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Non-alcoholic spirits, what’s the thrill for you?

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The Three Spirit line of alcohol-free mixers was a game-changer for Catherine Burns (Photograph by Jess Hollis)

It would be hard not to notice the recent trend for alcohol-free wine and spirits. Overseas, entire stores dedicated to an alcohol-free drinking experience are popping up in major cities. Alcohol-free spirits are hitting the drinks list and non-alcoholic cocktails have moved so far beyond a virgin strawberry daiquiri that they are now in a league of their own. No more giant glasses of frozen sugary juice or soda, these options are classy, slow-drinking and functional.

But if you take out the alcohol, don’t you take out the fun? The concept of an alcohol-free spirit is a little like a decaf coffee. Some people wonder, “What’s the point?”

I’d argue that the point for both is significant: you want the ritual, the social side, the taste, the aroma – all those great things – but sometimes you just don’t want the caffeine or alcohol that goes with it.

One of the mistakes we make is thinking that alcohol-free options are only for occasions when we are not drinking alcohol at all. But having a non-alcoholic cocktail when others are on round three of the real stuff, might just be your saving grace. Imagine that you’re at a work dinner, others are diving in but you want to go to the gym in the morning, or maybe your nights are broken by a new baby. Switching over to the non-alcoholic option makes so much sense at this point. You can still participate, but you can manage the other elements of your life so much better too.

I rarely drink a lot but there have been times in my life when I slipped down the slippery slope of wine every evening. It was a reward at the end of the day, a physical relaxer, a cue to just pause everything for a moment and breathe. Sometimes it was the antidote to toddler tantrums or work stress – it has been a prop. But as I got a little older, even one glass of wine made me feel more foggy and lethargic in the morning. A real downer. I switched to making sure I had at least a three-day alcohol-free window every week. Then the time frame grew; I just felt so much better with less booze.

The thing is, I still wanted to have that cue – a moment to sit down at the end of the day and relax with a drink and chat with my kids and the Irishman. I found that sparkling water in a wine glass worked OK, but I was looking for something a bit more special. I found some spirit alternatives tasted OK but were still too sweet. Then I found Three Spirit and it all changed – now we had an intense, delicious “spirit” to use as a mixer that was actually functional too. By “functional”, I mean that Three Spirit options are designed to do a job – one to relax you socially (Social Elixir), one to liven you up (Livener) and one to wind you down at the end of the day (Nightcap).

The Three Spirit herbal formulations are impressive. And so far, the only ones that I like enough to keep on hand at home. I use them almost every day and I love them. They’re what I would call an acquired taste, in exactly the same way alcohol is. So for this reason, if you’d like to try before you buy, then pop to Harry’s or The Cloud for a mint sour. It’s a delicious, lightly sweet but also tart cocktail made with the Livener. Otherwise, if you’d like to go all in … make your own at home using the recipe below! For the other two options, I like the Nightcap on the rocks with a twist of lemon, and the Social Elixir with a squeeze of fresh orange and topped up an inch or so with sparkling water – they’re all so good! (Available exclusively at Miles).

The Three Spirit line of alcohol-free mixers was a game-changer for Catherine Burns (Photograph by Jess Hollis)

Mint sour cocktail

2oz Livener

1oz lemon juice

1oz agave syrup

6 to 8 mint leaves

Pop all the above in a shaker with ice and shake well to help muddle the mint leaves. Strain into a short glass over fresh ice and top with a little soda water.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published September 16, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated September 16, 2022 at 7:47 am)

Non-alcoholic spirits, what’s the thrill for you?

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