Well this is all very exciting isn’t it. I’ve been wanting to talk more about the low and no alcohol drinks options that exist today on the blog for absolutely ages. I know that there are quite a few of you who are regular readers of F O who either don’t drink at all or only drink on special occasions. So this one’s for you! My ultimate non-alcoholic gift guide. This post contains items that have been gifted to me. They have been marked with an asterisk. All opinions are of course my own.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Slange Var*
Founded in 2016 by Sarah and Charles, Slange Var was originally created as a non-alcoholic alternative to wine which Sarah could enjoy alongside delicious meals. Disappointed by the sugary non-alcoholic alternatives to her favourite alcoholic drinks, she began experimenting with blends of natural ingredients to create her own drink. They took the drink around Food and Drinks shows in Scotland and in 2017 and 2018 they refined the product to what it is today, a delicious blend of pure honey, fresh lime and ginger.
Slange Var: What does it mean?
Slange Var is actually a Scottish toast which in Gaelic means ‘Cheers, to your good health!’ and Sarah and Charles definitely create this celebratory feeling with the non-alcoholic, natural and refined sugar-free Slange Var. Their aim is to try and create a world where non-drinkers feel part of the party. Which is something that I absolutely love! I think a lot has changed already for the better in terms of the way non-drinkers are perceived. And that’s mostly down to the variety of non-alcoholic drinks that exist now. Gone are the days of ordering a Coke, orange juice or lemonade at the bar when you aren’t drinking. Now you can choose a non-alcoholic spirit and tonic, or a mocktail (that’s not just a mix of fruit juices) and actually have them look and taste like their alcoholic versions.
The are plenty of ways to serve and enjoy Slange Var whether it’s straight, used as a mixer with a fizz (non-alcoholic or alcoholic, your choice!) or topped with a sparkling water. I tried it first on it’s own in a glass with plenty of ice and a slice of lime. This is called the Slange Var Short. If you like a citrus, sour and bitter flavour then the Slange Var Short will be right up your street. The scent of it is pure honey but when you take a sip you’ll be hit with a super bitter lime flavour. Right at the end you’ll be getting that super sweet honey flavour, so good.
Then I tested it out with a bit of sparkling water which Slange Var call the Slange Var Long. I know that super strong flavours aren’t for everyone so if you like a lighter option then adding sparkling water to Slange Var will make a much lighter, long drink.
RRP £8.00, you can purchase Slange Var directly from their website here.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Mockingbird Spirit*
Developed and launched this year during the COVID-19 lockdown, Mockingbird Spirit is an alcohol free tequila alternative founded by Fern McCoy. Having noticed the complete lack of alcohol free alternatives to tequila, Fern took it on herself to try her hand at developing her own version of the spirit with zero of the alcohol. And man am I glad she did because it’s my new favourite thing.
So first off, the scent is pure tequila. If you took the label off it and told me it was tequila I would’ve believed you from the scent alone. As for the taste, I served it with Fever Tree tonic and it was absolutely delicious. It had a freshness to it and a proper tequila taste too. I couldn’t believe that it was alcohol free. Overall it felt like a really special drink that I would be happy to sip on at the weekend. And it’s also made exclusively from vegan ingredients. I’m yet to try making a non-alcoholic margarita with it but that’s definitely next on my list!
RRP £22.99, you can purchase Mockingbird Spirit directly from their website here.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Sobersauce*
Next up we’re talking alcohol free and low alcohol beers from Sobersauce. Sobersauce is an online site dedicated to sharing some of the best alcohol free beers that’re on the market. It came about when founder, Adam, took a break from drinking but found himself really missing beer. Much to his dismay he was finding that although there were non-alcoholic beer options out there, they really weren’t anything like the alcoholic versions that he knew and loved. On a trip to Rotterdam he found himself exploring the world of non-alcoholic beers again and discovered that there were some really amazing alternatives out there (they were just hard to find!). So he went ahead and set up Sobersauce to share the great alcohol free beers that existed with the masses.
Sobersauce: Braxzz Orange IPA
There’s a really great range of alcohol free beers from a variety of different brands on the Sobersauce website, and I’ve picked out one of my favourites to share with you. The Braxzz Orange IPA. Now I have to say, I’m not much of a beer drinker. That being said I do like a good sour, fruit beer and IPA. It’s just that I usually opt for a wine instead. Braxzz Orange IPA combines two of my favourite aspects of a great beer; fruitiness and a fairly light IPA.
When it comes to the flavour, Braxzz Orange IPA definitely packs the orangey flavour. I was expecting it to be super light and super fruity, but found that it wasn’t as light as I assumed it would be. It worked for me though! I also noticed that as I drank it and it warmed up a bit, the orange flavour came out even more which I loved. I’d say this is great for those of you who don’t drink, or maybe don’t drink beer on the regular, rather than regular beer drinkers looking for an alcohol free alternative. It’s a great alcohol free beer but if you’re used to drinking full alcohol beer then you can tell the difference. But that’s the same if you’re a wine drinker who then tries an alcohol free wine. If you drink it on the regular you can tell.
RRP £1.99 per bottle or £19.99 for the Discovery Pack which includes 8 different beers. You can order both directly from the Sobersauce website here.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Binary Botanical*
Founded by Good Living Brew Company, Binary Botanical is a low alcohol, low calorie brewery which came about from its founders shared frustration with the lack of moderate alcoholic beverages. They wanted to create a product that was refreshing like a beer but without the traditional bitterness that a lot of beer has. So they set out on their goal and created Binary Botanical, a low alcohol table beer.
