We’re not going to beat around the bush here...mocktails suck.
There, we said it. Someone had to!
Luckily, all is not lost. Because it’s now 2022 and there’s a whole new world of innovative alcohol-free drinks out there waiting to be enjoyed. Yep, actually enjoyed. That’s because trying alcohol-free no longer means you have to miss out. Instead, the drinks industry has finally stepped up its game. Nowadays, there are plenty of 0% spirits, beers, and wines that provide the same sensory experience you get from the alcoholic versions, minus the booze.
We’re sure you have questions, which is why we’ve made this alcohol-free guide! By the end of this handy guide, you’ll know everything there is to know about non-alcoholic drinks, the NoLo industry standards, where to buy alcohol-free drinks, and how to create the best darn cocktail you’ve ever tasted!
Say goodbye to calorific, sugary, fruit juice concoctions and hello to sophisticated, full-bodied, alcohol-free drinks with real depth.
Cheers to that!
Why our alcohol-free guide?
We love a good tipple at CROSSIP, alcoholic and alcohol-free! In fact, having worked in the drinks and hospitality industries for most of our lives, as well as building CROSSIP together, we think we know a thing or two about the best non alcoholic drinks - our 0% Dandy Smoke is award-winning!
Moreover, although we are not anti-alcohol per se, we understand the importance of balance and conscious choice. With social causes such as Alcohol Change UK, CALM, PAPYRUS, and Centrepoint close to our hearts, the CROSSIP Team strives to provide as much support as possible. And with that, the world’s first (probably) alcohol-free guide was born!
What is alcohol-free?
Drinks with no alcohol. Zero booze. Zilch. Na-da...well, not quite. In fact, alcohol-free drinks in the UK can contain traces of alcohol - 0.05% to be precise - but more on that later. For now, all you need to know is that when we say ‘alcohol-free’, we’re referring to drinks with pretty much no alcohol content.
Did you know that CROSSIP actually is completely alcohol-free? We don’t brew or distil, we macerate and steep!
Why try alcohol-free?
There are so many reasons you may want to go alcohol-free and it’s a decision that’s extremely personal to each individual. For some, it’s about creating a balance and perhaps just cutting back on the amount of booze consumed. For others, it’s religious reasons, finance, health and well-being, or maybe even to eliminate hangovers once and for all.
Of course, you may wish to go alcohol-free simply because you enjoy the taste of our CROSSIP 0% cocktails - in which case, we don’t blame you!
Still not sure why people would choose to skip the booze? Check out these 11 benefits of drinking alcohol-free!
How to go alcohol-free
Nowadays, the consumption of alcohol is experiencing a downward trend. Individuals are drinking less, choosing to go NoLo, or staying off the booze altogether. Whether you’re a heavy drinker or a social sipper, and whether you want to stop drinking for the time being or forever, we’ve put together some top tips to help you moderate your drinking.
What’s more, by reading the rest of this guide, which is packed full of advice and helpful resources, you’ll understand more about drinking and its effects, steps on reducing your alcohol intake, and how to navigate social situations without drinking alcohol.
Going alcohol-free at events & holidays
There are certain situations in life where we feel like an event or holiday won’t be fun or even manageable without the involvement of alcohol. This can be due to a lack of self-confidence, fear of being left out, or even peer pressure from our loved ones. Without us realising, alcohol can quickly become a crutch with which to enjoy events and social situations.
Holidays can present a mix of emotions for people and, as such, alcohol tends to flow freely during events like Christmas and Halloween. They’re perhaps the most difficult times of the year to remain sober or moderate our drinking. But fear not, because with dedication and preparation, it is possible to go alcohol-free at events and holidays AND have a ruddy good time doing so! Here are our top resources to help you go alcohol-free at events and holidays:
Quench your first for blood (and non-alcoholic cocktails) with a Walker Blood Sangria and other supernatural and poisonous concoctions this Halloween. Check out our 11 Spooky Halloween Drinks (Cocktails & Mocktails).
Stock up your Christmas pantry with these delicious low and no alcohol beers. You could also treat yourself to a cocktail book as an early Christmas present and experiment with the mocktail recipes. Don’t forget to remind yourself why you’re going alcohol-free and take inspiration from those that have already successfully survived Christmas alcohol-free.
New Year’s Eve
Where to buy alcohol-free? (online & in-person)
Now we’ve persuaded you to give a non alcoholic drink a try, we bet you’re wondering where you can buy alcohol-free. Whether you’re an in-person shopper or prefer to get things delivered so you can stay in your PJs, we’ve got you covered!
