At the start of every year I love exploring new ideas for non alcoholic drinks to enjoy during Dry January. I’m now just over halfway through and have sampled plenty. I’ve even tried non alcoholic still wine for the first time. Whether you’re going for the full Dry January or just thinking of cutting back a little after the excess of Christmas I’m hoping you’ll be open to trying something new.
No and Low Alcohol Beer/Lager
The caveat is that I’m not normally a beer drinker however when I’m having a night without booze a bottle of non alcoholic beer can feel like the treat I need to take me through the evening. To me some of the best no alcohol lager tastes almost exactly like the real thing. I’ve sampled a quite a few. I really enjoy Peroni Libera which, to me, seems just as crisp and refreshing as the real thing. Henekin 0.0.% is also pretty good. I recently tried Saint Lucky which is fairly new to the market. It’s 0.5% with a light body and aroma with hints of honey, lemon and ginger. A really enjoyable drink.
There are loads of no or low alcohol beers to choose from. Take a look at the Dry Drinker website to get some ideas and try a few. You can use the code DRYJAN22 at checkout for 10% off your first order.
Non Alcoholic Wine
Unfortunately, non-alcoholic wine is not quite as successful as alcohol free lager. Maybe this is because beer has less alcohol to remove in the first place. Winemaking is an incredibly complex process. Firstly, there is the challenge of cultivating perfectly ripe sweet grapes. The process of turning the grape juice into wine involves fermenting the sugar present in the grapes turns and turning it into alcohol. Flavour and tannin are extracted from the skins and the wine is matured to add complexity and depth. A wine really has to contain some alcohol to retain the body, the tannins and the flavour complexity that make it wine not just grape juice.
However, I took the plunge and tried the range of Torres Natureo DeAlcoholised Wines 0.0% ABV, all of which are available at Waitrose. The red is garnacha/syrah blend. It’s very light and probably best served chilled. It does look like red wine but I’m not sure it really tastes like it. An aroma of blackcurrant wine gums and slightly dry finish reminiscent of cranberry juice. I’d drink this as an aperitif rather than risking it with food. The white from the range is made with Muscat grapes and is light and fruity retaining the grapey taste. The rosé is my favourite. Light with a hint of strawberry and citrus I can imagine enjoying a chilled glass on a summer’s day if I was going to be driving.
A friend recently recommended Noughty Alcohol Free Sparkling wine made with Chardonnay grapes. Lightly sparkling with the fresh taste of green apples. However, I prefer LA Brewery’s Sparkling English Rose Kombucha. Assam and white monkey blend kombucha infused with white rose petals and wild elderflower. I’d definitely recommend this as a champagne alternative. Light, freshly acidic and not too sweet.
Lower Alcohol Wine
The alternative to no alcohol wine is choosing a wine with slightly less alcohol. If you choose wisely you’ll be cutting back without compromising on taste or body. Lower alcohol wine doesn’t have to be sweet. It’s worth looking at Kabinett and Spatlese Rieslings where the acidity of the wine cuts through any residual sweetness. These can have as little as 8%ABV. My January Wine Selection from the Mummy Wine Club subscription service contains two lower alcohol Italian wines. First, as white; Nasciri, Greco Bianco 2019, 10%ABV, light bodied, dry white with stone fruit flavours. Second a red; COS Nero di Lupo 2019, 10.5%ABV, red cherry and savoury spice.
Non Alcoholic Spirits
There are so many new non alcoholic spirits on the market this year that you’ll be faced with a good selection in most supermarkets. I tried Gordon’s and Tanquery 0.0% versions as well as CleanCo’s non alcoholic gin. All three were zesty but they’re not cheap and on the whole I think I’d be happy to stick to a premium tonic water with ice and either lime or cucumber.
However, I would I’d like to point you in the direction of two of my new discoveries for 2022. Firstly, Botivo, a non alcoholic aperitif based on ancient herbal remedies called oxymels. It created from honey, cider vinegar, herbs and roots. Just add sparkling water and orange for a delicious aperitif which is actually good for you. The first batch has completely sold out but there will be more in stock in February so place your order now. Botivo are kindly offering our customers a 10% discount using code BOT002
My second alcohol alternative recommendation is Mother Root Ginger Switchel. I adore ginger and this refreshing, fiery drink really hits the spot. Enjoy over ice with sparkling water or tonic. It’s made from pressed ginger juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey and so it’s actually good for you. You might also want to use this as an ingredient to some alcoholic cocktail recipes once you have finished your health kick.
Drinking Less and Drinking Better
If you’re trying to live a little more healthily and cut down a bit on alcohol during 2022 I’d recommend investing a great wine preservation system. Wine Save Pro uses argon gas to form a blanket over the wine protecting it from oxygen. You no longer need to feel that you need to finish the bottle. Your wine will keep perfectly for up to three weeks.