10 best no/low alcohol drinks
Whether you’re just cutting down or going stone-cold sober for October, here are 10 of the best no/low alcohol drinks you can buy.
The no/low category is a growing one, with it being estimated that a third of pub visits in the UK are now alcohol free. In response to the demand, companies ranging from new startups to historic brewers have devised new ways to make alcoholic drinks minus the alcohol, but without compromising the flavour too severely.
Beyond these alcohol-free spirits, beers and wines, there are also drinks that are 0-0.5% anyway, and are not acting as direct replacements, but are included in this list as they can also fill the role of an alcoholic drink nicely.
Caleño Dark & Spicy
Caleño founder Ellie Webb’s travels in Colombia resulted in a brand which is as vibrant and exciting as the South American nation. Combining pineapple, coconut, ginger, vanilla, kola nut and lime, this non-alcoholic spirit certainly packs a punch of flavour, and works as a superb substitute for rum when mixed into a cocktail, or it can just be enjoyed on its own terms over ice.
There’s a reason why Lucky Saint dominates the booze-less beer game (including becoming the first alcohol-free draught partner at the Oval – howzat for brand exposure). Technically, the unfiltered lager is 0.5% ABV, but, as Lucky Saint points out, that is a similar level to a ripe banana.
When it comes to gin, Sipsmith has certainly made a name for itself, and (189 prototypes later), the formula for a decent non-alcoholic variant has been cracked. With eucalyptus on the palate and an underlying, familiar juniper warmth, this rendition may be lacking in ABV, but it certainly scratches the itch for when you want a gin & tonic.
Fever-Tree Limited Edition Damson & Sloe Berry Tonic
Speaking of G&Ts, you can just cut out the middle man of buying an alcohol-free gin if you opt for a flavour-packed tonic. Fever-Tree has no shortage of flavours, but this autumnal limited edition offering offers a sublime seasonal sip that really doesn’t need any added gin (though an extra bit of sloe gin could add a further hit of that tart, fruity flavour).
Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay
Spanish Chardonnay was sourced for this, and, after vinification, it was then vacuum distilled (to remove the alcohol while preserving much of the aroma) and then lightly carbonated. While the process of dealcoholizing a wine does alter the flavour and body, you can still end up with a very pleasant drink that fills the role of fizz very nicely.
Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5%
The Southwold-based brewer’s impressive offering of low-alcohol beers also extends to one of this writer’s favourite pub pints. The distinctive citrus tang remains, but without most of the alcohol, making a drink that certainly tastes different, but is far from a ghost of the regular 4.5% ABV version.
Worth buying for the beautiful packaging alone, what’s within the bottle is equally premium. Roasted Japanese green tea is cold-brewed for 24 hours, combined with grape juice and then carbonated to create a drink really in a category of its own. Despite the bottle suggesting it’s a replacement for sparkling wine, it’s quite different and unmistakably made from tea. Saicho suggests it works with umami-rich savoury dishes, such as sushi or mushroom risotto.
McGuigan Zero Shiraz
With aromas of black plum, blackcurrant and cherry, with vanilla and a hint of clove, this zero-alcohol wine of Australia provides what you expect from Australian Shiraz, but with the alcohol removed by spinning cone technology that evaporates the ethanol, though a very small amount of thickener has been added to make up for the loss of body.
An ABV-free aperitivo is one thing, but one with a pedigree of almost 60 years is quite another. Citrussy, fruity, herbal, spicy – it’s reminiscent of vermouth or Aperol, but is really in a class of its own. Just pour over ice, add a slice of orange, and dream of being in Crodo, in Piemonte, where this beverage (now owned by Campari) was born.
No. 1 Living Ginger Kombucha
In this writer’s view, one of the best drinks for when you’re not drinking, kombucha is more than just a passing fad. Fermented, fizzy and flavourful, it ticks plenty of boxes, and it’s also pretty good for your gut, which some scientists suggest is the keystone for the health of the rest of your body. Though it is available in plenty of flavours, the ginger one brings a welcome warming heat.
Alternatively, if it’s low-cal options you’re after, click here.