to a moreish cheese board, which is just as well as they’ve partnered up with Neal’s Yard for a cheese pairing platter (just £33).
5. The Duchess Drinks
From fake G&Ts to fake wine spritzers, The Duchess Drinks Studio makes sober living looks easy… and incredibly sophisticated. Start with their firm favourite, the non-alcoholic G&T The Duchess Botanical. It is is blended with aromatic layers of orange peel, allspice, star anise, cloves, and cardamom. Then they’ve splashed out into different varieties including: The Duchess Floral, which is crafted with extracts of citrus blossoms, primrose and the indigenous honeybush, as well as The Duchess Greenery, which is hand-crafted with garden-inspired extracts including rosemary, lime leaves and a hint of cucumber. Finally, their new release, which mimics a wine spritzer, is The Spritz Elderflower White. It’s made with de-alcoholised Chardonnay with a crisp and fragrant finish of elderflower.
As seems to be the story behind most non-alcoholic brands, the founder of Gimber was bored of the sweet varieties of alcohol-free options. Relentless work events meant Dimitri was trying to avoid drinking too many G&Ts and glasses of champagne. So he started to develop a drink that could spice up his taste buds, without making his head spin. Eventually he found a winning formula and friends and family started lapping it up too – and now they’ve seen success all over the globe. Made from the finest organic Peruvian ginger, the secret spicy recipe is mixed with subtle herbs and spices and a sharp tang of organic lemon juice. You can slam back some shots of it or turn it into a long drink with sparkling water over ice and garnish with a sprig of thyme. With only 100% natural and organic ingredients, no emulsifier, preservatives, or additives, this delicious elixir also works wonderfully as a winter warmer when added to hot water. It’s the new hot toddy.
Seedlip seems to be the bastion of non-alcoholic drinks. They led the way with their non-alcoholic G&T and now they’re got a whole host of booze free options, after dinner drinks and a whole host of tonics. Our favourite at the moment is the NOgroni – and you can indulge in as many as you like! Invest in the NOgroni Party Pack and you’ll have all the parts you need. Simply mix 25ml of Seedlip Spice 94, Æcorn Aromatic and Æcorn Bitter over ice and garnish with an orange peel…. and voila! Not only that but Seedlip prides itself on sustainable packaging and carbon neutral delivery so you can not only be good to your head, but good to the planet too. It really is a win-win.
Lyre’s is like the cool, trendy, East London relative of Seedlip. Their packaging is covered in quirky illustrations and they take non-alcoholic drinks very seriously. From Amaretti and Spiced Cane Spirit to Absinthe and Orange Sec, there really is nothing that these guys can’t craft to rival alcoholic drinks. Why not try the American Malt? This bottle has been crafted to echo the taste of a gently mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt. But Lyre’s assure us that they don’t just mimic other flavours, they create their own unique profile. In this vintage: vanilla and toasted nuts are mixed with herbal notes to provide a detailed flavour profile and a soft finish. You can enjoy it with a premium cola mixer or mix it up as an Old Fashioned.
9. Thomson & Scott
So there seem to be a million spirit alternatives, but wait until you unlock all the booze-free wines. It’s never ending! The best place to start is at Thomson & Scott who produce two non-alcoholic sparkling wines. Our favourite is the Noughty sparkling chardonnay. Not only has it been dealcoholised, it’s also organic and vegan-friendly. And with only 2.9g of sugar per 100ml, it’s almost half the sugar content of other non-alcoholic sparkling wine. At just 14 calories per glass, it’s the perfect answer to a hangover free celebration for the new year resolutions we’re all trying to keep.
10. Carl Jung
Over at Boosenburg Castle (or should that be Booze-nburg… chuckle) in Germany, Carl Jung estate has dedicated over 100 years to perfecting the art of non-alcoholic wine. This is why they have a hugely extensive selection of wines to choose from. Whether you want white, shiraz or a rosé, they have it. Their mission is to make wines that taste, not wines that are alcoholic. Start with the Carl Jung Cabernet Sauvignon – a robust and tasty red, packed with tannins, berries and spice. Carl Jung takes grapes from the best vineyards in La Mancha, Spain, and work their magic to gently remove the alcohol while keeping the essential aroma. The result is perfection.
Opia is a French low alcoholic drinks line that is unfermented and uses organic grapes, and aged in contact with French oak. It offers a wide variety of aromas and a distinctive style, and it provides all of the health and taste benefits of grapes due to its innovative design. The range includes White Chardonnay, with aromas of acacia ower and white peach combined with a touch of citrus and vanilla, Rose, with aromas of small red fruits such as redcurrant, blackcurrant and raspberry which combine harmoniously with delicate oral and spicy notes, Red Cabernet-Sauvignon, with aromas of the varietal such as jammy fruits, blackcurrant, morello cherry, vanilla and clove, and Sparkling Chardonnay, with fresh, crunchy aromas of white owers, green apple and white pear which combine harmoniously with citrus fruits and buttery notes.
The range is also vegan and halal, and can be ordered from their website.
12. Brooklyn Special Effects
For those of you wanting to try an alcohol free lager, there’s Brooklyn Special Effects. The name comes from the idea that in films, special effects allow you to see something impossible. Brooklyn Special Effects allows you to taste something impossible: delicious alcohol free beer. It’s a hope lager with a piney aroma and pleasantly bitter finish. It gets its sweet taste from a blend of pale caramel, and dark roasted Munich malts, and its surprising nose from dry-hopping with Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo hops.