January 23rd 2020
I’m one year into recovery and these are the best non-alcoholic drinks I’ve tried
October 9th 2020 / 0 comment
After one year sober, Hattie Sloggett knows her way around a non-alcoholic drink. Here are the ones she rates - sugary concoctions not welcome
As GTG's resident sober sister, I am one year into recovery and know only too well the struggle of trying to find a non-alcoholic drink that doesn't make me feel like I'm holding a juice box in a room full of wine glasses, doesn't taste like pure sugar water and has absolutely zero alcohol in – just ‘a little bit of alcohol’ is still alcohol, my friends.
When I first quit drinking I was so far down the rabbit hole that when I cut off the alcohol supply, I made sure to cut off all alcohol-alternative drinks too (alcohol-free wine, gin, etc.), just in case they triggered me. However, I started to miss the excitement of ordering a cocktail or being able to have a cold beer after work, so I turned to, what is referred to as the NO and LO section of the drinks menu (ie. no alcohol and low alcohol)
This is a relatively new option for non-drinkers and is fast becoming a staple of any drinking establishment which means our options are almost endless. From faux spirits for mixers to Nosecco (yes that's a thing), to can't-tell-the-difference ales, stopping or quitting drinking has never been so supported.
I was a wine, champagne and tequila girl myself, who never said no to a cocktail or ten. Which is why I love all the choice we have available to us now. However, I do warn those of you who are taking up the sober mantle to double-check your drinks because at times they can fall under the LO category while claiming to be NO, usually only by a small percentage. Still, for some, that percentage is what can make or break you.
Whether you are taking part in Sober October, growing a miniature human, taking a sabbatical after a rather heavy lockdown, fighting the recovery good-fight, or just choose to stay clear-headed because that's what you prefer, then we celebrate that and you with our edit of the best non-alcoholic drinks for Sober October and beyond.
Tame and Wild: Classy sparkling drinks
There is nothing worse than arriving at a function only to find that there is nothing to drink except carton OJ. Tame and Wild's fantastic pack of four botanical sparkling beverages is perfect for that last-minute grab-a-bottle option. I know, I hear you, what functions are there at the moment to even have this issue to struggle with? To that, I say, pah! Nothing stopped you before. Get those Zoom parties back up and running. And as if you didn't have incentive enough, throughout October, Tame and Wild will donate 10 per cent of every item purchased to Macmillan Cancer Support in support of Sober October. So it won't just be your liver that thanks you!
£2.98 for 275ml
Three Spirit: For the party ‘buzz’
Many people love the ‘buzz’ they get when drinking and the confidence that comes from this. Three Spirit have captured this with a combo of plants that stimulate the mind and body. For those of you that like the routine of a classic night out; shots, cocktails and a nightcap, then I introduce you to Three Spirit's trilogy that perfectly ticks every one of those boxes. Starting your 'sesh' with Livener will invigorate even the most exhausted of souls. With its potion of guayusa, guava leaf and Schisandra providing the all the euphoric feels to get the party started. Moving on to Social Elixir, their dark, herbal natural mood elevator, that uses a damiana, tulsi and cacao combination to 'lift spirits and reduce inhibitions'. And closing the evening down with Nightcap, that is a rich and indulgent mix of tree saps, aromatic plants and ancient remedies such as lemon balm, valerian and ashwagandha that combat stress, soothe the mind and promote a good nights sleep. This combination of elixirs uses all-natural ingredients, tried and tested over hundreds of years to create the perfect balance.
£39.99 for starter pack
Mockingbird Spirit: For tequila lovers
One of the hardest alcoternatives to find is a good Tequila option. If like me, nothing says out-out like a couple of tequila slammers or your own body weight in margaritas then this is the one for you. Brand new to the market, developed during lockdown by a first-time, female founder, Mockingbird provides all the flavours of the nation's much loved Mexican party starter, without any of the typical head-hangs of shame. Created using genuine Blue Weber Agave and all-natural mood booster ashwagandha this little beauty is ideal for however you take it. On the rocks? Delicious! As a shot? As near to dammit as the real thing. In a cocktail? I'll take ten.
