In recent times, I have found myself looking to lower the amount of alcohol I consume – for no other reason than I can feel myself getting older and believe the time to be concerned about longevity has arrived. In doing so, I work to increase the number of alcohol-free days each month by sipping non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits or enjoying low-alcoholic beverages. One might ask why drink at all? The answer is simple: On nights that choose not to drink, I still want to be part of the party. That means finding products that are satisfying and refreshing.
Finding non-alcoholic beer is a snap. There are lots of good options in the market today, including Beck’s Bitburger, Buckler, Clausthaler, Coors, St. Pauli Girl, Einbecker, Erdinger, Kaliber, and O’Douls. I have tried them all and find them very satisfying. Curious? Amazon.com offers a variety pack delivered to your front door for $79.99. No alcohol means you can drink these beers anywhere or any time of day. Check out this “interesting” marketing video for Heineken Zero.The product sells for under $10 a six-pack.
The beauty of non-alcoholic cocktails is they allow drinkers to be part of the party without the unwanted effects of alcohol. I do like Aperol (11% abv) on the rocks with a splash of soda or ginger ale as a low-alcohol drink, but the options are increasing for 100% non-alcoholic spirits and many are very tasty. Take Seedlip for example. Bartenders tell me that they include Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit, behind the bar to add flavor (rather than heat) to a drink. The product comes in three styles woodsy Spice, citrusy Grove, and floral Garden. While Seedlip does enhance a cocktail, the product is also lovely sipped on the rocks with a splash of ginger ale, soda or tonic making it a perfect cocktail alternative for around $38 a bottle. Curious Elixirs is another sipper that has caught my eye. Advertising heavily on Facebook, this product’s selling point is purity and transparency.
One wine that seems to be making waves in the category is Ariel Cabernet Sauvignon. Crafted in Paso Robles, California this red wine is fermented in a stainless steel vat and then barrel aged. The alcohol in the wine helps to pull out some of the tannin and flavor characteristics of a barrel creating a complex flavor profile in the wine. The alcohol is removed just before bottling. Doing so keeps the wine from tasting like grape juice, which is part of my distaste for alcohol-free wine. At about $27 a bottle, I must say, they are on to something and demand breeds invention so we just may be seeing more alcohol-free wines on the market. One of my WSET Diploma students recently recounted a story about a customer toting a bottle of the same into his high-end restaurant asking him to poured it when the other guests at his table ordered wine with dinner. Like me, this gentleman wanted to be part of the party without the effects of alcohol.
WATER INTO WINE
Recently, ABC News announced that O.Vine, a non-alcoholic “wine water” is now available in the USA. Crafted from the skin of the grape (it’s sold varietally) this wine-inspired water debuted at NYC’s Fancy Food Show in 2018. I find it interesting that they are packaging the beverage like water (plastic bottle and plastic screw cap) while touting the benefits of wine such as flavor and tannin. I am going to make a point of finding this product and give it a try one hot day this summer. “It’s very refreshing, it’s light, it’s fruity, it’s delicious.” OK. I am in.
Sober Curious Movement