When I first decided to go alcohol-free (nearly 6 years ago now), the choice of drinks on offer was a bit lacking. As a dedicated foodie, I was always disappointed by the sickly sweet offer of a cola or lemonade to go with my meal. There was a lack of different tastes to go with different moments: the aperitif, the food pairing flight, and then something to cleanse my palate before dessert – which I now always have and thoroughly enjoy.
What got me through was an accidental find in a Carluccio’s restaurant during one of our Club Soda lunch meetups for members. A little orange bottle that was not on their menu, but was in their fridge, called Crodino. Produced by Campari, it turns out to be Italy’s most popular non-alcoholic aperitif, which has been around since the 1960s (it is nice to find a drink in this space that was conceived before me).
Crodino takes its name from Crodo, a small town located in the North West of Italy, where it has been produced and bottled since 1964, the year of birth of the “Blond” Aperitif. Its unique bitter taste comes from an extract still produced according to a secret recipe, with a traditional infusion of carefully selected herbs, spices, woods and roots that are ripened for six months, giving it a distinctive and refreshing aroma.
Whilst there are some slightly bitter lemonades and orange fizzy drinks that you can find, Crodino goes one step further and is more bitter and less sweet. A grown-up drink that is sippable. It is a bright shade of rust-orange and the first thing Club Soda members said in Scotland was that it looked like Irn-Bru! But that is where the similarity ends. It has a bitter-sweet character to it, with hints of vanilla and a touch of orange. After this comes the herbal bitter notes which are a good way to round off any drink in my view!
Crodino’s intense flavour profile lends itself to drinking on the rocks, long with soda, as a spritz with alcohol-free fizz, or as a base for an alcohol-free or low strength cocktail.
In January, Club Soda members across the country, in Manchester, London and Glasgow, tried Crodino at our lunches and voted for their best ways to drink it. (although we did ignore the Italian bartender in Carluccio’s in Glasgow who suggested that we drink it in the true Italian way with the bottle tipped up and left in the glass.)
Grab the biggest wine glass in the restaurant and fill it with ice and a slice of orange and pour your Crodino over.
Topped up with soda
Fill a glass with ice, add your Crodino and finish with a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange twist.
As a spritz
We are big lovers of the Italian Scavi and Ray alcohol-free prosecco (use discount code CLUBSODAVIP). Top up your glass of Crodino with this, and you have created a delicious and decadent drink that will be a perfect treat this summer.
Gluten free: Yes
Alcoholic Strength: max 0.40% ABV (0.80 proof)
Calories (kcal): 61 per 100ml bottle
Sugar: 15 g
Dietary carbs: 15 g
If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live and to share stories, advice and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best places for mindful drinkers.