God help us, Dry January is here again. The time of year when a certain section of the population give up alcohol for a month, or maybe a week, or at least until the first weekend of January because it’s cold and grey and miserable and whisky makes it all slightly more bearable. Anyway…
Dry January has become such a fixture on the drinks trade calendar that you might be surprised that it’s a recent coinage. According to The Week magazine, it was registered in 2014 as a trademark by Alcohol Concern. Since then it’s been followed by all kinds of other ‘giving-up’ months like Stoptober, Go Sober for October, and Veganuary (dread word!).
But giving up or cutting down on alcohol doesn’t have to be an utter misery. The drinks world has finally woken up to adults who want something delicious but, for whatever reason, don’t want alcohol. Low-alcohol spirits (which typically contain less than 1.2% ABV), and zero-alcohol spirits, which contain no alcohol at all, are designed to mimic the flavour profiles, aromas, and mouthfeel of their alcoholic counterparts. Some succeed better than others, it has to be said.
To make things easy for you, we’ve picked five famous alcoholic drinks like gin or whisky and then given you the non-alcoholic equivalent. You can find more inspiration on our no and low page.
Because Dry January doesn’t have to be (that) boring. Is it February yet?
Coastal Spritz is created with blood orange, sea rosemary, and oak wood to keep it fresh, maritime, and gently bittersweet so it will appeal to lovers of Aperol or Campari. Made in collaboration with bartenders, get this over ice with a good splash of soda, and a wedge of orange and bay leaf to garnish.
Produced using a secret distillation process and same botanicals as the regular gin (managing to capture the junipery deliciousness too) but doesn’t feature the alcohol! Mix this with your favourite tonic water, add a slice of grapefruit and a stick of rosemary and you might not even be able to tell the difference.
Inspired by the vibrant flavours of Colombia, this particular expression from the collection is built around tangy, toasty notes of pineapple, black cardamom, coconut, ginger, lime, kola nut, and vanilla. Just add Coca-Cola and a lime wedge and you have yourself a tasty beverage.
The Nightcap is another alcohol free spirit from Three Spirit, with botanicals including lemon balm, valerian, hops, ashwagandha (an evergreen shrub grown in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa) and white willow bark – and it’s also vegan! Because of the woody notes and spices, it should work very well in a booze-less Old Fashioned, with a dash of bitters and orange peel to garnish.
Martini team has gone and made a non-alcoholic aperitivo using wine which has been de-alcoholised and infused with a medley of marvellous botanicals, including the likes of artemisia and bergamot. Mix this with grapefruit juice and soda water and you’ll be in low ABV heaven.
Australian brand Lyre’s specialises in creating tasty and versatile non-alcoholic spirits, and this Amaretti should prove no exception. Perfect for those who want to enjoy the nutty, bitter and tangy profile of the classic liqueur with none of the alcoholic content, whether that’s over ice or in an Amaretto Sour.
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