Photo: Photography Moderato / JNPR

It can be hard to resist the numerous opportunities for drinks be it at a barbeque or at an outdoor restaurant patio. With hot weather on some days, alcohol is not recommended because it can lead to dehydration. So perhaps it’s time to experiment with “alcohol-free” beverages. 

It’s a beverage trend that has been growing steadily in recent years. While Dry January may be its most popular month, warm days can also be a good time to try some new drinks that will brighten up your evenings without making you dizzy.

(Related: Non alcoholic pairings: how do they work?)

An alcohol-free G&T

This popular cocktail is also a hit in its non-alcoholic version, and has fueled many innovations. Australia’s Twenty Third Street Distillery has created a new take on it. The craft spirits house, whose wide range of products extends from whisky to ouzo served in packages stamped with arty labels, is promising its non-alcoholic consumers a sugar-free recipe with this new release.

Bon vivants in France are also passionate about a gin and tonic that doesn’t come with a hangover headache. The launch of JNPR, feted by the planting of 40 juniper trees in Normandy, is nothing short of a success story. Pronounced “Juniper,” the drink, which is distilled in Corrèze, is complemented by cardamom, coriander and organic apples to get as close as possible to the taste experience of a glass of gin. A 700 ml bottle is priced at around 28 euros and can also be mixed with ginger beer.

To continue our tour of “spirits” derived from plants and citrus fruits that are totally free of alcohol, the brand Atopia is another proposing surprising creations. The taste is rather similar to gin, while distinguishing itself by adding a product made from angelica root and lemon. Spices and orange blossom extracts complete the composition of a surprisingly rich and aromatic beverage.

Say cheers to alcohol-free beer

This is the most popular category when it comes to “Nolo” — meaning “no or low alcohol.” 1664 Blonde, Grimbergen 0.0, Leffe Blonde 0,0°… Even the biggest beer brands have entered the non-alcoholic beer sector. In terms of value, the subcategory represents only 3.7%. And yet, the growth is impressive: +147% in the space of five years. This success can be explained by the way in which a beer is developed without a drop of alcohol.

In the past, the fermentation process was halted to prevent the sugar from turning into alcohol, at the risk of obtaining a cereal taste, but brewers now proceed in a different manner by choosing materials that produce less sugar — and therefore less alcohol. There is often also a final step of dealcoholization.

Among the most lauded products in this area is the Edmond beer line with its amusing labels, devised by a couple who wanted to offer an alcohol-free alternative in the trendy craft beer area. For adventurous taste buds, Danish company Mikkeller is sure to pique curiosity. Among its original recipes, there is a non-alcoholic beer brewed from its own yeast strain and its own Riesling grape juice.

Sparking & alcohol-free

Wine fans are also a target in this market with a selection of original creations that are summery and refreshing without being intoxicating. While the critically acclaimed references can still be counted on the fingers of one hand, we must nevertheless mention the initiative of Moderato.

Two wine enthusiasts, one the heir of a family of winegrowers in Cognac and the other a graduate of a top management school, decided to bring a new level of credibility to the low-alcohol wine section. Working with a young winemaker in Béziers, France, they have developed a range of organic beverages with only 5% alcohol.

Their latest innovation is a totally alcohol-free product in the sparkling category. In addition to the promise of an aperitif that will not make your head spin, La Bulle 0 Moderato is also a novelty for curious palates, since it uses a grape variety not very present in France. The verdejo is indeed a white grape variety from Spain used in wines to be drunk young.

(Related: Non-alcoholic beverage NON is a godsend for teetotalling foodies)

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