UK

Do you love the taste of a nice refreshing cocktail, but sometimes either get stuck as the designated driver or just don’t want the effects of alcohol?

Well I ventured to a well-known drinks event held in London and found three non or low alcohol alternatives that were being offered for adults who desired to control their alcohol intake while also wanting something equally as refreshing.

The Old Fashioned Gin and Tonic

The show space in general was very gin-centric. In all honesty too much gin, even for gin lovers!

Purely in the cause of research mark you, I decided to seek out non-alcoholic alcohol alternatives. For a drink to be considered non-alcoholic alcohol they have to advertise as 0.5% alcohol by volume (abv) because nobody can be sure that the sugar didn’t convert into alcohol, sugar can always turn small into amounts. Because of this I thought finding a completely 0% abv non-alcoholic gin was going to be impossible, but I was able to find a 0-0.5% abv gin.

I first asked for a sample from the company and it tasted like gin neat just without the heating effect from the alcohol. It had the aroma of a juniper based gin. Then they made me a sample Gin & Tonic (G&T) with tonic, ice and lime. It really was a perfect replica of a G&T. Amazing!

I decided to question the company as to how they created this almost non-alcoholic version of gin. They informed me that the carrier liquid was botanised in exactly the same way gin was, but the type of carrier liquid was one aspect of production they were omitting. They were not very forthcoming, so I persisted.

The ‘trade-price’ of this so-called carrier liquid was £24.95 for a 75cl bottle and is sold to outlets to be used in optics to create non [0-0.5%abv] alcoholic cocktail option drinks, giving 30 shots to the bottle. However I wasn’t being fobbed off. What was the carrier liquid for this really good version of G&T? Eventually, I got the answer. Spring Water.

Spring water priced at £24.95 per 75 cl?! That’s £33 per litre. 29 times the price of petrol at my nearest supermarket!

The Diverse Kombucha

An exciting drink I found at the London event was Kombucha, a fermented green or black tea based drink that taste wise ranges according to the individual.

As I experimented through the different brands, I discovered Kombucha can be pricey!

Some brands I saw are sold in some very well-known and high end restaurants and promoted at wine like prices. Just to remind you, Kombucha is a tea based drink you can actually make at home with tea, a jar and a fermenting agent!

Our collaborator spotted a Kombucha browed from ginger and volcanic water. 

In fact, I even found a Kombucha brewed from ginger and volcanic water from Iceland. That was one drink I would consider if having a ‘dry-day’. I’m not going to promote the producer, but the description above shouldn’t need the detective skills of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to track out!

My personal favourite that I tasted was the Darjeeling tea offering. It was quite palatable. It is highly recommended that the green tea one is great with desserts!

The third drink of this piece I must not reveal quite yet because of its highest superiority to the others I experienced at this event. I believe it deserves it own space of recognition so stay thirsty for this reveal!

More stories from The Sommelier:

To the depths of a day tasting wine

Yes we can! Pairing a three course meal