The Weekend Series: five non-alcoholic alternatives to wet your whistle
Whether you’re a non-drinker, the designated driver, on a health kick, pregnant, not in the mood or even just hungover from the night before – we know that up until recently, your non-alcoholic alternatives kinda sucked. Your options were either swamped with sugar or dull and tasteless. But not anymore. We welcome in the new wave of non-alcoholic spirits and wines to get the party started (but keep the party-guilt away).
What do you get when an engineer, scientist, marketing guru, finance officer, communications officer and chef walk into a bar? Brunswick Aces – one of Australia’s first non-alcoholic botanicals. Inspired by gin, native Australian ingredients are hand-blended and distilled in Melbourne to create two distinct blends of premium botanical sapiir: Hearts and Spades (with another release to be announced soon). Hearts is spicy and warm, leading with notes of cassia bark and ginger, and balanced by sweet citrus and native Australian wattleseed, while Spades is savoury and fresh, featuring green cardamom and parsley, with sweet citrus and native Australian lemon myrtle. The team of six neighbours-turned-friends-turned-business-partners is committed to boosting the profile of sapiir in Australia and helping make it a mainstream drinking option. Shop the sapiir online.
Image: Brunswick Aces
For those of you who love to crack open a tinnie, you’re well catered for thanks to SOBAH, a premium non-alcoholic craft beer infused with native Australian ingredients. After launching the Gold Coast’s first bush tucker truck Clinto’s Kupmurri, Gamilaroi man and psychologist Clinton Shultz has since released a line of chemical- and preservative-free non-alcoholic brews. High quality ingredients are ethically sourced to produce three flavours: Lemon Aspen Pilsner, Finger Lime Cerveza and Pepperberry IPA. The local company aims to raise cultural awareness and promote Aboriginal arts, language and history through the SOBAH range. Pick up yours from restaurants and retailers across Brisbane including Newstead Organics, Vulture & Grey, SW1 Wines & Liquor, Victoria & Montague, The Baby Grand, Craft Wine Store or check out the full list of stockists online.
A lot of things can go down over Christmas lunch, but for ALTD co-founders and siblings Tim and Jacqui, it was the hatching of an idea that would eventually lead to a new line of alcohol-free spirits. The non-drinkers found they were thirsty for the complex flavours that alcohol-based drinks typically afforded, and so, they made their own. Handmade in their micro-batch distillery, using copper stills and 100 percent Australian native and locally grown botanicals – sourced from Indigenous suppliers where possible – the sugar-free elixirs are available in three unique blends: the signature Green Grocer featuring lemon myrtle, thyme and pepperberry, Silver Princess with strawberry gum, cinnamon and honey myrtle, and Golden Emperor boasting roasted blood oranges, caramelised citrus and cinnamon myrtle. A portion of every bottle sold goes to the Jimmy Little Foundation, which aims to improve health care for Indigenous Australians. Head online to grab yourself a bottle or two, or sign up to the mailing list for updates on local stockists.
Image: ALTD Spirits
Another great Australian brand forging its way in the non-alcoholic space is Altina Drinks, the creators of Zero Proof Craft Cocktails. Reimagining the process traditionally used to produce alcohol, the company creates plant-powered cocktails using botanicals (think flowers, fruit, seeds, bark, roots and stems), herbs and spices. Nature’s pantry allows the creators to produce complex flavours and colours without resorting to artificial additives. CEO and scientist Christina Delay brings a Bachelor of Chemical Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology, while CFO Alan Tse ensures Altina Drinks continues to operate as a successful social enterprise by partnering with organisations working in the alcohol harm reduction space. The co-founders have bottled their most popular alcohol-free cocktail, Light Me Up, which is a refreshing and lightly sparkling drop featuring hints of forestberry, wattleseed, apple and green tea. Head online to stock up on bottled beverages, grab a cocktail recipe eBook to inspire your own creations, or chat about Altina’s alcohol-free events, masterclasses and pop-up craft cocktail bar.
The world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit has finally made its way to Aussie bars and restaurants. A complex concoction of herbs, spices, peel and bark, Seedlip’s product range is based on the non-alcoholic remedies of 1651 book The Art of Distillation and aims to pave the way for a whole new category of drinks. The brand’s three different blends – Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42 – are free from sugars and sweeteners, and best served with tonic, soda, ginger ale or as a base in mocktails. Seedlip takes six weeks to make and involves bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation, blending and filtration for each individual ingredient. Find it on the shelves at Maker in South Brisbane, Finney Isles and Donna Chang in Brisbane City, Lockwood in Burleigh Heads and Kiyomi in Broadbeach. Or if you’re after a bottle to take home, Seedlip is distributed nationwide through David Jones.
Edenvale Wines: These guys have combined traditional winemaking methods with the spinning cone technique to extract the alcohol content but maintain the antioxidants, vitamins and complex flavours of wine.
Herbie Virgin: Created by the Danish team behind the award-winning Herbie Gin family, this hangover-free option is hailed as the world’s first non-alcoholic gin.
Maggie Beer: Our beloved Maggie Beer has also come to the party, bringing her two non-alcoholic alternatives, a Sparkling Cabernet and Sparkling Chardonnay.
Buchi Kombucha: There are plenty of kombucha brands on the market these days, but Brisbane’s Buchi will always have our heart. With flavours meandering from Ginger Turmeric to Caramel & Coffee, Kefir Orange Sunshine and beyond, there are plenty of refreshing options for your next gathering.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.