Celebrate your Free Spirit with a Dry July.
No alcohol? No problem. With these sophisticated spirits you won’t have to sacrifice taste, enjoyment or the flavour of top-quality natural ingredients. The only thing you’ll miss is the hangover.
It’s no surprise that the No & Low alcohol movement is gaining momentum. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past couple of years it’s that your health is your most important asset. We are more aware than ever of what we put into our bodies and are constantly looking for healthier alternatives - this goes for drinking habits too. Make a start by cutting out alcohol for the month of July; giving your liver a break, lowering your blood pressure, losing weight, being clear headed and being able to drive yourself home. What’s not to like?
WHAT TO DRINK WHEN YOU’RE NOT DRINKING
Okay, you’ve made the decision, so now what are you going to drink? Sugary cool drinks and non-alcoholic beers used to be the only alternatives to alcohol. Fortunately, these days there’s a wide range of sophisticated alcohol-free distilled spirits made specifically for adults. Crafted and distilled in the same traditional way using natural ingredients, they give you the freedom to skip the alcohol without sacrificing the taste or that sense of celebration when enjoying a drink with friends.
One of the pioneers of alcohol-free drinks is the UK’s Ben Branson who, to solve the problem of what to drink when you’re not drinking, created Seedlip - the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit. Infused with botanicals and made without sugar or artificial ingredients, Seedlip has zero calories plus the copper pot distillation produces the same complex flavours their alcoholic counterparts.
South African distillers weren’t far behind and our locally made, alcohol-free spirits are up there with the best. Inspired by the Cape’s indigenous flora and culinary history, the aptly named Abstinence collection has three variants which each feature a hero ingredient that’s intrinsically South African. Cape Citrus combines a citrus base with delicate notes of buchu, pepper and fennel and the warm spice of cassia bark. The heavenly fragrance of Cape rose geranium is at the heart of the Cape Fynbos variant. A classic Italian-style bitters, The Abstinence Aperitif exudes rich flavours of citrus and natural botanicals.
Meaning free in Zulu (in this case, free from alcohol and artificial ingredients),
Mahala Botanical was the winner of the Low-No Alcohol Spirit Award at the prestigious Michelangelo International Spirit Awards in the same year it was launched. The brainchild of Danielle Schoeman, one of the Cape’s few female master distillers, it’s made with nine hand-sourced botanicals. Mahala is a complex spirit layered with aromas of spices and subtle florals with honey bush adding a soft sweetness. It’s a true farm to glass process using plants from Danielle’s family farm and water sourced on the property.
MIXING WITH THE BEST
To get the most from these sophisticated, alcohol-free spirits, you need to mix with best: Fever-Tree works on the premise that if the mixer is three-quarters of the drink, it should be the very best. The founders of Fever-Tree have developed an extensive range of top-quality mixers made with specially selected ingredients from around the world and are free from artificial flavourings and sweeteners. Botanical extracts, spring water and top-quality quinine from the ‘fever trees’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo go into their award-winning tonic water and three diverse varieties of ginger create the fresh, genuine flavours of their ginger ale and ginger beer.
If you’re celebrating a better, healthier you, then why not do it with a cocktail? The unique flavours of these non-alcoholic distilled spirits and the diversity of mixers lend themselves to a variety of cocktails. What’s trending at the moment are the below hot and happening cocktails that you can definitely try at home:
Garden & Tonic
50ml Seedlip Garden 108 topped with Fever Tree Indian tonic, garnished with a lemon peel and fresh berries
50ml Seedlip Grove 42 topped with cranberry juice, lime juice and sugar syrup, garnished with an orange disk
50ml Mahala Botanical topped with ginger beer and lime juice, garnished with lime
Look out for the Free Spirit tasting tables and shelf displays at your local liquor merchant and the non-alcoholic Free Spirit cocktail offerings at selected restaurants and bars.
Let’s drink to a Dry July!