The non-alcoholic adult beverage market is gaining real momentum, with Forbes reporting that it surpassed US$11 billion in 2022. While many offerings still fall short of the mark attempting to compensate for the mouthfeel of the glycerol in alcohol with added sugar, new players are appearing virtually every month and more traditional players are starting to offer no-alcohol options. Whether you, or someone you know, is abstaining for health, religious or designated-driver reasons, opting for an alcohol-free day or tiger-striping (alternating non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks), it’s good to have something more interesting than lemon squash on offer. Here are five of the best non-alcoholic options I’ve found so far.
While many producers are stripping alcohol out of traditionally-made wines, this Aussie company starts from scratch, combining fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and more to create a balanced layering of aromas, flavours and tannin. The range of lightly sparkling drinks look like wine – from soft whites, through pretty rosés to bright Burgundies – and smell and taste great, always with a refreshing acidity and underlining touch of salinity.
Campari-look-alike Etota from Byron Bay inspired me to create a non-alcoholic version of my favourite pre-dinner drink, negroni sbagliato. Flavoured with gentian, rhubarb, grapefruit and rooibos, Etota is more bitter than Campari which suits me. With a nip of Palermo Rosso, non-alcoholic ‘vermouth’, for earthy sweetness and a splash of Plus and Minus non-alcoholic prosecco, it makes a drink I’m happy to sip all night.
While I generally prefer my drinks super-dry, I make an exception for bubbles where I find a subtle touch of sweetness can help bring it all together. This Spanish fizz is a dealcoholized wine made from Airén, one of Spain’s most popular white grapes. It has good bead, a pleasant nose and is very easy-drinking.
There’s nothing more refreshing than a G&T on a hot day – and this non-alcoholic alternative from southwest England comes pretty close to the real thing. Maritime botanicals marry with juniper and a light Indian tonic water to create the aroma and flavour of a classic gin and tonic. And the handy can makes it perfect for picnics and camping.
Banks Herbarium is a non-alcoholic gin-alternative distilled in Victoria’s Yara Valley with Aussie native botanicals including lemon myrtle, wattle and pepperberry. Mixed with the freshness of yuzu, lemon and basil it makes a lightly sparkling, striking green drink that’s deliciously refreshing poured over ice. Aperol fans with a sweeter palate will also love the Banks Italian Spritz.
My overall picks in the dealcoholised wines category are Tread Softly and Plus and Minus, both made by Aussie winemakers. The absence of alcohol means they’re a little shorter on the palate than conventional wines but they look, taste, and smell like the real deal.
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