We like to bring you the brightest and the best information – especially when it comes to alternatives to that evening bottle of beer or glass of wine.
Yesterday, the Club Soda team left the office to attend the Imbibe Live event, described on their website as ‘Europe’s largest on-trade drinks exhibition’. We thought it would be the ideal place to taste lots and lots of new and exotic non-alcoholic drinks. With apologies to all cutting down folks, there was not a lot of low alcohol product there, though we did see a low-alcohol Crabbie’s ginger beer, and a brewer said they do a seasonal 3% ABV mild, but only for one month each year…
So what are the latest interesting and nice-tasting drinks that could be enjoyed by members? We tasted a few, and here is our verdict, written by Carrie Roberts.
Sansu comes in a range of flavours, still and sparkling, and all using the yuzu citrus fruit as the core ingredient. We preferred the sparkling range; flavours like ginger and cucumber made it refreshing and light, if not a little unusual. Not yet widely available we’re afraid…
We really liked this one – it’s a spiced iced tea with citrus undertones, a mature take on the classic iced tea, best suitable for those already sold on them. For those seeking something new however, Sweet Sally teas might not be the adventurous drink they are looking for, as it is not too big a departure from existing iced teas. Nonetheless, we enjoyed them, and can imagine it as an evening drink rather than a party one. Not yet widely available we’re afraid…
Bundaberg drinks are quite hearty sodas – they are bold in taste and strong in flavour. They are Australian “brewed” soft drinks, such as ginger beer and root beer. Though their drinks certainly tasted nice, they might be a bit too sweet for more than a few on a night out. Available from Amazon.
If you’re looking for a more mature drink to enjoy on a night out, the unusual flavours of Kitsch would be more than suitable. If you’re a big fennel fan, their ‘Cucumber and Fennel Seed Soda’ should do the trick. The strong blast of fennel might overpower the undiscerning drinker, but the cucumber gives it a nice balance. The ‘Rhubarb and Basil Soda’ had a bit of a kick, not unlike that of ginger beers. The flavours are definitely strong and unusual enough for these to be as exciting and far from a kids’ drink as possible. Kitsch is a new Scottish brand of soft drinks, and sadly is not yet easily available.
Described as a soft drink for wine lovers, Botonique has created a wine-like drink without the alcohol. This one had a strong floral taste with a fruit aftertaste. It wasn’t too sweet, which made it a great alternative to white wines without the sugar.
New, pink and premade, this should get the amount of bitters to tonic ratio spot on. But it was still rather sweet. I suspect as it also has other ‘botanicals’ along with the angostura bark – such as cardamom, pimento berry and ginger. So it was not as bitter as you might expect – which was a bit disappointing. But it sits well on its own as a drink, and you can buy it in Waitrose at least.
We also found a couple of 0% beers at Imbibe. Praguell is a Czech lager-type beer, a non-alcoholic pilsner. We found the taste ok – not quite top marks, but a solid effort from “one of the oldest breweries in the Czech Republic, founded in 1680”. Praguell is only arriving in the UK now, so isn’t readily available. But we suggested to them that DryDrinker.com might be interested.
The 0.0% Aigua de Moritz is a very light alcohol-free beer, with notes of hop flower, roses and lychee with a slightly roasted cereal and grass aftertaste – which even for a non-beer drinker like Laura was still very palatable.