Image by: stevendepolo
Christmas can pose many of its own pressures, but chief amongst them is feeling that you have to imbibe in a celebratory festive drink to get in to the spirit of things (pun intended) with friends and colleagues.
Some of us, however, just don’t want to get merry or drink anything alcoholic and it’s something of a perplexing, head-scratching task looking for good non-alcoholic alternatives. Sure, there’s the standard Coke or Lemonade but they can get a bit boring, so the quest for a suitable alco-free substitute can feel like a soul-sappingly futile one.
Of course, not partaking in intoxicating liquid refreshment can also be down to pregnancy, religion, medical reasons, or the fact you’re the designated driver for the evening –not just simply that you don’t want to get sloshed.
But now there’s a myriad of cocktails, ciders, stouts, beers, and even wines that you can enjoy without feeling a bit woozy after a glass or two. The attitude and the marketplace is changing, gearing more towards those who want to have a good night but be free of the thumping hangover the next morning.
Traditionally associated as the beverage of choice for straw-nibbling, kerchief-wearing, muck-spreading West Country Wurzel types, cider has taken an interesting, divergent path over recent years. Places like The Apple in Bristol have worked miracles transforming general perceptions of cider from red-nosed alcoholics to a more sophisticated clientele (well, they’re sophisticated at the start of the evening anyhow). Well, now there’s a non-alcoholic substitute that’s just as tasty as the real thing – minus the inevitable late-evening wobbliness.
More and more people are embracing alco-free wine as you get the taste but not the tipsiness, although three are versions that have been de-alcoholized to contain less than 0.5 ABV. Either way, you can still benefit from the scented aromas, mellow fruitiness, wafts of Stilton, and soupcon of lazy autumn afternoons. Oz Clarke would be proud.
Once associated with Enid Blyton novels and quaint countryside picnics, you can now indulge in lashings of said beer, know you’re not going to feel drunk and glean the health benefits as well. Ginger is proven to ease indigestion, alleviate the pains of arthritis, and eases colds, flu, and migraines. Non-alcoholic and plenty of medically proven advantages, what more could you want?
Whereas cider drinkers come complete with their own set of stereotypes, so the perception of an ale drink also comes loaded with a certain amount of clichéd baggage – ostensibly that it’s a drink for old men, diligently comparing notes on aroma, flavor and hoppiness for Busty Maiden’s Knob Rattler (or whatever quirky names those inventive breweries come up with). Flavors for alco-free beers have in the past been a disappointment – weak, watered down and pretty tasteless. Things have improved dramatically in recent years, with the tastes and flavors now more than a match for their heady, hop-filled counterparts.
Now we’re all partial to a Slow, Comfortable Screw, but I bet you never thought you’d have one, wake up the next morning and remember everything clear as day. Also called mocktails, these delightful concoctions have all the color and flavor of the real thing, though whether you want to adorn your glass with the customary umbrella and bright, sparkly adornments that would put some wall lighting to shame is entirely up to you.
Have you tried any alcohol-free drinks and what did you think of them?
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Author Byline: Gavin Harveyis a fitness fanatic who caught the traveling bug hard in his early twenties. Always somewhat of a free spirit, Gavin now spends his days watching classic movies, searching for tasty non-alcoholic drinks, and blogging for Litecraft.