Low Alcohol Drinks: Dry January Inspiration

Dry January can get a bit dull so here are a few non-alcoholic suggestions of what to drink without sacrificing the reliability of beers and the elegance of cocktails.

Virgin Screw – 0% abv:
This is simply a jazzed up glass of orange juice, but when done well can be delicious, and to be honest most people only drink Screwdrivers to hide the taste of vodka – so why not cut it out? Fill a high-ball glass with ice, top up with the orange juice of your choice – the better the juice the better the drink – and stir, adding a dash of orange bitters if desired, then serve with a large twist of bitter orange. For a longer drink – add soda to taste (this also does make it seem a bit more different that the glass of juice it essentially is).

Hugone – 0% abv:
Somewhere between a non-alcoholic Hugo and a glass of elderflower cordial, this is a long drink with a sweet, floral flavour cut by the vegetal kick of mint. Fill a high-ball glass with ice, add 50ml elderflower cordial, 50ml white grape juice, 10ml lime cordial and 10ml mint syrup. Stir, and top with chilled soda water. Serve with a sprig of fresh mint, best enjoyed overlooking a garden on a sunny day, this drink will nevertheless bring an illusion of summertime to beat the January blues.

G&Temperance – 1.4% abv:
This is not technically a mocktail – but is low enough in alcohol to be included. Ultimately it is just a G&T with the gin replaced by a lower alcohol version. Currently Portobello Road Distillery’s Temperance (4.2% abv) is the only such gin I know of, but you could try some of the non-alcoholic herbal spirits that are around to create a true mocktail. (I wouldn’t recommend it though as I am yet to find one that is worth the often sky high price for what is just flavoured water). Add 50ml Temperance, 100ml of Tonic (standard stuff tends to work best) and a few ice cubes to a tumbler. Stir gently and garnish with a twist of pink grapefruit and a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper. If you like your G&Ts less gin forward, add tonic to taste – this will further lower the alcohol content.

Moretti Zero – 0.05% abv:
An enjoyable lager when glacial – with a pleasing, refreshing note balanced by malty sweetness. It lacks the biscuity flavour and rich mouth-feel of the alcoholic version, and so can feel a bit dull. Yet, it makes a decent drink when sprawled on a sofa watching TV.

Peroni Libera – 0.05% abv:
Another perfectly decent lager when cold enough. It has a more pronounced hoppy florality, as does the alcoholic version, and is perhaps more refreshing. However, it is rather sweet and lacks the balancing bitterness and body that it needs to stand up as a drink on its own. I would say this is a beer for drinking with food.

Erdinger Alkoholfrei – 0.5% abv:
A particularly good low alcohol wheat beer, almost as good as the normal Erdinger. It would be the perfect drink to quench your thirst after a long run or cycle. As a beer to enjoy on its own though, it lacks the complex flavours, such as the banana hints, that are results of normal fermentation.

Adnams Ghost Ship – 0.5% abv:
This is a perfectly good drink that I would happily pick over many alcoholic beers, with a pleasing bitterness and depth of flavour – but cannot beat the alcoholic version for mouth-feel.

– Ed Bedford 


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