Whether you're looking for non-alcoholic drinks because you're taking part in Sober for October, or because you've stopped drinking for another reason (be it pregnancy, wanting to live a healthier lifestyle or because it can seriously benefit your mental health), take a minute to give yourself a pat on the back.
Others, rather than going completely sober might be looking to drink more mindfully (reducing their alcohol intake in order to give themselves the space and time to examine their drinking habits) and therefore are also on the lookout for some tasty alcohol-free drink options.
After recently going sober myself for fifteen months, and then slowly reintroducing the odd drink back into my life, I've spent (and still spend) a lot of time trying and testing huge swathes of non-alcoholic (and super, super low %) beers, ciders, wines, spirits, cocktails and everything in between. These are my top picks to date:
The best alcohol-free wines
Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine (0%)
When it comes to non-alcoholic wines, I've found that reds are generally superior to whites or rosés (which are often a little too on the sweet side) – and Eisberg, a widely available, alcohol-free brand, more than know how to create a palatable one. Bonus: a large glass (250ml) of this cabernet sauvignon is only 56 calories. I also highly recommend Eisberg's merlot and sauvignon blanc too.
Opia Alcohol Free Chardonnay (0%)
This one is a great shout for anybody who isn't a big fan of the taste of wine (shocking I know, but I actually do have a few non-sober friends who've just never vibed with a "large house white" – my go-to of yesteryear). Whilst it looks the part, this Opia option from Vintage Roots is more like drinking a really fresh and tangy peach juice. It's extra delicious when chilled.
Jukes 2 (0%)
Created by wine writer Matthew Jukes, these minis are made to be mixed with either still, sparkling or tonic water. The blend includes cranberries, sour cherries, blueberries, plus earthy veg and a hint of apple cider vinegar, equating to a very pleasing kick.
The best non-alcoholic gins
Bax Botanics Sea Buckthorn (0%)
There's a reason why this offering won a Great Taste Award – it truly does have a sublime flavour, as well as sleek packaging. Reminiscent of a gin, this fragrant spirit has notes of Mediterranean herbs (to me it smells of freshly picked rosemary) and berries. Another reason I love Bax Botanics is that it's a small, sustainably run business with a real passion for delivering high quality drinks at no detriment to the planet. Their other offering, Verbana, is also well worth checking out if something citrussy is more your bag.
CEDER's Pink Rose (0%)
A great alternative to a pink gin, Ceder's Pink Rose (available from Sainsbury's) smells just like an actual G&T when mixed with tonic and doesn't taste dissimilar to one either – just a tad weaker and minus the buzz of alcohol.
Pentire Adrift (0%)
A citrussy alcohol-free 'gin', perfect when teamed with tonic and a slice of fruit. Pentire use plants found along the Cornwall coastline for this product, including rock samphire, sage and Cornish sea salt – plus a few 'secret ingredients'.
The best alcohol-free Prosecco
The packaging is discrete, so you won't have to worry about sticking out like a sore thumb at a party (not that you should care anyway... but I know I personally want my sobriety to blend into the background). Tastes fresh and bubbly – and the rosé variety is decent too. Goes down far too easily.
I always put a bottle of this in my basket should I spy it in the aisles in Tesco or ASDA (but honestly I get through it so quickly I might as well start ordering the crates of six from Amazon). For me, this is the closest to a legit boozy Prosecco.
The best alcohol-free Aperol Spritz
Lyre's Italian Spritz (0%)
The holy grail. Bet you never thought you'd see the day, right? Mix a splash of this with some non-alcoholic Prosecco and it's a) deliciously moreish and b) just like its boozy counterpart (only a tad sweeter and minus The Fear the next morning). Go, go, go!
The best alcohol-free beers
Lucky Saint (0.5%)
A dead ringer for real deal, this very low alcohol beer is a multi award-winning choice and I can see why. I've never been much of a beer drinker but this has converted me – it's so great that my boyfriend has even picked a Lucky Saint over a regular lager on a few occasions. A solid ten.
Brooklyn Special Effects Low Alcohol (0.4%)
Hoppy, zesty and refreshing. Apparently named Special Effects as it's so akin to a typical amber lager that the drinker will have to double-check the label. Yum.