Buy non alcoholic drinks online
For all you online shoppers out there, here are the places to buy the best alcohol free wines, spirits, beer, and mixers online:
We know you’re all craving a decent cocktail so we’ll start with where you can buy alcohol-free spirits online!
If you’re a reader of our blog, then you’ll already know our thoughts on imitating whiskey. If not, we recommend you read this article before buying any alcohol-free whiskey online.
Read it? Great! Craving a cocktail? Even better!
Made from an infusion of herbs and fruit, Campari is a bitter liqueur enjoyed as an apéritif. Whilst we don’t ever mimic spirits, our Pure Hibiscus is inspired by our favourite Italian bitters and apéritifs and offers the same floral and fruity experience with a herbal bitterness - perfect for a 0% Negroni or Spritz!
According to Carl Brown, Founder of CROSSIP and world-renowned drinks expert, "So many fantastic cocktails call for both gin and fruit liquors.”
Without gin, cocktails just wouldn’t be cocktails! Luckily, CROSSIP Fresh Citrus is on hand to provide the same deliciously fruity gin cocktail experience, alcohol-free.
Vodka is pretty much just water and ethanol, which makes it a difficult drink to emulate without following a distillation process. The main challenge here is to create the mouthfeel, texture and full-bodied flavour that the alcohol provides and to generate that heat you get when you drink real vodka.
To replicate these sensory experiences, the majority of decent NoLo vodkas on the market are made in the same way as alcoholic vodka and are simply more heavily diluted in order to lower the alcohol content. Therefore, they’re not strictly “non-alcoholic”.
To learn more, read our blog on Does Alcohol-Free Mean 0% Alcohol?
If you’re after a low alcohol vodka that you can drink on its own, on the rocks, or in a simple crisp cocktail, we recommend a half-strength spirit such as PURE LITE 20%.
Alternatively, if you’re after a genuine experience akin to vodka but prefer yours in a cocktail, then we recommend a CROSSIP Fresh Citrus Serve. These cocktail recipes provide all of the body, complex layers of citrus, herb, and spice flavours, heat, and smooth mouthfeel that vodka cocktails provide...minus the hangover - why not try a Cosmo?
Thankfully, the dire situation that was the alcohol-free beer industry a few years ago has drastically changed. Nowadays, there’s a fantastic selection of low alcohol and non-alcoholic beers that challenge their higher-ABV counterparts in aroma, taste, and body. There are so many incredible alcohol-free beers that we struggled to narrow them down to our top 7! Fancy an alcohol free lager, IPA or something else?:
Best alcohol-free wines
There’s nothing quite like a crisp glass of Riesling after work or a bit of fizz to celebrate your birthday, so why not enjoy them alcohol-free? With these fantastic non-alcoholic wine alternatives, you totally can! Here are our faves:
Feeling noughty? Then you have to try this celebratory alcohol-free sparkling chardonnay or rosé. They’re vegan and organic!
This baby has won numerous awards, including “Gold” and “German White Trophy” at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in 2018. Once you take a sip and taste the ripe Riesling fruit, as well as nuances of peach, apricot, apples and pineapples, you’ll know why it’s so popular!
Seriously refreshing low-alcoholic sparkling kombucha. With a range of award-winning flavours to choose from, these are a must buy for your next celebratory event.
Tea, but not as you know it! Organic low-/non-alcoholic sparkling drinks based on the careful selection of exclusive tea. Super fun and fizzy! Sparkling tea might just be your next favourite wine alternative.
Refreshing sparkling Assam and White Monkey tea kombucha infused with organic white rose petals and wild elderflower. Champagne alternatives don’t get much better than this!
Not really wine but this stuff is super fun and designed by a renowned wine writer. Simply dilute the fruity cordials to create delicious wine replacements.
Drink mixers are non-alcoholic ingredients used in alcoholic and NoLo cocktails and mixed beverages. They serve many functions including the ability to enhance, add, or change the flavour, adapt the consistency, increase the volume, and change the appearance of a drink.
The world is your oyster when it comes to mixers for non-alcoholic drinks; there are countless incredible brands to choose from. With 77 cocktails recognised by the International Bartenders Association (IBA) and thousands more recipes to try online, we’re not even sure where to begin when recommending mixers. From juices to syrups, carbonated mixers, hot sauce, and even magic bean juice, you can just about add anything to a cocktail...within reason.
When looking for mixers for our alcohol-free drinks, we like to find brands that value quality, fresh ingredients, taste, and creativity, which is why we absolutely love Artisan Drinks. Their ethos is: “Why blend in when you can stand out…” and, when you sip on one of their delicious mixers, you can tell how passionate they are about flavour!
