The Best Non Alcoholic Drinks on the Market – Our ULTIMATE Guide!
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It used to be that there were only two reasons for not drinking alcohol – you were either in recovery or pregnant! But in reality there are a whole host of reasons why people don’t drink and the no/low alcohol movement is really taking off here in the UK.
Gone are the days of a lonely bottle of alcohol free gin or a dusty pack of watery 0% beer on the supermarket shelves. There’s now a whole section of wines, beers and spirits all ready to replace your boozy glass…that are actually quite good!
We recently did a dry month to take a bit of a break from the slowly increasing habits we picked up over a year in lockdown – a boozy circuit breaker if you will! One weekend when I was doing the big shop, I found myself browsing the alcohol free section and taking the plunge on a few bottles.
Let’s be real, a lot of the good alcohol free stuff is EXPENSIVE! Do I really want to be spending twenty quid on something that tastes rubbish and isn’t going to also give me that mellow buzz? I could just drink squash instead right?! I think cost was the main reason why I avoided trying a lot of these things before, but now I’ve tried a few of the different options out there right now I can confidently say that some of them are really worth it! Even if you’re cutting back for weight loss reasons, the majority of these no/low alcohol subs are a fraction of the kcals of their boozy counterparts so it’s a bit of a win win all round really.
Now i’d just like to say that I consider myself a bit of a foodie and I’m pretty confident in my palette! We like good food and even better wine so I was a tough cookie to please when it came to these subs and I tested them all with a very critical tongue. Some worked, some didn’t, and I’m here to share my findings so you don’t have to waste your money. Consider me your no/low alcohol Guinea pig taking one (or five) for the team!
The Difference between alcohol free and low alcohol labeling in the UK
Here in the UK, drinks must be below 0.05% to be classed as alcohol free. In Europe 0.5% can be labelled alcohol free so this is why you might see some ‘alcohol free’ labels with different percentages on important brands.
In the UK, anything over 0.05% all the way up to 1.2% must be labelled low alcohol instead.
To put this into perspective, compared to a 0.5% ABV beer there’s around 1.9% ABV in a freshly baked roll and almost 2% in soy sauce…so even with the low alcohol options, you’re still doing a-ok! *
Let’s take a look at some of the beers, spirits and wines I’ve found that are actually pretty decent if you’re looking to cut back. I’ll be updating my best non alcoholic drinks guide as I go along with new finds so be sure to come and follow me on Instagram @xameliax for updates as I try more! I also have an easy to swipe through story highlight with links too on insta.
BEST NON ALCOHOLIC BEER
Some of the best non alcoholic beer we’ve found so far…
Hands down the best Non Alcoholic Beer I’ve tried so far has to be Lucky Saint. We were handed a bottle of this over the fence by our neighbour and we’ve since ordered two more cases! It’s refreshingly light but with a load of flavour. I really struggle to tell this apart from some regular lagers. Apparently Lucky Saint are working on getting their best non alcoholic beer into pubs on draft and I wouldn’t hesitate to order a pint of this on a hot day – it’s a real winner!
Another one of the best non alcoholic beers we’ve found is Heineken 0.0. It’s light, it’s cheap and its easy to find – perfect for taking to a BBQ or sipping on in the evening. Around 70kcals a can and very refreshing, it gets a thumbs up for me and it makes our list!
BEST NON ALCOHOLIC CIDER
I enjoy a cider in the summer over ice. It’s refreshing, fun and something a little different to beer, so I’ve tried a couple of non alcoholic ciders to see how I got on. Now for me, regular cider is sweet anyway so its quite easy to mimic as a non alcoholic cider, and Thatchers have done a pretty good job! It’s not got that alcoholic depth of a regular glass, but it’s not just a bottle of appletizer either – it’s really quite good!
BEST NON ALCOHOLIC GIN
A couple of our favourite non alcoholic gins to try with your tonic!
As far as completely non alcoholic gins go, Seedlip Citrus is one of my favourites. Their Garden version is ok for a strong grassy/herby flavour, but for me, their citrus gin just hits all the marks. It’s not the most versatile for gin cocktails but it has a nice balanced flavour and it makes for a lovely substitute in tonic for a classic G&T.
However the best non alcoholic gin has to be Cleanco and their Clean G spirit. Once in the low alcohol gin category at 1.2%, all Cleanco spirits are now completely alcohol free which is fab! (we have the old bottle pictured here). They also do a rhubarb version i’m yet to try, but their original Clean G is just PERFECT for a G&T or in an alcohol free gin cocktail – it tastes JUST like the real thing! I was amazed! What a fab substitute and a gorgeous bottle to boot.
