No-ABV cocktails for the new year.
A person might choose to abstain from alcohol for any number of reasons. Maybe you imbibed a little too heavily over the holidays. Perhaps you don’t like your body’s reaction to drinking, or you just feel you need a little reset. No matter what the reason, listening to your body and mind about your limits is essential. Without those internal check-ins, it is easy to get lost in a sea of unhealthy habits.
These days it can be super fun and tasty to take a break from drinking. From advancements in no-ABV (alcohol by volume) spirits to easy additions that elevate your everyday tea, a world of flavor can be had, whether you’re a teetotaler or just want a few more non-alcoholic drink options. Here are two tips to help start your no-ABV adventure.
Spirits with No ABV
We live in the golden age of spirits, and if you can dream it, you can drink it. Luckily, many folks are trying to recreate the depth and flavors of alcoholic spirits in non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ventures into this world is Seedlip. Launched in 2015 in London, Seedlip is a distilled, non-alcoholic spirit made using a methodology similar to that for gin. Through maceration, distillation, filtration, and a whole host of other scientific processes, Seedlip’s makers manage to create a botanical non-alcoholic spirit that is complex and delicious. The texture is velvety, and the flavor is wild and bold. In formulating its three product offerings, Seedlip uses a massive variety of botanicals, from orange peel to English peas.
I advise using Seedlip as you would a gin: Paired with tonic water, it is an excellent alternative to a gin and tonic as a classic, after-work, easy cocktail. When made with local winter botanicals such as rosemary or thyme, that classic summer sipper becomes a cozy, refreshing winter drink.
Dry January Gin & Tonic
2 ounces Seedlip Spice 94
2 ounces tonic water*
2 ounces ginger beer*
Combine all ingredients in glass, top with ice, and garnish with lemon peel and rosemary.
*Q or Fever-Tree are good brands to try.
Put the Tea in Teetotaling
Sometimes all the spritzers become too much when you are taking a break from drinking. So often, people assume because you are not drinking, all you want is a soda-based drink — a Shirley Temple or bitters with soda. They only leave me missing the bold flavors of alcohol, that bracing first sip. One of my favorite ways to achieve an alcohol taste without using alcohol is to use tea. Tea’s natural tannins and astringent flavors make it a perfect alternative to spirits. Local tea purveyors such as Too Soul Tea and Davidson’s Teas offer a huge array of flavors to fit any craving.
To add that punch to my no-ABV drink, I always make and use tea syrups. You can prepare a great homemade ingredient to kick those home drinks up a notch by adding your favorite bold tea to a classic simple syrup recipe.
Gunpowder Tea Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
4 bags Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea
Bring water to a boil, then stir in sugar. Add tea bags and steep 8 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. Syrup will keep in refrigerator for 10 days.
Gunpowder Cranberry Lemonade
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea Syrup
2 ounces water
1 ounce cranberry juice cocktail
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Pour everything into glass and garnish with an orange peel or lemon wheel.
Michael C. Moberly is a spirits educator and creative consultant. His 14 years in the industry have been spent learning, loving, and imbibing with some of its best minds, both locally and nationally. He also is good at wearing hats.