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06 January 2021

8 alcohol-free aperitifs to make Dry January more exciting

06 January 2021

What to drink when you’re not drinking? It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves since time immemorial. At least it feels that way when you want to cut down on your booze intake – but can’t face another glass of fizzy water, juice, or herbal tea.

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The same old boring options just don’t cut it. Especially when you need a little pick-me up to get you through January, or something to tantalize the taste buds.

Luckily, thanks to the demand for ‘low and no’ libations, higher quality, no-abv spirits – UK sales are at a record high, according to market researchers Nielsen – and the rise of the mindful drinking movement, there are now plenty of very satisfying, stylish serves out there.

Here’s what’s stirring our interest…

1. Martini Vibrante Non-Alcoholic Aperitif 75cl, £8, Sainsbury’s

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Beautifully balanced with enticing notes of bergamot, and made with the same wines as Martini’s classic vermouths, the alcohol is ‘gently removed and naturally infused with a selection of sustainably sourced botanicals’ in this ace interpretation. The result is a classic Italian style aperitivo with enough vibrancy and va-va-voom to warrant a detour down sober street. Enjoy equal parts Martini Vibrante and tonic with a slice of orange for lots of guilt-free, flavoursome fun.

2. Gordon’s Alcohol Free 0.0% 70cl, £17.66, Amazon

Gordon’s 0.0 Hero bottle digi

When you want to dial down the abv to zero but still long for the refreshing, juniper forward taste of a Gordon’s with tonic, your favourite ritual can be just as gratifying thanks to this new alcohol-free alternative. Made using the finest distilled botanicals, the suggested serve is 50ml Gordon’s over ice, topped with 250ml tonic and a wedge of lime. Very convincing, chances are you’ll be back for a second and it’s so characterful, a great go-to when you want to pace yourself further down the line.

3. Warner’s Pink Berry – 0% Botanic Garden Spirits 50cl, £18, Warner’s Distillery

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A pink pretender made with 100% natural botanicals, Warner’s Pink Berry will appeal to lovers of pink gin and anyone who enjoys the fruity, tangy taste of a raspberry infused drink. Wonderfully vibrant with a floral sweetness and combination of raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant flavours, touches of sweet spice and ginger on the finish, Warner’s Pink is a natural winner. Serve 50ml over ice with a splash of Mediterranean tonic or ginger ale and garnish with mint.

4. Everleaf Forest Non-alcoholic 50cl, £18, Everleaf

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One of three variants (there’s also Everleaf Marine and Everleaf Mountain), we’ve singled out Everleaf Forest for its deliciously moreish bittersweet and refreshingly complex flavour profile. With layers of citrus and spice, it’s an intricate blend of 14 bittersweet botanicals including sweet orange blossom, Madagascan vanilla, earthy vetiver and spicy cassia bark. Try mixing one-part Everleaf Forest with three parts light tonic over ice, garnished with a wedge of orange. An added bonus, the exotic, vibrant flavour profile works just as well in non-alcoholic cocktails such as a Forest Gimlet.

5. FLUÈRE Original Non-alcoholic Distilled Spirit 70cl, £20, Amazon

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A sophisticated serve that’s versatile enough to be enjoyed in non-alcoholic cocktails, mocktails and low-alcoholic drinks as well as a FLUÈRE and tonic. FLUÈRE (pronounced flew-air with four expressions in the range) is made using the same techniques as alcohol based spirits, and has a ‘pleasant after-bite typically associated with alcoholic drinks’. With subtle scents of juniper and lime peel aligned with an element of lavender and coriander, there’s also a lingering spicy, peppery note billed as the after-bite.

6. Maria & Craig’s CBD Botanical Spirit Distilled Non-alcoholic 50cl, £22.99, Maria & Craig’s

MARIA & CRAIGS SPIRIT Label Tweak

Combining two of the biggest drinks trends – CBD and non-abv spirits – Maria & Craig’s is from the founders of Ceder’s distilled non-alcoholic alt-gin, and this latest one offers premium CBD from Colorado, with distilled juniper, sage, camomile, orange blossom and other classic gin botanicals in the mix. The suggested serve is 50ml Maria & Craig’s over ice, topped with 150ml tonic and garnished with a fresh orange peel. With hints of spice and a dry, fresh finish, there’s a crisp complexity that hits the spot.

7. ZEO Non-alcoholic Spirit Botanical Dry 70cl, £25, Feelzeo.com

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With the advantage of a warm, spicy kick, ZEO ‘is aimed at the sober-curious’ and with its crisp, peppery finish, certainly has the depth and flavour to perk up your palate. Cited as providing the taste experience of alcohol whilst remaining booze-free, it’s citrus forward and a complex blend of nine botanicals, including grains of paradise, peppermint, meadowsweet and cubeb berries (hence the peppered spiciness). ZEO can be enjoyed over ice (50ml topped with 125ml tonic and a lemon slice), as well as zero-abv cocktails such as a Cosmopolitan with ZEO replacing vodka.

8. CROSSIP The Collection 3 x 50cl, £60, Crossip Drinks

Jodi Hinds Food Photographer London

A new range of non-alcoholic spirits created by Sunday Brunch drinks expert Carl Anthony Brown, CROSSIP draws its inspiration from health-conscious consumers ‘who want to enjoy their social life with no sacrifices’. Made from botanical ingredients hailed for their health benefits, Dandy is described as being reminiscent of mezcal or a peaty whisky; Pure a non-alcoholic alternative to a classic Italian bitter, and Fresh to mimic your perfect fruit punch. A grown-up booze alternative, each variant impresses with tongue-tingling complexity and comes with recommended mocktail serves.

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