What to drink when you’re not drinking

There is nothing like getting liver disease to transform your eating and drinking habits. The moment your consultant says you might have 48 hours to live and that’s it. So for me this is not a fad drinking diet, it’s life saving.

But the question is what to drink when you’re drinking? Alcohol is out even if it’s through choice or a lifestyle change.

If might be both!

So you are driving, on a health kick, pregnant, don’t drink for religious reasons, fed up with the hangover. The question still comes back to choice or the lack of it.

At the least you want to be alcohol free and just a little bit sober.

Being alcohol free comes with its judgments believe it or not. Even having liver disease can prompt people to say the most awful things to you. What if I just decided to stop drinking alcohol!

Shock horror!

Now people sometimes use the “problem drinkers” label against me and I deserve “everything I get”. People do say that to me!

And this is from big drinkers of alcohol 🙂

The fact is I was just a wine drinker like many other of my colleagues and friends. People in glass houses come to mind very often.

Yes I liked my wine just as you like your beer or your alcoholic beverage of choice.

The thing is alcohol at any level can catch up with you even if you are a social drinker. However, the big dilemma when you know you can’t drink can what to drink that is not alcohol?

Without sitting in the corner with a fizzy water!

Luckily there are more choices than ever although it has to be said that online shopping is easier to do with alcohol free than drinking in bars but it is always my job to champion it and push the boundaries to make it more acceptable.

By the way it’s in the breweries interest as growth is now at 23 percent each year especially in the younger demographic. If you are not promoting alcohol free your bank balance is missing out!

In fact in many cases we get to save money as well, it is one of the benefits that I talk about here

So let’s roll with my top 5 picks and why I like them

5 Ginger Beer

I really love ginger beer but be careful just in case it’s alcohol based ginger beer or ale as there is a wealth of high ABV options out there as well.

So buyers beware.

That said there are some great brands from Fentimans to Belviour so the choice is yours.

There are of course a range of ginger beers like Crabbies which have alcohol in them just to confuse us even more. What you are looking for is the alcohol by volume figure on the back of the bottle.

If it has alcohol it will legally have to say that so you are looking for 0.0% if you are like me and on an alcohol free lifestyle.

There are some great offers from online stores but you also don’t have to pay through the nose either. I am apparently not alone in loving a cheap can of Jamaica Ginger Beer Light. In fact, people I know from Jamaica love this brand.

It is cheap and with plenty of ice it goes down a storm

And it has a real kick!

Old Jamaica Diet Ginger Beer

Why the diet option?

Simple if you are watching the calories why load yourself up with sugar when you don’t need to. And yes I still like the odd cream cake!

We can often replace one habit for another and that is never a good idea.

4 Elderflower Presse Light

In bars and restaurants that don’t serve any alcohol free beers or wine, Presse is one of my go to drinks for something a bit different.

Presse is normally my fall back option when I am ordering a pizza in a restaurant locally to me as their choice of alcohol free beverages is zero and you get that blank stare.

Why do they do that?

“OK I will have a presse then”.

The waiter or waitress sighs with relief and to be honest so do I.

But what is it. Well its not alcohol free fizz or wine but it’s the closest you may come to it where there are is zero or not much alternative.

What is Elderflower presse?

It’s simple really. Fruit pressed, with sugar and of course the added fizz. It’s great with ice.

There are plenty of brands but in trying to keep my sugar content down I tend to go for the light versions. They are not calorie free but they do have a lot fewer calories.

Belvoir Light is my main go to as it is fresh and does a reduced calorie option. The other one that I get good feedback on is the Folkington 24 pack offers with a great variety of taste.

You can order through my affiliate link below and check out the reviews. You pay actually the same and support the blog:

Presse positives are brilliant in that it is a great alternative with a meal or while at home watching a film, does not cost the earth and you can think you are being healthy.

Which you probably are if you would normally down three glasses of the house wine!

3 Alcohol Free Wine

Now I will be honest when I started this blog on an alcohol free lifestyle after getting a liver disease wine would not have been listed.

However, the wine brands, well at least some of them are starting to catch up and some really fast.

As one person who works in the industry said to me quietly that in the beginning they were very precious about it ( wine makers) and did not see it as a market.

However, with the success of alcohol free beer and gin they have realized they are leaving money on the table and big money at that if they could only get the taste right.

At last common sense prevails!

And would agree with that as the choice has been terrible. Hardly any alcohol 0.0 options in terms of ABV and I would awhen many of the reviews says it’s just too sweet they can be bang on for some of the brands.

