Grown up non-alcoholic drinks for the Spring and Summer
I’ve been having alcohol less frequently as part of living a sightly healthier lifestyle. This means having soft drinks more often when I go out and when I have guests over, and it can get very boring sticking to orange juice or cola, plus it’s hard to find non-alcoholic drinks that feel grown up and sophisticated.
It’s also made me think more about people who can’t have alcohol, including party guests who are driving, friends who are pregnant, and family members who have medical conditions that mean they can’t drink. It would be great to be able to offer some interesting alternatives to them at social events, so I’ve been trying out three different soft drinks that fit the bill.
Seedlip Spice 94 review
First up, Seedlip Spice 94 is described by its inventor as a ‘non-alcoholic spirit’, designed to be added to a mixer to create a refreshing drink. The drink is distilled using barks, spices and citrus, and it has a botanical aroma that’s gin-like but not a direct replacement for gin. It’s also naturally sugar free and has no sweeteners, so it’s also suitable for anyone who wants to avoid sugar, or people who are fed up with fizzy, sickly-sweet drinks.
The makers suggest pouring 50ml of Seedlip over ice and adding a good quality tonic water, plus a squeeze and a slice of red grapefruit. I went with Fever Tree Naturally Low Sugar Tonic Water and slices of orange and lemon as these were already available, and I found it to make a very complex long drink that was pleasantly refreshing and interesting. There were notes of oak, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and allspice berries, but I couldn’t detect any juniper, which is the classic aromatic used in gin, so it’s a unique product with its own character.
I really enjoyed the Seedlip Spice, and would serve it cucumber and lemon slices at a garden party or a barbecue. It would also make a great gift for a pregnant friend who’s missing her G&Ts, or as a treat for anyone doing ‘dry January’ or similar. It’s available at 31Dover.com for £27.95 for a 70cl.
Jenna’s Skinny Lemon review
Next we have Jenna’s Skinny Lemon. This bills itself as ‘the upgraded diet drink’, and the ingredients are carbonated water, Sicilian lemon juice and stevia. There are no added sugars, just two calories per 275ml bottle, and they’re priced at £2.10 each. This is another premium product that would be good for anyone who’s trying to cut their sugar intake.
It’s a thirst-quenching sort of drink, lightly sparkling and not overly sweetened. They’ve somehow managed to avoid the bitter backnote that you can get with stevia, and instead there’s a soft, tangy lemon flavour. It would be good for keeping hydrated in warmer weather or as a mixer with vodka, and it sort of reminds me of a more grown up version of lemon barley water.
Folkington’s Dry Ginger Ale review
Finally, I’ve taste tested Folkington’s Dry Ginger Ale. These are branded as artisan mixers, but you can also drink them on their own over ice. The ginger ale is flavoured with botanical extracts, including West African ginger root, and the flavour is subtle and sophisticated with a hint of caramel. The ginger is obviously present, but it won’t overpower the flavours of good quality spirits, and it could be used to good effect in non-alcoholic cocktails alongside mango, lychee or peach juice, or with some sprigs of fresh mint muddled into it.
These are available in handy fridge packs where you get eight 150ml cans. Until the end of April, all Folkington’s fridge packs at 31 Dover have 50p off if you use this code: FOLK31D, all flavours included.