Alcohol-free in bars & restaurants
Once upon a time, it was difficult to order anything but an alcoholic drink or a Cola in bars and restaurants. If we were attempting to moderate our drinking, the lack of choice meant that either we’d be thrown into the path of temptation or we’d have to suffer soft drinks and sugary mocktails. But all of that has changed in recent years and the development of non-alcoholic drinks options has meant that we no longer have to miss out on the bar and restaurant culture or on taste either!
You’d be surprised at how many food and drink establishments now stock alcohol-free spirits, beers, and wines. Simply ring ahead and/or ask the bartender or server for their range of non-alcoholic options.
Now comes the fun part! In this section, we’ll talk you through how to create the best alcohol-free cocktails and mixed drinks at home. What’s more, we’ll share delicious recipes for some of the classics, such as Negroni, Spritz, Mojito, and G&T!
How to make cocktails at home
So you’ve stocked up on your CROSSIP 0% spirits and you’re ready to make some cocktails! But what equipment do you need? Are other ingredients required? And do you shake or stir?
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available online to help you nail that Negroni or non-alcoholic coffee cocktail! In fact, if you scroll down, you’ll discover a whole wealth of knowledge on some of the world’s most famous classic cocktails, including our alcohol-free take on the Negroni, Aperol Spritz, and G&T. Alternatively, head on over to our YouTube channel to check out some of our best alcohol-free cocktail recipe videos.
Non alcoholic Negroni
What do the Wild West, an Italian Count and one of CROSSIP'S most beloved non-alcoholic cocktails have in common?
Whilst the traditional Italian apéritif is entirely alcoholic, its herbal bouquet and botanical bitterness can be emulated in an alcohol-free Negroni. Simply add CROSSIP Pure Hibiscus, rhubarb cordial and soda to a glass, add ice, and stir until combined!
Non alcoholic Aperol Spritz
Enjoyed by gatherings of friends in bars, cafes, restaurants, and squares, the Aperol Spritz is an iconic Italian apéritif typically enjoyed before a meal. Originating from Veneto, Aperol has gained popularity across the world and can probably be found in a drinks establishment near you.
But what about an alcohol-free Aperol Spritz? Well, it’s your lucky day! With a splash of CROSSIP Pure Hibiscus and a good glug of kombucha, you can enjoy light hints of ferment with rich rhubarb notes, a pleasing acidity, and a deep long bitter finish.
Non alcoholic G&T
It’s the simple things in life that are the most beautiful and a G&T stands testament to that. Born from a drink used by the army of the British East India Company in India to prevent malaria, a G&T in its simplest form is a highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over a large amount of ice. More often than not, it is also enjoyed with various other mixers and syrups, particularly those involving fruit.
We know you’ve probably got a lot of questions about going alcohol-free, so we’ve tried our best to answer your FAQs. If we’ve missed something, please let us know and we’ll add your question to this section of our alcohol-free guide!
Is alcohol-free always 0% alcohol?
You may be surprised to learn that none of the official terms used for the alcohol-free drinks sector actually mean that a drink will contain zero alcohol. Even if a drink displays ‘0% alcohol’ on its label, the production process could have involved alcohol and traces may still exist. Luckily for most of us, these traces are negligible and definitely won’t make us drunk. But for some, the presence of any alcohol goes against their beliefs.
To learn more about the industry descriptors for NoLo drinks and to discover which alcohol-free drinks are truly alcohol-free, check out our article on Does Alcohol-Free Mean 0% Alcohol?
Is alcohol-free expensive?
The short answer is that price and quality are usually positively correlated. The long answer is a bit more complicated! Perhaps some people may find alcohol-free expensive but we believe that it’s worth every penny and we’ve written an entire article to show you why we think so. Click here to learn more about the value of CROSSIP and other alcohol-free drinks.
Are non alcoholic drinks vegan?
Not necessarily but CROSSIP is 100% vegan! Whilst other alcohol-free brands use ingredients such as honey or milk powder in their drinks, we only ever use sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients.
In addition, our production process excludes the use of fining agents such as casein (milk protein), isinglass (fish bladder protein), or any other animal product that is commonly used in alcohol production. Nevertheless, due to the NoLo sector being a relatively modern industry, the majority of non alcoholic drinks brands use modern vegan techniques to remove unwanted insolubles and are therefore more likely to be vegan than most alcohol brands. They’re also more likely to be transparent about their processes, making it easier to check whether or not they are suitable. Simply check the label or send them a message via their social media channels!