BEST ALCOHOL FREE SPIRITS
Some of the best alcohol free spirits we’ve found for your none alcoholic drinks and cocktails!
Another Cleanco bottle in my collection is their Clean R – a (now) alcohol free Rum substitute. Like their gin, this rum tastes EXACTLY like the real thing, it’s quite incredible! It’s fab mixed with coke and a squeeze of lime for an alcohol free cuba libre and I genuinely think in a blind taste test you’d struggle to tell the difference! It’ also great in cocktails too – take a look at my ‘Cleana Colada’ recipe below!
If you’re a rum fan looking to cut down then you have to try this!
Yes, I’ve even found you an alcohol free tequila substitute as well – aren’t I good to you?! Tequila’s one of my faves so finding a substitute for my margaritas was high on my list of priorities in this experiment! Our third bottle from Cleanco is their Clean T, a flipping great tequila substitute. With a slight oaky flavour, this agave spirit has a lot of tequila flavour without the kick. I’ve even managed to whip up a completely alcohol free margarita recipe that works too – coming to the blog very soon!
If you’re missing your tequila fix, this is the bottle for you! You’re welcome friends.
Alcohol Free Aperol Spritz anybody? I’ve got you covered with Lyre’s Italian Spritz – this is a cracking Aperol substitute for a warm day drinking in the sun! Mixed with a slice of fresh orange and some sparkling water (or a slosh of non-alcohol fizz) this is a fantastic substitute that will keep you guessing right till the last drop. It has the flavour and the bitterness you’d expect from Aperol with non of the hangover! Expensive, but worth it.
BEST NON ALCOHOLIC WINE: RED
If you’re anything like me, the best non alcoholic wine section is the one you’ve most been looking forward to read. Well, i’m sorry to report that the jury is well and truly still out on this one…soz! Every no or low alchol ‘red wine’ I’ve tried so far has been AWFUL – from the expensive to the cheap. They all just taste like crap Ribena.
Any suggestions from Malbec or Rioja lovers are MORE than welcome in the comments below as i’d love to find a good red wine substitute!
BEST NON ALCOHOLIC WINE: WHITE
For our best non alcoholic wine i’ve had a bit more luck with white…
One of the best non alcoholic wines i’ve found is this Muscat from Natureo. It’s pretty ok on its own but it’s great as a spritzer with some sparkling water. The problem with the majority of non alcoholic wines is that they taste way too sweet but this is an ok substitute as it’s on the dryer side of the AF wine spectrum! The only downside is the price at around £9 a bottle, ouch!
I’m including this in our best non alcoholic wine list even though technically it’s classed as a low alcohol bottle at 0.5%. This DC Sauv Blanc is the closest thing i’ve found to a decent white wine so far with proper wine flavours and a refreshing crisp taste. It’s lovely ice cold on it’s own but again does really well as a spritzer too and it isn’t too sweet. At around £7 a bottle I’d definitely say this one is worth a go for a wine night without the hangover.
BEST ALCOHOL FREE FIZZ
Ok, so Noughty is the bees knees of alcohol free sparkling wine. It’s completely alcohol free but somehow manages to taste like the real thing, I was shocked. With it’s fancy embossed label, good bubbles and delicious taste it’s one of the best subs I’ve found…but it comes with a price. Over £10 a bottle for this one, wow! But if you’re looking for a great fizz sub, this is your bottle.
Non Alcoholic Drinks: THE FAILS!
A few bottles I’ve tried but didn’t rate!
RED WINE: I’ve tried the majority of supermarket AF red wines and even a bottle of ‘Win-e’ 12 month oak aged Crianza Tempranillo at a whopping £10.99 a pop. It was TERRIBLE.
FIZZ: Freixenet 0.0% Fizz and Nosecco – both very very sweet with that slightly strange ‘alcohol free wine’ taste you tend to get.
BEER: Doombar – wasn’t awful, just not a huge fan of this one.
GIN: The majority of AF gins are ok, but Seedlip Spice just wasn’t for me. It felt WAY too strong on the cardamon even in tonic.
I’m going to keep updating my non alcoholic drinks list as I discover new tastes in each category so feel free to bookmark it or follow me on Instagram @xameliax where you’ll get updates as and when I find and test them!
Other non alcoholic drinks substitutes I enjoy for a bit of a different taste are sparkling water with elderflower or apple cordial or a glass of cold kombucha!
If you’re a brand with a no/low alcohol substitute you’d like us to try, feel free to drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org!
PIN THIS NON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS IDEAS LIST
*If avoiding alcohol for medical or addiction reasons please do talk to your GP before pouring a low alcohol sub. Even though you’d need to drink a LOT of a low alcohol sub to be near the limit, please do be aware of alcohol content and consumption if you intend to drive.