PUBLISHED January 7th, 2021 05:00 am | UPDATED January 19th, 2021 01:55 pm
Even the biggest of boozehounds (like us) might have many reasons to lay off the alcohol: health concerns, pregnancy, or simply Dry January. Not imbibing, though, doesn’t mean you can’t indulge – not with our growing crop of alcohol-free drinks with all the finesse and flavour of the original. Some of these zero-alcohol spirits, wines, and beers use cutting-edge tech to remove the alcohol from the regular stuff; others blend essences to achieve their desired flavour profiles. To get you tippling up sans hangover and Asian flush, these are the brands and bottlings that do it right.
Spirit & Cocktail Alternatives
Named for the lyrebird – an Australian songbird with a knack for mimicking sounds – Lyre’s captures the taste of back bar staples from rum to whisky. Crafted from natural essences and extracts, its 13-strong range has already racked up over 40 awards at competitions like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the London Spirit Awards. The American Malt tastes like a watered-down iced tea, but fruitier blends like the citrusy Dry London Spirit and the crisp Italian Spritz fare better (all S$59 each). Other classics for your tipple toolkit include the roasty Coffee Originale, the caramel-sweet Spiced Cane Spirit, and the refreshing Orange Sec.
Shop Lyre’s range here.
The UK-based trailblazer that made zero-alcohol trendy, Seedlip offers flavourful fixes for the gin junkies. While its current range of three blends contain no juniper, each still boasts a complex flavour profile from a unique set of herbs, spices, and peels.
The herbaceous Garden 108 melds handpicked peas and hay with a spearmint base, while Spice 94 gets peppery with allspice and cascarilla bark (each S$70). Meanwhile, Grove 42 sings with a citrus burst of orange, lemongrass, and Sancho peppercorn. Their latest canned cocktail range takes the fuss out of imbibing with ready-to-drink G&Ts like the Seedlip Grove 42 & Lemongrass Tonic.
Taking the Western-dominated market by storm is Melati, Asia’s first non-alcoholic aperitif. The brainchild of Lorin Winata (better known as @sheeatsshecooks), Melati (S$68) blends 26 Asian botanicals in one cherry-coloured wellness potion. With cold-pressed herbs and fruits drawn from Asian medicine like goji berries, sencha, red Kampot pepper, and hibiscus, this aperitif packs quite the antioxidant punch – just the liver detox we tipplers need. Add a splash of tonic water or soda for a floral, bittersweet refresher.
Shop Melati here.
Founded by an expectant father striving for a healthier lifestyle, Savyll shakes up cocktail classics with an alcohol-free twist. Previously known as Sipling, this UK label has six bottled, ready-to-drink cocktails to get the party going. For beach sippin’, snag yourself a Mojito made with natural extracts and citric acid, or a Bellini bursting with white grape and peach juice concentrate (S$5.90 for a 250ml bottle). The Moscow Mule has much of the delicious warmth of the original, while the richly sweet Spiced Rum & Cola goes down a treat on cold nights.
Shop Savyll’s range at Ryan’s Grocery.
ÉLIVO is a Spanish label dedicated to non-alcoholic wines – and some pretty spectacular ones at that. Their vino is de-alcoholized through a proprietary method, involving evaporation at low temperatures and cryogenization to seal in all your delicious wine flavours. Our choice pick from their their flagship Zero Zero range is the Zero Zero Deluxe Sparkling (S$39.90), styled after a semi-dry cava. Crafted with Chardonnay grapes, this straw-coloured number is crisp and bright, with generous bubbles from carbonation of the de-alcoholised wine. The French oak barrel-aged Zero Zero Deluxe Red (S$24.90) has plenty of soft tannins and light acidity.
Shop ÉLIVO’s range at Spice Wines.
Melbourne up-and-comer Non bucks the de-alcoholized wine trend – their 0% vino resemble tisanes more than traditional wine, made from sous vide fruits and herbs infused in hot water. No wonder, then, that their five-strong range reads like a tea list. Salted Raspberry & Chamomile draws together raspberries, verjus, and Murray River salt into a pet nat-style concoction; the carbonated Caramelized Pear & Kombu echoes cider with its honeyed medley of whole pears and black tea. Then there’s the Roast Beetroot & Sansho, styled after a Shiraz but inexplicably recalling a Bloody Mary thanks to pepper, bay leaf, and fermented soy sauce notes.
Shop Non’s range at Temple Cellars.
You might know Hunter Valley vineyard McGuigan for its pocket-friendly Black Label range, but it’s recently spread its booze-free wings. The McGuigan Zero collection sees five bottlings de-alcoholized with cutting-edge cone spinning tech, preserving wine’s delicate fruit flavours. The McGuigan Zero Sparkling (S$32) makes a stellar party-popper with its lively green apple and pear crispness, while their Zero Sauvignon Blanc (S$32) is full of passionfruit and lime notes. Or wind down your evening with the ripe, strawberry-forward Zero Dry Rose (S$32).
Shop the McGuigan Zero range at Free Spirit.
Big Drop Brewing Co
Big Drop is all about big, hoppy flavours – they just so happen to be alcohol-free. This award-winning UK brand boasts a sprawling range for almost every shade of craft beer lover, made not only with barley but over 20 specialty grains from rye to oats. Our favourite might just be the Galactic Milk Stout (S$33 for a six-pack), a milk-laced number oozing honey and chocolatey richness. The Paradiso Citra IPA is a hop bomb juiced up with citrus brightness, and you won’t go amiss with the Uptown Craft Lager, an easy-drinking floral number (each S$33 for a six-pack).
Shop Big Drop Brewing Co’s range at Free Spirit.
This German brand brews up non-alcoholic beers, and get this: they’ve been doing it for well over 40 years. Their process involves a controlled fermentation technique that produces only minuscule amounts of alcohol, plus dry-hopping to give the brews a full aroma and taste. Hop on the booze-free bandwagon with the Clausthaler Original Dry Hopped (S$19.80 for a six-pack), which looks, smells, and tastes like an amber lager. Full-bodied and caramel-rich, this makes a great thirst-quencher with chicken and potatoes. For something more fruity, the Original Grapefruit (S$19.80 for a six-pack) is a bright blend of the Original and grapefruit juice.
Shop Clausthaler’s range at RedMart.
Once a monastery where medieval monks did the brewery, Bavarian outfit Alpirsbacher combines centuries of tradition with brewing water from the Black Forest’s famed springs. Zero-alcohol beer is their latest venture, made by removing alcohol from the fully fermented and matured beer. The 0.0% Lager (S$30 for a six-pack) starts out sparkling and deepens into spicy hop notes, while the award-winning 0.0% Weizen is a fruity, cloudy wheat beer. You could easily down a bottle or three of their lemon juice-mixed 0.0% Radler Naturtrüb as well – and you won’t even need to fear a hangover.
Shop Alpirsbacher’s range at Free Spirit.
Top Image: Seedlip