Non-Alcoholic Alcohol -- Does It Taste Half Decent?

12/02/2016 2:32 PM AEDT | Updated 13/02/2016 12:59 AM AEDT
Thanasis Zovoilis via Getty Images

FebFasters, congratulate yourselves. You're almost halfway through your alcohol-free month (though in our humble opinion, it should be called FebSlow) and your liver is probably thanking you for it!

However, is anyone else getting sick of going to social events and sipping on water or fruity juices mocktails?

Lucky for you, there's a whole range of non-alcoholic "alcohol" you can enjoy while you are waiting for March to hurry up and get here (or, if you're pregnant, to tide you over those nine long months).

Better yet, according to Peter Nixon, Business Manager of Fine Wine at Dan Murphy's Australia, not only are non-alcoholic beverages increasing in popularity, but the process that goes into creating them has come a long way.

"We are seeing quite a few non-alcoholic options come through of late," Nixon told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I think health and lifestyle in general is a category growing across the board. People want things that taste good, but they can still drink if not drinking alcohol, particularly if they are in a social situation.

"The process of how [non-alcoholic beverages] are made has also vastly improved. Previously, people tended to make wine or beer like they normally did, and then de-alcoholise it, which impacted the flavour.

"Now they don’t go that route. They avoid the alcohol in the first place and the result is better."

Though Nixon admits the market is still niche, he says there are a lot of wine-makers and brewers who are creating high-quality products for reasonable prices, and these are proving to be more and more popular.

"There are definitely more options coming through, and we are definitely seeing a greater uptake," Nixon said.

bored at party

Can we have bubbles now?

In terms of whether they actually taste like their alcoholic partners, it depends product to product.

"Some of the German non-alcoholic beers -- such as the Bitburger -- you'd be pretty hard pressed to tell they are not alcoholic," Nixon said.

"They are extremely popular in Germany and are starting to catch on here too.

"The [Lindeman's Maiden Press Sparkling] moscato actually comes pretty close. It does actually taste like moscato, which is a fruity style anyway, and not so wine-like.

"The other thing here, is generally these drinks are not something you would have a meal with. I don't think people are looking for wine substitutes. They're looking for more of a fresh aperitif style."

Check out Nixon's top picks below.

BEER

Holsten Alcohol Free Pilsner 330mL GERMANY 0% ABV

Product description:

"Brewed using traditional Pilsner brewing methods, Holsten Alcohol Free 0.0% is bottom fermented and generously hopped for full flavour. The beer has a crisp, hop driven bitterness and a refreshingly clean finish, typical of Premium Pilsners."

Buy it here.

Bitburger Drive 0% Alcohol 330mL GERMANY 0% ABV

Product description:

"Bitburger Drive is made for pure refreshment. The alcohol is carefully removed, but only once the beer has fully matured so it locks in the famous Bitburger taste. And at the same time it reduces the calories. Because the beer is fully fermented, there is no need for it to be pasteurised, so it tastes even fresher."

Buy it here.

Bundaberg Ginger Beer 375mL AUSTRALIA 0% ABV

Product description:

"Bundaberg Ginger Beer has been a staple for lovers of ginger beer in Australia for over 50 years. First established in 1960, Bundaberg began making quality beverages at the family brewery which still continues to this day. Their ginger beer contains authentic, real ginger pieces brewed according to their traditional family recipe. Wonderfully refreshing, Bundaberg's Ginger Beer is the perfect drink on a warm, summers day."

Buy it here.

WINE

Maggie Beer Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Chardonnay 750ml 0% ABV

Product description:

"A non-alcoholic wine made from the juice of Chardonnay grapes, Maggie Beer Sparkling Chardonnay has the bead of champagne and the mouth feel of a good wine. Aromas of passion fruit and sweet mango are complemented on the palate with ripe papaya and guava flavours, finishing with a crisp, dry note of fresh lime. Best enjoyed super chilled served in a champagne flute. To make a refreshing Sparkling Chardonnay spritzer, mix with mineral water and pour over ice. Add a sprig of crushed mint at the last minute."

Buy it here.

Maggie Beer Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Ruby Cabernet 750ml 0% ABV

Product description:

"Maggie Beer Sparkling Ruby Cabernet is a non-alcoholic wine made from the juice of Cabernet grapes. This Sparkling Ruby Cabernet has the bead of champagne and a complex, yet crisp mouthfeel. This is a drink to suit those times when you want to drink with pleasure but avoid the alcohol effect. Very refreshing."

Buy it here.

Lindeman's Maiden Press Sparkling Moscato NV 0% ABV

Product description:

"Lindeman's winemakers have sourced the perfect grapes from selected vineyards to create this sophisticated sparkling juice. Crafted with no added sugar, Maiden Press Moscato is bursting with fresh tropical aromas, mango and guava flavours and a crisp, balanced finish. The perfect no-alcohol offering for social occasions and celebrations."

Buy it here.

Lindeman's Maiden Press Sparkling Shiraz NV 0% ABV

Product description:

Crafted to low alcohol and no added sugar, Maiden Press Shiraz is lush with juicy red berries and apple flavours with a soft finish. A tasty drink for social occasions and celebrations.

Buy it here.

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