Designated driver for the evening? Just trying to be more mindful? Pledging sobriety for a Dry Insert-Month-Here? Whatever your reasons might be for not imbibing, that’s still no reason not to enjoy whatever it is you are drinking.
If you’ve made it this far into Dry January, well done! Proud of ya. But if this experiment has inspired something akin to a Lifestyle Change, count yourself officially ‘sober curious’ and ready for a longer term transformation. With fitness and healthier alternatives always top-of-mind during this time of year — and with a second “New Year’s Eve” coming up with the Chinese New Year holiday, it’s all the more reason to continue on being a little more mindful about what we’re consuming — and what we’re not consuming. Though, there has to be a better solution than a resigned: “I’ll take a sparkling water” at every meal; every celebratory occasion. And there is! At least 13, in fact, in Hong Kong’s booze-free booze market anyways.
What To Drink When You’re Not Drinking:
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McGuigan Wines — now, led by the fourth generation of the McGuigan family — has roots that trace back to the 1880s; a legacy that has solidified the brand as a mainstay Australian winemaker. But you don’t stay with it by resting on your laurels. McGuigan Zero is a great example of the winery’s fingers on the pulse of drinks trends that define how we consume alcohol — and how we don’t consume alcohol. This repertoire of alcohol-free “wines” — including Shiraz, Sparkling, Rosé, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc — continue be to grape-derived, with no artificial sweeteners or additives used in the process.
In Hong Kong, McGuigan Zero retails for HK$149 a bottle and is available in Oliver’s the Delicatessen, ThreeSixty, Jason’s, Marketplace by Jason’s, Wellcome, Fusions, International and ParknShop.
Dr. Carl Jung (no apparent relation to the other guy) lives by a pretty prolific belief, that “wine needs taste, not alcohol.” Low- or non-alcoholic spirits and wines seem have picked up quite recently, which makes Jung’s patented process of de-alcoholisation — developed in 1907, making Jung the alleged inventor of alcohol-free wine — that much more impressive; that much more forward-thinking.
Didier Goubet’s “wines” are, specifically, grape juice. There’s no smoke and mirrors to it, either; the bottle will read “Le Jus Cabernet”; “Le Jus Merlot”. It’s just juice! But made from the very best of Bordeaux grape varieties, through processes that include old vines, organic farming, small yields and gentle pasteurisation. It’s served as it deserves: in wine goblets at Hong Kong’s Cultivate if you’re opting out of indulging in a wine-paired menu, but also find the Grand Crus juices at city’super and dedicated stockists.
Le Petit Béret’s non-alcoholic oeuvre, currently developed by master sommelier Dominique Laporte, presents a revolution in the wine world: a special, innovative process that captures the very best of grape varieties without the need to go through the de-alcoholisation stages of other ABV 0.0% variants. From sparkling white wines to rosés and Cabernet Sauvignons, LPB makes moments of conviviality just that much more wholesome — and “Says Cheers Without Alcohol”.
Sabatini — a family affair founded in 2015 by Ugo Sabatini, Ugo’s sons Enrico and Niccolò and Ugo’s cousin, Filippo — was born out of a great love: aperitifs before meals. Sabatini GINO°, the brand’s alcohol-free gin replacement, is made from an infusion of five Tuscan botanicals (versus the nine in the brand’s headlining London Dry Gin), including sage, thyme, olive leaves, lavender and lemon verbena, and promises a sensory experience that takes the drinker through the Mediterranean before landing on Tuscany, where the Sabatini family continues to have historical residences. If you’re lucky enough to be in Italy, hit up Villa Ugo for a Gin Tour.
Don’t call it gin! By legal standards, there cannot be an alcohol-free gin. “Gin”, as it stands, can only be classified as such if it contains a minimum of 37.5% alcohol. Siegfried Rheinland’s alcohol-free alternative is, rather, named “Wonderleaf” — but it’s “not a replacement for gin,” says the distillery. Wonderleaf is made from 18 distilled botanicals with no added sugar or sweeteners and, even better — vegan. Have a mocktail (or several), completely guilt-free.
Lyre’s uniquely crafted spirits taste just like the classics, sourcing the finest all natural essences, extracts and distillates. Significantly lower in sugar than its alcoholic counterpart, Lyre’s feature 13 bottles made to match your preferred tipple. American Malt for whisky devotees; Dry London for gin connoisseurs and even Orange and Aperitif Rosso for those balmy summer afternoons by the sea. Although legally deemed non-alcoholic, note that Lyre’s spirits are not 100 percent free from alcohol but can contain up to 0.5 percent ABV, similar to your favourite kombucha.
Sold globally since 2015, Seedlip has since entered the Hong Kong market with a mission to change the way we drink. Offering three unique and complex blends — Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42 — these nature-inspired drinks have been crafted to simply pour over an ice cold tonic or to turn into delicious, non-alcoholic cocktails. Don’t fancy buying a bottle? Seedlip also serves up ready-to-drink bespoke tonics that can be bought by the can.
A blend of classic gin botanicals such as juniper and coriander but without the ABV, Ceder’s is concocted for those in search of a gin substitute that delivers on flavour rather than a hangover. Made with exotic South African botanicals found in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape, each bottle is then blended with pristine Swedish water before being sealed and delivered to your doorstep.
Big Drop Brewing is a 0.5 percent ABV craft pale ale that delivers on all levels. Think rosy floral aromas paired with a light citrusy flavour that’s finished with that bitterness we crave from beer. Award-winning for obvious reasons, Big Drop uses over 20 specialty grains across its brews such as a blend of barley, rye, wheat and oats. If you’re not a fan of pale ale, try its selection of stout, lager, IPA, brown, golden and winter ales.
Marked one of the best non-alcoholic IPAs out there, vandeStreek brews its beers using five varieties of American hops. Tropical and citrusy to taste, it contains just 0.5 percent ABV but packs the punch of a typical craft beer. If you enjoy a medium to heavy body with notes of pine, grass and savoury spices, then this one’s for you.
Le Petit Étoilé is vegan, Halal and organic. The wine is made with mature grapes that are picked early to ensure a low sugar content before macerated with wood and yeast to add complexity before finally filtrated. With a wide range of whites, red, rosé and sparkling bottles on offer, Le Petit Étoilé is served in established hotels across the world, notably The Peninsula and Shangri-La hotels.
Celebrating a special occasion but keen to cut down on your alcohol consumption? éLiVO ZERO ZERO sparkling rosé is well rounded and fresh on the palate. Complete with fruity notes, éLiVO crafts all of its products using the most natural method possible, from the individual selection of grapes to carefully filtrating the wine to ensure that it contains no alcohol.