Beavertown Brewery Lazer Crush (0.3%)
A fruity IPA that tastes almost as good as a "real" beer. Beavertown were one of the few beer brands I drank before switching to the sober life, so I was excited to try this one and it didn't disappoint. Stock up!
Drynks Unlimited Smashed Lager (0%)
Drynks Unlimited's process of creating this alcohol-free lager is pretty cool: they use a technique called cool vacuum distillation (CVD) which removes the alcohol post-fermentation, leaving the drink with all of the original taste and character, but with 0.0% ABV. I also enjoyed their fruity pale ale too.
Guinness 0.0 (0%)
This has been flying off the shelves since it launched and I can totally see why (as could my dad, who isn't sober but is a lifelong Guinness fan and who said he'd very happily drink it again). It's pretty akin to the 'real deal', only without the alcohol. If you're a mindful drinker or just looking to drink less, I've heard of people blending the 0% Guinness with the boozy version and enjoying it, too.
The best alcohol-free ciders
Stowford Press (0.5%)
Like a lot of alcohol-free options, Stowford's offering is a little on the sweet side (despite containing no artificial sweeteners), but it's still a solid alternative for anybody wanting to keep a clear head.
Kopparberg Alcohol Free Pear Cider (0%)
Reminiscent of it's alcoholic sibling, this will beat any fruity cider cravings you may have in an instant. An excellent choice for picnicking and socially distanced park meet-ups, this one gets a big tick from me.
Crispy appley goodness! Not as sickly sweet as some of the options I've tried - Friel's non-alcoholic cider is like a slightly sharper Appletiser (which as we all know is God tier when it comes to beverages anyhow). Plus four for £3 isn't half bad, eh?
The best alcohol-free cocktails
Alongside their equally delicious and high-quality alcoholic options, NIO (whose drinks all come in handy boxed sachets, making them extra easy to transport) have a super strong non-alcoholic offering too. The drinks are great quality – forget about those overly-sugary-hurts-your-teeth mocktails – and really feel like a treat.
Every bit as good as their alcoholic versions, Punchy soft offerings are my favourite when it comes to a good old fashioned tinny (I enjoyed many of them during a summer camping trip when everyone else was on the beers). Plus, the packaging is ace.
With such a spot-on array of fun flavours, it's hard to choose a favourite... but if I had to, it'd probably be the Ginger Dram, which is reminiscent of a Moscow Mule cocktail. I'll take five, please.
This is a non-alcoholic drinks brand to keep a close eye on - delicious, grown-up-feeling drinks in fancy packaging. Two thumbs up!
The best alcohol-free spirits
This ginger-concentrate drink truly bites back, in the best possible way. For those wanting something snappy on the tastebuds, we highly recommend GIMBER (which is popping up in pubs all over the place, too). Bonus fact: it can also be used for cooking – I mixed a dash of it with soy sauce and freshly squeezed lime to make a delicious stir fry sauce.
Three Sprit Drinks (0%)
The USP of this brand is that their spirits aren't only meant to fill the gap that quitting alcohol leaves, but to bring back some of the more welcome sensations too. The Livener drink is perfect for the start of the night (it contains energising guayusa, guava leaf and schisandra), whereas Nightcap includes ingredients that are deliberately designed to relax (plus it smells just like hot cross buns).
This bittersweet spirit isn't really comparable to any traditional liquors – to me, it tastes of cloudy lemonade with an 'adult' edge, or boiled sweets mixed with something-punchy-I-can't-quite-work-out. Extremely quaffable.
This Scottish-made spirit is possibly most akin to a whisky, because it's designed to be drunk on the rocks and feels ultra grown-up, smells a bit medicinal (in a good way) and feels a bit Mad Men-ish. One to pour after a long day of work, or when you're stressed and feel like brooding, minus the hangover.
Maria & Craig's (0%)
While Maria & Craig’s distilled botanical spirit doesn't contain any alcohol, it does have CBD in it - and promises an aromatic nose of juniper and fresh sage with hints of orange blossom. Perfect for when you need a little something at the end of a stressful day.
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