For those of us avoiding alcohol but still wanting to get into the spirit of the day, Christmas drink options have been traditionally on the weak side. But not in 2019. With the drinks industry seeing significant innovation over the past year when it comes to alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks, the available options for a festive but hangoverless tipple at Christmas are now dramatically better than they once were.
With this in mind, Verdict has put together some of the tastiest alternatives to alcohol you can buy now, which promise to get you in the mood of the season without getting you buzzed. Here are our picks of the best alcohol-free drinks to consider this Christmas.
Alcohol-free drinks: Verdict’s Christmas picks
Drynks Smashed Citrus and Smashed Cider
An ideal alcohol-free option for the beer and cider drinkers out there, Drynks differentiates itself from others by providing alcohol alternatives that are 0% alcohol, rather than less than 0.05%. This is achieved using a technique known as cool vacuum distillation, where all the alcohol is removed from fully fermented beer using an oxygen-free vacuum chamber.
We tried two of Drynks’ range: Smashed Citrus and Smashed Cider. The former is a hoppy, lemony beer that comes in at just 99 calories, while the latter is a crisp cider at only 84 calories. In both cases you have the choice of a bottle or a can. There is also a more traditional beer in the form of Smashed Hops and the company is also bringing out the fruitier Smashed Berry.
Dochus Smokey Isle
It would be easy to think that no alcohol-free drink could turn the head of a committed whisky drinker, but Spirits of Virtue is out to prove otherwise with its Dochus range.
Available in limited-edition bottles, this is a premium 0% alcohol drink, made in Scotland from Cairngorm Mountains springwater, botanical extracts and what the company describes as “the essence of single-malt whiskey barrels”. The result is a drink with a remarkably whisky-like mouthfeel, but no morning-after headache. Part of a selection of whisky alternatives under the Dochus label, Smokey Isle offers a warm palate, while those looking for a smokier finish can choose Dochus Highland Bothy.
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Hop & Hemp CBD Easy Times IPA and Lowdown Lager
2019 was the year CBD found its way into almost every product in existence, and alcohol-free beer has not escaped the treatment, thanks to the efforts of Hop & Hemp. The company’s beer range uses traditional alcohol-free creation methods to produce a range with no more than 0.5% alcohol, but with the added bonus of 8mg of CBD per bottle. The result is a range that provides the flavour of beer without the hangover – and with the potential of additional de-stressing benefits.
We tried two of Hop & Hemp’s range, the Easy Times IPA, a hoppy tipple with grapefruit and pineapple aromas, and the Lowdown Lager, a pale gold pilsner-style lager with spicy aromas and a taste that hints of citrus and honey. The company also makes the Double IPA, which comes with 16mg of CBD, and the Tropical Pale Ale, for a fruitier palate.
Gin has become the spirit of choice for many, so its no surprise that the alcohol-free market has got in on the action too. And while there are many options to choose from, Ceder’s Wild is considered one of the best options in the gin alternative space.
Also available is Classic and Crisp, Ceder’s Wild provides a complex mix of spiced botanicals, including ginger, clove and rooibos, and a lightly cinnamon and pine aroma that makes it ideal as an alcohol-free but utterly festive tipple.
Brutal Brewing Ship Full of IPA
If you’re looking for an IPA that is completely devoid of alcohol, Brutal Brewing definitely has you covered. Using the vacuum distillation method, the company starts with Sweden’s best-selling ale – which starts off as 5.8% -and removes all traces of alcohol to produce a 0% IPA.
Available in 33cl bottles, the resulting Ship Full of IPA beer is hoppy with aromas of melon and citrus, and a flavour that hints of berries, orange peel and honey. It also features a charming yet relatively traditional design, making it an appealing choice for Christmas day.