When I first tried out Binary Botanical it instantly reminded me of a cross between beer, cider and wine. It was crisp, light and fruity but with a sort of frothiness that you only get in beer. Lightly sparkling and tangy, it really did feel like a proper alcoholic drink but it’s only 0.5% ABV! Binary Botanical also have a 4% ABV version of their table beer which is actually incredibly similar to the 0.5% version. It just has a slightly stronger flavour. If you’re not the biggest beer fan but want something that’s light and refreshing then Binary Botanical would be ideal for you.
RRP £9.50, for their sample pack (3 pack of 0.5% and 4% ABV). You can purchase it from their website here.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Pentire*
Back to the spirits, we’ve got Pentire, the first non-alcoholic spirit from Cornwall. Inspired by a love of coastal living, Pentire is a botanical spirit made from distilling plants from the Cornish coastline. Their aim was to create a drink that captures the coastal experience in a bottle, and showcase the beauty and flavours of plants. It’s completely free from added sugar, artificial colours and flavourings, and Pentire as a company are committed to sourcing their ingredients responsibly. They even give back by supporting various causes that help to protect our oceans and environment which I think is incredible.
In terms of what Pentire is similar to in the world of alcohol, I’d have to say it’s very much like a gin. It actually reminds me a lot of one of my favourite Spanish gins, Nordés. I think that comes from the balance of sea salt and citrus that Pentire has. It’s subtle and light yet, when served with a Fever Tree tonic, doesn’t get lost at all in the mixer. I was also getting a strong herbal flavour from it. After checking the tasting notes I assumed that must’ve come from the sage. I was really impressed with this as a non-alcoholic spirit. Like Mockingbird it felt like a real treat and I could’ve easily presumed it was a gin if I were to do a blind tasting.
RRP £26.80, available online on the Pentire website here.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Freixenet 0.0% Alcohol Sparkling Wines
Honestly I’m an unofficial Freixenet ambassador at this point. The love for this brand is so real. But it’s completely justified because not only are their alcoholic wines incredible but their alcohol free options are bloody amazing too. If you’re a regular reader then you’ll know all about my love for Freixenet, the Spanish sparkling wine company. I’m a bit of a super fan of their sparkling Italian rosé and absolutely loved their still Italian rosé too (so much so that I featured it in Wine Wednesday). But what you may not know is that Freixenet have a range of alcohol free sparkling wines.
Freixenet: 0.0% Alcohol Sparkling Wines
I tried the alcohol free Freixenet just under a year ago. My mum had had an operation just before Christmas last year which meant that she wasn’t able to drink any alcohol for the weeks afterwards (which just so happened to coincide with Christmas). So on one of my many trips to Tesco in the run up to Christmas I decided to pick up some alcohol free options for her to try. Since both of us were longtime fans of Freixenet, I chose a few of their non-alcoholic options and brought them home with me.
We popped them open on Christmas day and honestly taste-wise they were the closest-to-original non-alcoholic drinks I’d ever had. Have you ever tried non-alcoholic drinks from big label brands before that claim to be just like their alcoholic versions but actually taste nothing alike? We’re talking watered-down grossness. Well Freixenet’s alcohol free wines are anything but watered down. They are SO similar to the original. Of course they aren’t exactly the same in taste but bloody hell they’re very almost there. If you’re a Freixenet fan who’s looking for a no/low alcohol alternative then you HAVE to try this. And if you’re just looking for something new to try then, to be honest, you also have to try this. RRP £5.00, available online and in store at supermarkets including Tesco and ASDA.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Gift This Christmas: Big Drop Brewing Co.*
Finishing off the guide I’m heading back to beer with Big Drop Brewing Co. Launched in 2016, Big Drop was founded for a similar reason to Sobersauce which was the lack of good alcohol-free beer options. Where Big Drop differs to Sobersauce, however, is that Big Drop are a brewery making their own beers. They have a great range of beers on their site from stouts to lagers to IPAs, and all of them are no more than 0.5% ABV. Not bad ey!
Big Drop Brewing Co: Double Strike Sour
So remember when I said I love a sour beer? Well boy have I got a good one for you here. Big Drop’s Double Strike Sour. This one is light and sparkling with a slightly fruity flavour coming through at the beginning. As you get to the end you’re hit with a delicious sour twist. Big Drop describe it as a ‘gateway to the world of sours’ and I completely get what they mean. It’s sour but not too sour, so it’s a drink that I think most beer lovers would enjoy. Even those of you who aren’t typically beer lovers will most likely be on board because it’s so light. It’s gluten free and vegan friendly too. At 0.5% ABV it’s the perfect low alcohol beer for this Christmas.
RRP £22.00 for pack of 12, order online from the Big Drop Brewing Co. website here.
And that’s a wrap on the non-alcoholic gift guide! Have you tried any non-alcoholic versions of your favourite spirits, beers or wines before? What did you think of them? Are there any non-alcoholic drinks in this list that sound like a bit of you? Make sure to let me know in the comments. If you’re wanting to keep the festivities going then head on over and check out my 5 foodie advent calendar picks post. Or, if you’re looking for some boozy Christmas gift ideas then my alcohol gift guide will be right up your street.
Looking for more alcohol free drinks to try? Check out my review of CleanGin.