£22.99 for 50cl
Caleño Light and Zesty: The gin alternative
There is no denying the love the majority of us hold for the quintessentially British G and T, so if you are going to tackle sobriety for however long you choose, you are going to need a substitute. Enter Caleño! Dreamed up in Bogota, served up in Bristol, this zesty refresher is the new love interest of any tonic water. Light, yet flavourful, a simple whiff of the bottle will transport you to warm nights under the stars, sunkissed skin and 'that' summer that lasted forever. A beautiful blend of Inca berry, citrus and spice botanicals (juniper, cardamom, ginger) definitely makes replacing the G an easy decision.
£18 for 50cl
OTO CBD Bitters: CBD infused drinks to ease anxiety
We’ve all heard the hype about CBD, and whether you believe in it or not, there is no denying the depth these premium bitters will bring to any drink. Formulated by CBD experts OTO, with the sole purpose of amplifying tonics and juices while using the power of optimum-strength CBD to enhance any social situation, no matter how bad the anxiety gets, is, quite frankly, genius. The herbaceous and citrus concentrate of joy allows for great buildability too, so whatever your flavour preference, you can tailor-make your drinks to your exact specifications.
£79 for 100ml
Seedlip Spice 94: For autumnal cocktails
Seedlip has become a hard and fast staple in the lives of those that decide not to consume alcohol. It revolutionised the alcohol-free G and T and made lazy summer days and date nights far more handleable. Well, now we can thank them for making it possible for all us non-drinkers to consume the King of the cocktails, the Espresso Martini or MartiNO in our case. Jamaican allspice berry and cardamom are distilled in oak and cascarilla. Together the blend is simply perfect with a cold brew coffee, and the tell-tale bean trio to garnish.
From £26 for 70cl
Æcorn Dry: The alcohol-free prosecco alternative
There are few options available for lovers of bubbles and decent wine, so when Æcorn Dry hit the market, it also hit the nail on the head. The light and refreshing taste of sage and chamomile create the ultimate dry crispness that we crave from a cold bottle of wine or prosecco if you top it with sparkling water. No longer do you need to fill your cup with a soft drink alternative, you can now raise your glasses with this party-proof alternative.
From £19.99 for 500ml
Peroni Libera: For lager lovers
Luckily there are options for the 0 per cent beer drinkers out there, but, it does take some trying and testing to find your favourite. Also, be warned that a few breweries still use the same sulphites in the production of their lagers and ales, which can, weirdly, lead you to feel hungover the next morning and we all know that is not the objective. Peroni is my current favourite, with a slight hint of grapefruit to taste. This larger is light, doesn't make you feel bloated, and is somewhat smarter than sporting a tinny at the bar.
From £4 for four
Monte Rosso: For a no-alcohol Aperol spritz
The trusty spritz has stood the test of time, from Granny's Campari and Soda to today's summer evening must-have the Aperol Spritz, but for some, the percentage doesn't outway the taste. Monte Rosso is definitely sweeter and fruitier than its alcoholic cousins, but with its blend of strawberries and bitters, it does make for an ideal citrus spritz. Serve it long, with plenty of ice, and lashings of tonic or sparkling water and a slice of orange to recreate those warm, balmy evenings in the garden.
From £1.50 for 175ml
Amplify: the no-alcohol alternative to vodka
Cocktails are a godsend, they are fun and flirty and oh so delicious, but more often than not, cause some of the worst hangovers. This is because mixing liquors is the devil's work. It's well known around the world that vodka is the ultimate spirit when it comes to mixing cocktails, it is the perfect base for almost any beverage. So, with that in mind, I sought out to find an equally flexible AF counterpart to the traditional transparent elixir. Please welcome Amplify to the stage. This vegan, gluten-free, zingy base is the must-have replacement for that bottle Smirnoff you keep on the side. The taste is not overpowering which allows it to blend beautifully with almost anything you might have at home, making it the ideal component for any funtime, fancy-schmancy concoction you can think up.