Remember those bar scenes in old western movies when it suddenly goes quiet as the hero strides up and orders a buttermilk instead of a whisky or beer?
The message then was that a man wasn’t a real man unless he drank alcohol.
As time went by the same sentiment was directed at women.
But that’s certainly not necessarily the case today here in Australia and in many places around the world as more and more people opt for alcohol free drinks and manufacturers are answering the call.
There is a growing trend in many Australian bars and restaurants for customers to order booze-free beverages.
And as if to emphasise just how far things have come in this area, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit was launched in Australia late last year.
Born from a mission to solve the all-too-common dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking (and when you want something fancier than a soda water and healthier than a soft drink), Seedlip has now become the go-to beverage worldwide for when you’d prefer to stay off the tipple.
Seedlip is the brainchild of UK-based entrepreneur, botany enthusiast and drink visionary Ben Branson who has created two flavours of the distilled brew that is now available in some of the most acclaimed restaurants and bars around the world.
Seedlip Garden 108 is bright and herbal and is made with hand-picked peas from Branson’s family farm in Lincolnshire in the east of England, while Seedlip Spice 94 is complex, aromatic and features Jamaican All Spice berries and American Oak.
“At just 18 months old, we are really excited to formally launch Seedlip into Australia, a key market for the company” says Branson, founder of Seedlip. “We are looking forward to complimenting the established and dynamic food and drink scene here with grown up and great-tasting Non-Alcoholic drinks, solving the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking.”
A delicious sugar-free, sweetener-free, calorie-free and allergen-free beverage minus the hangover.
The non-alcoholic drink trend is expected to continue this year as more booze-free offerings come on the market to cater for the growing number of people obsessed with keeping fit and healthy.
What’s the point of paying enormous amounts to gyms only to see the gains washed away by a night on the booze?
Not to forget the elimination of the risks of running foul of the police.
The most popular Australian non-alcoholic drink is lemon, lime and bitters. It’s a mix of a few drops of bitters (this has alcohol so no good if you really don’t want any alcohol at all so don’t have vinegar or eat bread, both of which contain alcohol) lime cordial and lemonade.
Most Aussie pubs are pretty unimaginative and non-alcoholic drinks are mostly sodas and pasturised fruit juice, but there are some exceptions where you can get non-alcoholic versions of popular alcoholic concoctions (Mocktails), such as a Virgin Mary which is a Bloody Mary minus the vodka.
Some pubs have specific Mocktail menus, then you can go overboard ordering a watermelon lime soda, or a cucumber and lime. But they are expensive.
Nearly every pub will do these and they shouldn’t look at you sideways if you ask, they are long term stand ins.
Bundaberg ginger beer which is out of Queensland is popular in Australia and contains no alcohol.
Then there is brewer Cascade’s non alcoholic drinks you can legitimately drink from the bottle (it looks like a bottle of beer) without embarrassment.
A light beer shandy contains very little alcohol and you can make it 1/4 beer and 3/4 lemonade, but does contain some alcohol and a lot of sugar. It seems that pregnant women, who in this century go out, and responsible service of alcohol have forced Australian pubs to offer more and more.
Some safe non alcoholic options are:
Lemon lime and bitters
Pub Squash/Solo – Soft drink – but with far less sugar than normal soft drinks
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Non-alcoholic wine. There is actually a big selection of these
Tea & Coffee – Some places in Australia you might actually get a choice of teas (Earl Grey, English Breakfast but also Chamomile, Darjeeling, Peppermint, Chai, Green).
Soon to Australia – Seedlip