Back in the day, if you were keen on a non-alcoholic drink you’d either be directed to the water station or handed a lemon, lime and bitters. Mmm, delicious. And so adult. But not anymore. Nowadays, if you’re living your best sober life or just looking to cut back on Friday night indulgence, you’re spoilt for non-alcoholic choice.
Whether you’re a gin drinker or a wine snob, there’s a 0% booze out there to suit your palate.
But what even is a non-alcoholic drink and how do you make it?
Do they squeeze it? Do they chuck it through a sieve? Do they whisper sweet nothings to the vat, light an incense stick, click their heels three times and ~ voila ~ your pint has been de-alcoholised? Apparently not. It turns out there are a few methods to making non-alc dranks, and they often depend on the type of tipple you’re working with.
For example, my little soberinos, some beers are heated to remove alcohol and others are strained using a filter so fine that only water and alcohol can pass through. Either way, the end result is a flat beer, so carbon dioxide is then added back in to give it bubbles. Much like what happens with soda. Ya following?
Wine works slightly differently. Some vinos use a process called vacuum distillation where alcohol is removed at a low temperature and then flavour flaves (aka aromatics) are added back in after. Sometimes winemakers will use things called spinning cone columns, which basically do exactly what they say – spin cones – and this spinning separates elements (aka alcohol). Then there’s reverse osmosis, a cross-flow filtration system that separates elements based on molecular size.
And OH BOY, the science of it all. My brain hurts. Personally, I’m just glad that the smart people of the world have dedicated enough time and brainpower to allow me to day drink without the alcohol content.
Fancy putting your palate to the non-alc test? Get your gob around these tipples:
Maggie Beer Sparkling Ruby Cabernet
PSA all sparkling drinkers – you’ve now got a very pretty, very non-alcoholic option for your next dinner party. Straight outta the fridge of Australian icon and Masterchef alum Maggie Beer, this drink is all champagney, without the alcohol. Talk about tasty.
Natureo Grenache Shiraz
Cooking a Sunday night roast and wanna crack a bottle but avoid the grog part? Introducing, Natureo’s Grenache Shiraz. This red is made out of Grenache and Shiraz grapes, so it’s got classic red berry vibes, soft tannins, and a hint of vanilla, but it’s been de-alcoholised so you can have a guilt-free glass over dinner. Yew beauty!
This stuff is pure sorcery. Like, total magic. Why? Because it genuinely TASTES LIKE GIN. Seedlip has a variety of flavours, ranging from citrusy goodness to spicy delights, but they all go with tonic. Oh, and soda. And sometimes ginger beer. Trust me, I’m speaking from lockdown experience where I drank my way through the entire range.
Lyre’s American Malt
Are you a whiskey drinker? Firstly, god you’re cool. Secondly, try Lyre’s. This non-alc spirit has got all the characteristics of a classic American bourbon malt, with vanilla and toasted nut notes and a long mellow finish. Sounds delightful, right? Don’t just take my word for it. Give it a whirl at your next fiesta.
Yep, Heineken. Your favourite beer brand now comes non-alcoholic. Howzat for some excellent drinking news? Heineken 0.0 has been twice brewed and fermented with Heineken’s unique A-yeast, then has had the alcohol gently removed, leaving a pretty yummy fruit flavour and chill malty vibes.
The Hills Cider Company, Apple Cider
Cider lovers, unite. This right here is a non-alcoholic cider made from 100% Australian grown fruit. It’s got a fresh palate, a couple of layers of lemon and lime and a tonne of deliciousness. If you wanna keep drinking cider, but want to cut down on the alcohol content, this could be the drank for you.
All this got you feeling thirsty? Being deso driver never tasted so good.Image: Instagram / @selenagomez