The appeal of "with no" – no or low alcohol | Peter Eichhorn
The appeal of "with no" – no or low alcohol
Von Peter Eichhorn
Good intentions or a guilty conscience? Many a drinking pleasure is curbed at the beginning of the year and commitments to Detox or Dry January are even circulating among die-hard pleasure-seekers. But we will also see the phenomenon of reduced alcohol in creative drinks and imaginative cocktails over the rest of the year.
Numerous restaurants are already developing delicious non-alcoholic beverage options and are bringing juices, lemonades, vinegar and tea into an exciting interplay with their dishes. A look at Scandinavia, the home of Nordic cuisine, once again shows that it is leading the way. The high taxes on alcohol and associated costs for a quality accompanying wine are increasingly ensuring that a virtue is being made out of necessity and sometimes the alcohol-free drinks to go with the menu are at least as impressive as their alcoholic counterparts.
More than just "mocktails" – alcohol-free cocktails
The English phrase "to mock" means to make fun of something. On numerous bar menus the heading "Mocktail" is emblazoned above the sections with the non-alcoholic cocktails. But nobody needs to mock this drink category any more, because diversity and demand are growing more and more.
One milestone was a small test run of the "Seedlip" brand at the London department store Selfridges, which was an incredible success. The non-alcoholic distillate allowed gin-based cocktails to be interpreted into non-alcoholic versions that were spectacularly convincing. This results in refreshing long drinks in countless varieties, especially with tonic water. The new developments can be sampled at ProWein 2020 from 15 to 17 March. For example, the Rhineland Distillers' cult gin brand Siegfried (Hall 7, Stand B 26), whose alcohol-free "Wonderleaf" substitutes gin. The same applies to the Spreewood Distillers (Hall 13, Stand C 17) from Brandenburg. Specialising in rye whiskey, last year they presented a gin for the Humboldt anniversary, inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's travels. This is currently being followed by its alcohol-free version.
The first additional products are gradually coming onto the market, such as alcohol-free rum, vermouth or amaro. And other classic and innovative cocktail ingredients are also on display at ProWein. Such as the numerous syrups from Monin (Hall 13, Stand A 44) or the fascinating vinegars from Gölles (Hall 17, Stand F 10). The alcohol-free sparkling wines from the Weinkönig winery (Hall 13, Stand F 66) also have the potential to follow the trend. And in the bar-inspired "same but different" area, talented bartenders prove the use of ingredients with and without alcohol.
Non-alcoholic beers are taking off
This is also increasingly true at pub bars: the times when alcohol-free beers were a stale consolation prize for motorists are long gone. The current craft beer generation is proving how hop varieties and special brewing processes lead to tasty results that can be considered a pleasure. The first pub exclusively serving alcohol-free beers just opened in London in January.
The outstanding quality of the new brewed products is demonstrated, for example, by Neue Bierkultur GmbH (Hall 7, Stand D 25) with the non-alcoholic Brlo Naked or the Maisel & Friends, both Pale Ale versions, as well as the non-alcoholic Kapitän from the Landgang Brewery in Hamburg (Hall 7, Stand D 31). Alcohol-free beers may contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume. For this reason, some labels deliberately include the reference to 0.0%. Bitburger was a pioneer of this genre in Germany. However, at ProWein they will be presenting their extremely powerful brewing specialities with their "Craftwerk" brand (Hall 7, Stand D 53).
Parts of the brewing process can also be applied to lemonades and that's how the Uerige Hausbrauerei prepares a refreshing keg soda (Hall 13, Stand F 120). And the above mentioned Brlo brand from Berlin is currently experimenting with low-sugar and vinegar-based lemonades under the name "Hequa".
Very exciting, very promising. We bet a non-alcoholic beer that the first no-alcohol or low-alcohol bars will open their doors in this country too.