Dry January or not, winding down at home need not always mean a glass of wine or a stiff gin.
At least not anymore. The soberistas have spoken and alcohol-free spirits are a huge trend for 2020. According to the Telegraph “alcohol consumption has dropped 10% since the 90s, with one in four adults turning their back on booze”. Responding to this trend, exciting new alcohol-free spirits startups are racing into the market.
So what does this mean for life at home?
For one, it means people are starting to stock their drinks cupboards with alcohol-free spirits for hangover-free “treats” during the week. They are seeking a way to replicate the stress-releasing ceremony of pouring a stiff drink or cocktail at the end of the day to relax with something equally ceremonial like a gin-free Negroni. This shift also means that people can become more inclusive when entertaining at home, accommodating non-drinkers with something other than water. It’s those little touches, right?
Whether working through Dry January or simply trying to cut down on drinking at home, here are some exciting alochol-free spirits to look at for.
This is the original gangster of alcohol-free spirits, founded in 2015 by Ben Branson from his kitchen and later acquired by Diageo. Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand, and is stocked in over 7500 of the world’s best bars, restaurants and hotels, as well as shipped to homes internationally. But what does it taste like? There are three spirits – a bitter oaky one (Spice 94), an orange tangy one (Grove 42) and a herby one (Garden 108). The spirits all work well with tonic and a slice of fruit. Tastes almost like gin.
Caleño is made with botanicals including juniper, coriander, cardamom green, citrus, spices and Sicilian lemon peel, which have been steam-distilled in stainless steel drums. The spirit was inspired by Columbia, its founder Ellie Webb looking to create something exotic, fruity and not too sweet. Tonic water can overwhelm it so mix this with soda water and garnish with an Inca berry (if you can find it), or a slice of lemon.
Stryyk Not Rum
Like rum, but not. This alcohol-free spirit breaks away from the clear spirit camp with a dark version of rum, using the typical ingredients of cane sugar, vanilla and oak – as well as notes of raisin. Distilled in the UK, it’s 100% natural with no fat, no carbs, and no artificial flavours. Drink it just as you would drink rum, mixing it with Coke, making a Mojito or replicating any rum-based cocktail.
The naughty little sister of Seedlip, this is the most exciting recent entry into the alcohol-free market. Offering the world’s first alcohol-free aperitifs, drink it before a meal or to toast an occasion where you might have had a cocktail. The spirits are made from English-grown Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay grapes, pressed early and blended with appetite-stimulating herbs, roots and bitter botanicals – and come in Dry, Bitter and Aromatic. Pour over ice and sip till supper.
Borrago – #47 Paloma Blend
This is a very complex tasting clear spirit, the result of blending six specially selected botanicals, including citrus, pepper, cardamom and rosemary. It is named after the purple flower that features on the label, called borage. Serve it as you would gin, with tonic and a slice of lime. Zesty and refreshing.
www.borrago.com (Also available on Amazon)
Lyre’s American Malt
Taking on whiskey is a big task, not least because we tend to drink it neat – just a wee dram, eh? Well, someone was up to the challenge: Lyre’s American Malt. Now onto the bouquet. Think fresh roasted coffee, burnt caramel, and vanilla with hints of dark chocolate, fig, and blueberries. Use it as a substitute in an Old Fashioned for something that looks hard but is oh so soft.
P.S. Drink these irresponsibly.
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