After over-indulging during the Christmas period, it’s easy to do what most people do and go on a crash diet, take up a gym membership, or both! But why not choose to do Dryathlon (AKA. Dry January) instead? It’s a great way to improve your health whilst raising money for Cancer Research UK, a charity very close to my heart. It involves not touching a drop of booze for the whole of the month. Yup, not a single drop! Once you sign up, you are committed to see it through to the end and I find it very motivating, especially when the donations come rolling in. Tempted? Well, it’s easy to sign up; details of how to are at the bottom of this post.
There are plenty of alternative drinks you can have, such as water (very underrated), soft drinks, mocktails etc. But today, there are more and more products which claim to be non-alcoholic versions of your favourite boozy beverages. None of these products claim to taste identical to their boozy counterparts, but I thought I’d test 5 of them out to see if they are any good and hopefully help you through the month.
To be marketed as “non-alcoholic” and to be acceptable to drink during Dry January, the drink must contain lower than 0.5% alcohol. Many foods and fruit juices contain about that amount. Click here for an interesting article which explains more about it (opens in a new tab).
So, should you try one of these or just stick to the orange juice? These are in no particular order, although the number 1 spot is my most highly-anticipated of the bunch…
5. San Miguel 0,0% lager (0.0% ABV)
I am a big fan of the regular San Miguel, so I am pleased to say that some of its character has been passed to the non-boozy version. That distinctive bitterness and mild dryness is retained, and that chemically taste synonymous with booze-free beer is certainly there, but seems toned down somewhat. The chemical taste only mildly detracts from my enjoyment. Served ice cold, it’s very refreshing and very drinkable, if a little gassy. If you love Mediterranean style lagers, this could be your Dry January saviour. I could definitely see me ordering this in a pub, be it in January or in a situation where I’m designated driver. It would make a welcome change from the ubiquitous Becks Blue.
4. Kopparberg Pear Cider (0.0% ABV)
Cider: that summer pub beer garden staple! Well, that tends to be the time when I indulge in this ultra-refreshing drink. Does it have the same appeal during a cold, booze-free January? It’s pleasantly fruity and very sweet, with an almost bubblegum flavour. It really majors in the sweetness which isn’t to liking, but I can see a lot of people liking it. Perhaps they were The level of fizz it has is spot on and makes it into a very refreshing drink. Crucially, it doesn’t have a cider feel to it as it just seems like a posh soft drink, almost like a pear variant of Shloer. If you like sparkling, ultra-sweet drinks then this is right up your street, but it’s not for me
3. Nosecco da Angelo Taurini (Less than 0.0% ABV)
I couldn’t quite believe that a non-alcoholic prosecco exists, so I was thrilled to spot this whilst browsing the extension range of non-alcoholic drinks at my local Sainsbury’s! With a cork that pops, it even sounds like the real McCoy and the curvy bottle is spot on! The taste is a perfect balance of dryness with a fruity edge. Before I tasted it, I was worried it might taste sickly sweet, but this isn’t the case at all. This is perfect for drivers or people who can’t drink alcohol. Highly recommended.
2. Brewdog – Nanny State Hoppy Ale (0.5% ABV)
I have one thing to say about this one: WOW! I love a decent ale, and Nanny State really impresses with its piney, fruity smell and the hoppy, smoky flavour with a bitter citrus edge. It pours like a proper ale but is more ruby red in colour that other pale ales. This one hides its non-alcoholic credentials extremely well and is sure to appease fans of ale. Highly recommended.
1. Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon (Not more than 0.5%)
I’m known amongst my friends for loving red wine. Be it a fiery Spanish Rioja, a mellow French Beaujolais or a deep, complex Sicilian Nero d’Avola, I love them all and there’s yet to be a red wine I’ve turned my nose up at. Does it appease my hankering for wine during a booze-free month?
I’m no sommelier, but the striking thing about it was how similar in smell it is to the ‘real thing’. I had high hopes, but the proof is in the drinking, and… I was rather disappointed. The taste is certainly very ‘grapey’ and has a slight dry edge to it, but it tastes a bit like Ribena! Also, unlike the proper stuff, I could only get through half a bottle!! I think I’ll save the rest for cooking.
The winner is…
I was very surprised about how tough a decision it was to pick a winner and it was a tough choice between the San Miguel 0,0, Nanny State and Nosecco. All of which accomplish what they set out to do extremely well, but I think the one that mimics its boozy counterpart better than the rest is…
Find out everything you need to know about Cancer Research UK fundraising here https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/
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