When you give up alcohol or simply want to seriously cut down, long gone are those bleary afternoons with too many Pimms and a headache by dinner time. But you don’t have to turn up to BBQs empty handed and on the fizzy drinks, here’s a list of non-alcoholic summer drinks that are refreshing but do away with the hangover.
Take a look at your options
Alcohol is such a huge part of the British socialising scene that when you give up, you might feel like your only options are J2O, sugary drinks or…well…water. Or worse, you might think you can’t go to summer social events at all.
But why? There’s no law to say you have to drink alcohol at a BBQ. There’s no sign on pub doors that say, ‘alcohol consumers only’. Drinks companies have linked summer together with alcohol so they can sell more alcohol. Not because summer doesn’t exist without it.
And as the trend for sobriety is taking off in the UK, the options are expanding rapidly.
Alcohol Free Beer
This is a great new market that’s really transformed the image of AF beer. Where once upon a time there was a couple of really grim non-alcoholic beers available, now there are countless delicious craft and commercial beers.
What’s great about these is that if you feel self-conscious avoiding alcohol in case people ask you why you’re not drinking (check out this post if you get this a lot!), they look just the same as normal beers. They’ve got all the same kind of branding, often by the same companies and they’re not overtly alcohol free.
Our favourites are:
Nirvana Beers: Nirvana is a brewing company who only make alcohol free beer. With a great range and super cool branding, all the Nirvana beers we’ve tried have been outstanding. You can usually find these at M&S supermarkets.
Big Drop: Just like Nirvana, Big Drop Brewing Co. only make non-alcoholic beers and they really excel at it. We’ve loved the pale ale and the lager since we discovered them. You can often find them for sale in larger Tesco stores.
Heineken 0.0: Crisp lager in tins or bottles pretty much identical to the alcoholic version. Great value and easy to find in major supermarkets, Heineken’s 0.0 beers are so refreshing and you’d never know they weren’t the real thing. Except…you know…you won’t feel shit after drinking two in full sunshine! These can often be found in pubs and bars as well.
Infinite Sessions: Another company who only make alcohol free beers, Infinite Sessions are our summer favourite. They’re really delicious on a hot summer’s day, have a clean and modern design and come in a small but perfect range including IPA and lager. We’ve found them in M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Alcohol Free Wine
Look, The Soberists is all about honesty because we feel like sobriety has given us a more honest life. So we’ll be honest here: we have never found an alcohol free wine that was nice. We’re not sure if it’s possible because it seems as though no company has created one that doesn’t taste like Ribena.
That said, we have come across a couple of pretty good alcohol free sparkling wines. We still think there are better choices out there but if you really want to drink something that’s a little Prosecco-esque, here are our favourites:
Nosecco: We found this one in Sainsbury’s and it’s actually very good. Certainly the best we’ve found. It’s not sweet like most others and will make you feel like you’re one of the gang when everyone’s clinking glasses. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than the alcoholic sparkling wines and you won’t start tripping over picnic tables!
The Bee’s Knees: This can be found in Morrison’s and comes in rosé or white – both sparkling. We found the rosé to be very drinkable but we haven’t tried the white yet. If it’s as good, then either would make a great alcohol free sparkling option for a summer party.
Alcohol Free Gin and Tonic
G&Ts have become a staple of British summers and a lot of people we’ve spoken to said that’s what they miss. Well, you don’t have to! Because the gin market has become so huge recently (remember when it was the reserve of grumpy old grannies? Hello again marketing!), quite a few companies have cropped up with non-alcoholic gin substitutes.
The Duchess: A South African brand producing ready to drink alcohol free G&Ts, you can only buy this online at the moment but it’s absolutely worth it. Of all the non-alcoholic G&Ts out there, this is hands-down the best.
Gordons: Available in many major supermarkets, Gordons have produced their own small line of really delicious alcohol free G&Ts. If it’s the summer drink you’re missing, this range will quench your thirst.
Here at The Soberists we’re working on some great mocktail recipes and posts but they’re not ready yet! Mocktails are a fantastic way to make elaborate, fruity cocktails without the inevitable downer afterwards,
There are lots of great recipes out there on the web so get a list going and hit the shops!
Kombucha: We were astounded the other day to find alcoholic kombucha for sale which seems to rather miss the point of this typically epic drink. Read the label carefully but generally, kombucha is alcohol free and super zingy – definitely a winner for the summer!
San Pellegrino: This Italian company made its name in sparkling mineral water but have since produced lots of delicious and refreshing flavours often found in pubs and bars. Watch out for the sugar in these though as they can be the same as a can of Coke.
Water: Look, we know what you’re going to say. WATER? But yes, water is what your body actually needs and on a hot day, having a bottle of water with some ice in it is about as refreshing as it gets. Whether it’s sparkling or still, keep it ultra-cold and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how great it makes you feel. Not to mention that headache that often appears at the end of a sunny day? That’s often dehydration. Stave it off with plenty of water and you’ll have more energy than you know what to do with.
Over to you!
We’re still discovering great new alcohol free drinks and we’d love to hear your summer favourites! Stick your top choices in the comments so everyone can learn about the best drinks to enjoy in the sunshine 😀