Sober-curious drinking

Whatever the reason behind your dry July, there’s no denying the growing awareness of booze-free drink options in restaurants and bars beyond the sweet mocktail.

I’ve tried many, many variations of alcohol free beer, wine, spirits and Ready-To-Drinks. You’ll notice the different mouth-feel most. It doesn’t have the same weight in the mouth that alcoholic versions of do. That’s just the way things are.

Here are my top recommendations.

Lyre’s American Malt

I like whiskey, I won’t deny that. The vanilla and herbal notes provide a welcome to my winter drinking. Mixed with a nice dry ginger ale, it’s easy drinking. I’ve even made a Mint Julep with it when I was feeling fancy.

Cheese match – L’Amuse Signature Gouda

Brunswick Aces Spades Sapiir

London dry style similar to a gin, so infused with a range of botanicals including green cardamom, lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepperberry

I make an old school G&T with Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light Mediterranean Tonic, and some fresh citrus peel from the backyard pots. A large ice cube and fancy glass and things are looking better already.

Cheese match – double down on the fragrance of the Mediterranean vibes and some Fleur du Maquis

UpFlow Stout

This brings togther all the delightful roasty, toasty flavour of malt with a backbone of bitter chocolate/coffee. As is the case with alcohol free beer, the head dissipates quickly, there is plenty of flavour to keep you engaged.

Cheese match – Bleu d’Auvergne

Sobah Pepperberry IPA

Thanks to the hoppy IPA base and the spice of Australian Native pepperberries, this IPA has great depth of flavour. Apparently it is rich in antioxidants and vegan friendly but what really counts is that it’s a great sub in that actually tastes like craft beer.

Cheese match –Rouzaire Fougerus or perhaps a washed rind

Wine – For me, I appreciate high amounts of acidity in my drinks and most de-alcoholised wines are too soft, and sometimes too sweet. Tannins not only give wine bitterness but also body.

I’ve tried a handful of options and none of them are wine in my book.

Many of the alcohol-free options are sparkling and that’s probably something to do with carbonation’s influence on the mouthfeel.

If you do find a good wine, let me know. I still drink wine, beer and spirits but it’s no longer a default position.

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