Cutting back on alcohol is easier than ever. There are so many alcohol-free spirits on the market, ready for you to explore. Unique botanicals recreate that gin moment, spicy and warming dark spirits are perfect for cosy evenings, and a new wave of zero-proof liquors with mood-enhancing ingredients can transform cocktail hour. But how do you mix alcohol-free spirits at home?
And is it worth the effort?
The answer to that last question is obviously yes!
If you are drinking less or not at all, you could swap out your regular alcoholic tipple for a soda or squash. But feeling deprived makes it harder to stick with the changes you are making.
Alcohol is often used as a reward at the end of our busy day or the way we mark the transition between work and personal time. So settling down with a drink to sip rather than rehydrate helps you slow the pace after the rush of a day. It also means you can better tackle the 5pm trigger time for drinking. The discomfort of not drinking is easier to counter with an alcohol-free drink – a perfect substitution, and a behaviour change science top tip.
Made in your favourite glass, poured and garnished spectacularly, alcohol-free spirits can help mark the shift in time from day to evening. It’s an approach to changing your drinking that’s worked well for thousands of members of the Club Soda community.
So how do you mix alcohol-free spirits perfectly at home?
Choose alcohol-free spirits
I am continually amazed at the flavours some brands have created without needing alcohol to bump up the volume. Lyre’s have a full range of spirits designed to replicate your favourites and easily swap into any cocktail recipe. Or there are bitter aperitif style drinks like Everleaf that can be drunk on the rocks or lengthened with soda or an alcohol-free sparkling wine. A stunning array of clear spirits replicate that gin and tonic moment, such as Caleño or Mahala. Or spirits with spicy vanilla notes are great for that warm feeling on a chilly evening. I am very partial to those with herbs and adaptogenic mushrooms to enhance my mood. The Three Spirit Nightcap is my pre-bed tipple of choice.
Choosing alcohol-free spirits can be daunting, especially if you feel like you are taking a risk on something you don’t know you’ll enjoy. Club Soda’s Alcohol-Free Off-Licence solves that problem for you, by having a wide range of alcohol-free spirits available to sample, so you can try before you buy. Come and visit us.
Find the perfect glass
I was never that fussed when I was drinking. But now, the process of creating a drink is part of the treat. I have lots of interesting glasses to use depending on my mood. None of them say “Gin Lover”! So treat yourself to some beautiful glassware to mix and serve your alcohol-free spirits.
Experiment with measures
You can go large with alcohol-free spirits and not worry about the headache tomorrow. Do what works for you. I use a 50ml measure often. But I do recommend reading what the creators say on the bottle. You do want it perfect, after all!
Pay attention to ice
I have learned that the bigger the ice, the better. Those small cubes dilute the drink, whereas the big ones chill it and keep it cold until you have finished. So invest in a giant ice cube tray. Shaken or poured over ice, your spirit will thank you for it.
Alcohol-free spirits need great mixers
Alcohol-free spirits are designed to go with a mixer. They really do come alive. I have discovered a strong overpowering bitter tonic can overwhelm the delicate flavours, so be fussy when it comes to mixers. Experiment with soda water as well as traditional tonics. Ginger ales also go well with the dark spirits. Double Dutch have a fantastic selection of good quality mixers that complement alcohol-free spirits. If you are using cola, go for something lower sugar and good quality, like Karma Cola or Square Root Soda.
If you’re stuck in a rut with tonic or soda, we’ve pulled together some inspiration. Check out our comprehensive guide to mixers you can use with an alcohol-free spirit.
Finish with a garnish
I had never fully appreciated the additional layer of aroma a good garnish brings to a drink. It makes me excited as I add them to the glass. I clap mint between my hands to release the smell and poke sprigs of rosemary and thyme into my glass. I am an Oddbox subscriber, so the fruit I use depends on what has been rescued. But there is always a wonky cucumber to slice and pop into the side of my glass!
Store your alcohol-free spirits carefully
Alcohol is a preservative, so that bottle of holiday ouzo at the back of your cupboard can last forever. Not so with alcohol-free spirits. Please keep them in the fridge once opened and enjoy them often.
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