You’ve been cutting down on alcohol or just want to take a break from it for the sake of your liver, but you can’t bring yourself abandon an afternoon glass (or bottle) of aperitive? No problem! We’ve got great alternatives that will taste and look just like their alcoholic counterparts. So you can now enjoy cocktails without any pesky hangovers with our spirit-free “spirits”.
Why go sober though? The answer is as clear and simple as a glass of wine. Non-alcoholic spirits are the future, so it’s time we start embracing them! In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything from how to make your first alcohol-free cocktail recipe to all things related to going “satisfied” or not drinking alcohol at all.
Alcohol-free drinks are really close in taste so there’s no need to use different recipes if you’re looking for some new ideas, all that is needed are tweaks on classics with one small adjustment – replace alcoholic ingredients like Gin or Whiskey with their sugarless alternatives which will give an equally satisfying end product while keeping things safe (and legal)!
The most important consideration in alcohol-free cocktails is the balance of flavour. Just like any vodka cocktail, an alt-vodka cocktail will be at its best with the right balance of sweet and savoury, so make sure you taste and adjust as you go.
What is a non-alcoholic spirit?
The term ‘non-alcoholic spirit’ refers to distilled botanicals or extracted botanicals which have been filtered to remove the alcohol and give you a clean, clear taste.
Non-alcoholic spirits are less alcoholic than you might think. The ABV (alcohol by volume) content of a non-alcoholic spirit is usually below 0.5%, and this can be compared to the minimum value for an alcoholic drink at 15%.
What do non-alcoholic spirits taste and smell like?
It’s hard to say which spirits are more alike than others, but there is definitely a difference between them. Some non-alcoholic brands can be mistaken for the original and some have distinct flavour profiles that set them apart from other drinks on store shelves. Take Banks Botanicals, for example, this clear non-alcoholic spirit is a perfect substitute for gin or vodka with a strong flavour profile of wattleseed, lime, lemon myrtle and delicate cassia bark but it’s also deliciously warm with notes of pepperberry.
Different types of non-alcoholic spirits have varying tastes and flavours depending on how they’re made. Some brands want to closely mimic the strong, almost alcoholic finish found in traditional distilled beverages like whisky or vodka while other makers prefer a more subtle profile for depth’s sake; it all depends on what each individual wants their product to represent. With non-alcohol spirits, there are no rules, with brands able to discover new flavour profiles and create new experiences that don’t conform to a category as alcohol does.
How are non-alcoholic spirits made?
The process of crafting a fine drink is an intricate one, and every brand has its own unique method. Non-alcoholic spirits such as rum or whiskey are distilled in the same elaborate process with mixing and steaming before being decanted for retention time to remove impurities like water vapour that could alter flavour profiles; this requires significant expertise on behalf of those who do it right.
We spoke directly with Banks Botanicals on their process, which involves various steps to produce the end product.
They start in the bush with a careful selection of each of their 5 botanicals. These plants are of the finest quality and organic so they can best capture the aromatic flavours and aroma each botanical represents. Using Yarra Valley water from fresh mountain sources, they fill their stills, add the Botanicals and heat at different temperatures depending on the type of botanical. As the water heats up, the vapours and aromas of the Botanicals are carried upwards and extracted. Some botanicals are distilled in their copper baskets, and as the vapour passes through these more delicate botanicals, it catches and carries the beautiful botanical aroma.
Their limes utilise vapour infusion, where the vapour steams the limes as it passes and this, in turn, releases the limes’ aromatic flavour. The infused vapour moves to the condensing column where the copper starts to cool and turns the vapour into a botanical-infused liquid. The 5 individual Botanical distillations are then expertly blended to create their signature blend, Banks Botanicals.
Try This Classic Cocktail Without The Alcohol
The Banks Southside
-30ml lime juice
-15ml sugar syrup
– Bunch of mint
Chill glass, combine all ingredients in a shaker. Dry shake and double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
You can get your hands on a bottle of Banks Botanicals at all major bottle shops, or order online here.