Dry January is the UK-wide initiative that challenges millions to go booze-free for one month. If you’re planning to reset your relationship with alcohol and take on the challenge, here we’ve created our review of the best alcohol alternatives, including non-alcoholic gin and wine, plus alcohol-free lager.
There’s one word for these Stryyk alternatives: impressive. Each variation is close enough to the real thing that you don’t feel as though you’re drinking an alcohol replacement - they taste great, but don’t have the chemical aftertaste or burn you’d get with normal alcohol. If you’re someone who’s really into cocktails but looking to go alcohol-free this January, try getting some of these in – they’ll stop your mocktails from tasting like just fruit juice. They’re also zero fat, zero added sugar and distilled here in the UK, so they're a great option if you’re trying to avoid the traditional calorific soft drink alternatives.
Eins Zwei Zero Riesling, £6.99
Alcohol free wine has never had a particularly good reputation. In the UK, many of the wine alternatives on the market are either sugary, fizzy and artificial tasting or watery, but this 0% riesling couldn’t be more different. Although it’s a riesling, it’s not overly sweet and has a fresh, light, and citrus-fruity taste to it, so when you drink it chilled, you actually feel like you’re drinking a glass of wine, not pop. It's also available in a sparkling version, so if you have an event coming up in January but want to remain alcohol free, you can still raise a glass without compromising on your goals, or having to raise a diet coke. It’s also pretty low calorie – a medium glass (175ml) is around 40 kcal, so it’s definitely worth a try.
The first thing to note about all three Æcorn products is although they look like wine alternatives, they’re actually marketed as non-alcoholic aperitifs. If you like bitter, aromatic or dry aperitfis and digstifs like Vermouth, Campari, Chartreuse and Salers, then you’ll be a fan of these – they’re definitely not sickly-sweet or anything like the likes of Schloer, although the packaging might suggest a likeness to wine. If you're stuck between flavours, you really can trust the descriptions on the packaging. The 'dry' in the green bottle has a bitter, floral and botanical flavour, whilst the 'bitter' version, pictured in the middle, has a cirtus, almost aperol-like taste. The 'aromatic' in the burgundy packaging has a smokey, cake-ish scent and is the sweetest of the three, although, again, don't expect artificial sweetness. We definitely advise serving them chilled over ice or with a splash of chilled sparkling water. They’d also work well mixed or your favourite tonic, or added to a mocktail.
You may have seen these Seedlip drinks in your nearest supermarket or even your local pub - they're quite easy to get your hands on, with everywhere from Tesco to Holland & Barrett stocking the alcohol-free spirits. Although, like the Æcorn aperitifs (they're made by the same company) they are available in three different variations - garden, grove and spice - the dominant flavour in each is botanical and bitter - much like a regular gin.
Where these do depart from the traditions of a regular gin is in texture. They have a slightly watery texture in comparison to a regular, alcoholic spirit, but they still mix really well in the tonic of your choice. They're a welcome alternative to sugary, fruit-juice based alcohol-free options if you're a fan of something more sophisticated.
If you’re a fan of an Aperol Spritz, Everleaf will be a great alternative for you. It’s a bittersweet aperitif that’s been created by a conservation biologist who not only has family connections in botany, but also happens to be a bartender. It’s completely natural in colour, flavour and texture, so it's a great option if you're on a January health-kick and looking to detox after the season of over-indulgence. For those of us trying to be a bit more mindful of our planet in the new year, it's also sustainably sourced. To serve, the creators advise that you mix one part of Everleaf with three parts diet tonic, and serve over ice with a slice of orange. We also think it works well with aromatic tonic and a slice of grapefruit.
All Three Spirit products are designed to replicate the feel-good factor you experience when you drink alcohol, but without the damaging side effects. The Three Spirit Social Elixir, for example, blends together a number of different plant-based ingredients - lion’s mane mushroom, yerba mate and damiana - that have been used for centuries to induce a sense of elevated mood. Our favourite, however, is the Three Spirit Nightcap. It contains natural ingredients such as lemon balm, valerian and hops to relax and soothe the mind, and after one drink we found it helped us to sleep solidly through the night. It works just like a glass of red wine before bed, but tastes like a firey ginger ale.