Spring Revival: Alcohol-free substitutes
Statistics suggest a large part of the Covid recovery is weaning ourselves off the afternoon tipple. Never fear, Tony Cox is here with some alcohol-free substitutes.
Welcome to the first foray into a post-Covid world and if the pundits are to be believed, Australia’s economic resurgence is likely to be on the back of the booze industry in conjunction with the takeaway food industry (if the share trajectory of Dominos and Collins Foods, a KFC franchise operator, is anything to go by). Not content with pivoting and using ethanol to make hand sanitizer, our ingestion of all things booze-related is seeing boom-like trading conditions for many alcohol retailers as we sip, sniff, swirl and swallow, anything but spit our way to a new norm.
After months of self-medicating, your scribe has noticed a surge in non-alcoholic beverages hitting the market just in time to turn my life around and restore some semblance of sobriety!
The latest was released just last week and comes from the crew at Heads of Noosa Brewery. Following on from the interest in health, and especially rehydration, the team has released Hop Valley Sparkling Water, which is a non-alcoholic, sugar-free, gluten-free, hop-infused sparkling water. Here is the rub, you get a subtle hop infusion, imparting the green flavour of the hops, with refreshing effervescence all packaged in a darkened 330ml beer bottle. You can still have hop breath without the performance anxiety a full session on the beers may bring so I guess everyone wins. It is such a refreshing and versatile beverage that it has huge potential as a mixer as well, with the ideal garnish being cucumber to mirror the green notes of the hops and if you must do citrus, more a sweet citrus than a sour edge.
There has also been the emergence of alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits.
Heineken 0 has taken off since its release, with many stating it is the best of the alcohol-free beers on the market. Given it is made using the unique A Yeast then gently has the alcohol removed it is little wonder the flavour of this not-so-bad boy resembles a real lager.
Wine-wise, while Edenvale has had the space pretty much to themselves, there is now a plethora of competitors. The most difficult thing to replicate from my taste testing is the textural component that alcohol provides. McGuigan Zero is perhaps the leading domestic range with a sparkling, a rosé, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and shiraz. The sparkling, while no Champagne, has bright acidity to close and is fresh. The rosé again is clean and my wife enjoys the chardonnay in the early days of the week.
The product most true to the alcohol original is the Torres Natureo Rosé from Spain, a blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon, dealcoholized to approximately .5% alcohol. It has a little sweetness and finishes clean. Also in the range is a white made from muscat grapes and a red which is a blend of grenache and shiraz.
After a little lockdown sabbatical it is great to be back and with these non-alcoholic options ensuring I am now lucid, we can reset the compass and find some fantastic drinks for you just in time for Christmas in the next edition.
45ml Seedlip Grove 42
15ml Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso
30ml Todays Fruit Juice
15ml Raspberry Syrup
2 Dashes Aromatic Orange Bitters
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, double strain into chilled martini coupe.
Garnish with two raspberries on skewer.
Recipe courtesy of The Bartenders