I have in the past switched instead to Alcohol free fizz, ( review ) presse, gin or beer alcohol free of course. Now stuff is changing in the alcohol free wine world!

And yes I know it’s harder to make alcohol free wine then beer or spirit.

I get the manufacturing process but hey come on we are living in advanced age.

Thankfully Torres the Spanish winemaker has stepped up and I am a big fan of their brand anyway so I am well happy!

They now offer an alcohol free red, white and rose and they really do step up to the mark, you can read my review of them here.

As a fall back there are some great alcohol free fizz options which are not to be sniffed at but I’d certainly give the wine a go and I would not have said that 6 months ago.

It’s amazing what you find out on your alcohol free journey. Having said that I am yet to see restaurants and bars embrace this option but I am hopeful and I have my fingers crossed!

2 Alcohol Free Gin

Alcohol free gin or spirit as you are really supposed to call it really rocks.

It was my first find when I went alcohol free. Now it ain’t cheap before you think hurrah I’ll save a fortune and no its not like gin, because well err… it isn’t !

However, it’s an excellent alternative with all the fusions and different flavors like oranges fed into the mix. There is even an alcoholic pink gin!

Alcohol Free Pink Gin

How cool is that!

Now again there are some in bars but on-one really knows how to serve it in my view and it’s meant to be drunk in the same way topped up with a light tonic. Please don’t drink it as a lemonade as I have seen some people do.

Check out my review of the best alcoholic free gins in my review here

It’s carefully produced with time and effort so it’s a sipping drink with an ice and slice. A quick tip which in terms of anykind of gin the calories is mainly in the mixer so go light where you can if that is a concern for you.

Alcohol free gin has very few calories if any!

Even the UK discount store Aldi has got into the market so it is really ahead of the game. My preferred choice although not cheap is Seedlip. However, there are other brands out there that will give the same experience but you can feel the difference in quality.

It all depends on what you are prepared to pay. These alcohol free gin brands have really got taste and substance in my view.

If you are out and about now I have noticed some mocktails being offered for £5 and are called a Free Gin and T which often uses the Seedlip which in my view is a great offer.

Do not dismiss the other brands though, they are excellent quality.

 

Be aware you might only find it in the mocktails list and some servers have no idea what you are talking about!

I would love to know what you think about gin alcohol free as an alternative about what to drink when you are not drinking!

1 Alcohol Free Beer – Beer Zero

There is no doubt that alcohol free beer stole the mark on the other brands and became the most visible.

The thing that is amazing about alcohol free beer is that it is still difficult to purchase when you are out and about and not just in the UK either.

Blog readers from around the world still message me to say that they have never heard of some of these brands or that the choice was near enough limited.

You can read my review of my top 5 alcoholic free beers here

In terms of awareness it is such a shame but we keep pressing on and I am sure these brands will catch on.

Many of them have set their stall out with their colors ( blue seems popular)  and also their branding, not all but most of them are really helpful with the 0.0 included in the drinks name.

The branding is not so important if you are just going low alcohol, but if you are zero alcohol like me there is a massive difference, even life saving in many respects. Even if you just have an intolerance to alcohol these kinds of things are good to know.

My top three favorites on alcohol fee beers brands are:

  • San Miguel 0.0 – Its got a real summer feel
  • Bavaria 0.0 and it has some great online deals right now
  • Corbra Zero

Craft alcohol free beer is also coming into its own and these guys are really setting up a future proof industry. You can read about my thoughts on alcohol free Craft Beers here.

They are adventurous brands and even gluten free is included in the mix.

There is also :

Peroni Liberia which is less 0.0 branded but excellent with Italian food!

Alcohol free ! It’s here for the taking.

Forget this “do you have a problem with drink?” ( normally said by people three sheets to the wind!) This is about lifestyle and choice so stop unhelpfully labelling people. ( Sorry I don’t mean you – your nice)

So the alcohol free market is there for us to explore and whether it is for health or a lifestyle change, you may have to search a but once you find it there are some great alternatives.

Of course, I should not have left out certain sodas, mocktails and water but we will save them for another time!

There is also tea and coffee served in bars now which can be a pain if you are queuing and not so socially enhancing in many ways but they are there.

I would love to know your choice on what to drink when you’re not drinking especially if you have some great alternative ideas. I also respond to all your messages as I love to hear from you!

Just leave your thoughts below!

What to drink when you’re not drinking alcohol? You decide!

For more information on your alcohol intake visit drinkaware

 

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