By now we’ve all realised that going teetotal or practicing mindful drinking isn’t just a fad for Dry January. Cutting back is on the rise.
There are plenty of reasons why giving up booze, even for the short-term, is a good idea, for your physical health as well as financial. Curbing your alcohol consumption can save pounds, calories and drink units, as well as giving your sleep, skin, and general wellbeing a major boost. Not to mention the sweet, novel relief of waking up without a raging hangover on a weekend morning.
Alcohol Change, the charity behind Dry January, said 130,000 people took part in the challenge last year, a number that will no doubt be topped in 2022 as more booze-free brands come to the fore.
Say hello to low and no
If you’re not quite ready to pack away your wine glasses, there is another way to go easy on the sauce: low and no-alcohol alternatives.
Designed to maintain the fun of drinking without the creeping fear that comes afterwards, they’re perfect for anyone who cut back on booze without feeling left out socially. Think park picnics, BBQs, weddings and parties - not to mention after-work drinks now they’re a thing again.
Low and no-alcohol has been around for a while, and it’s the young who have a real thirst for it. In its British craft beer report, the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) found more young people favour low-alcohol beer, while 23 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds abstain completely.
And, market research company Nielsen found that sales of low and no-alcohol drinks have jumped 30 per cent since the first lockdown two years ago as people tried to moderate their home-based drinking.
There has also been a growing presence of low and no-alcohol, or ‘nolo’, on supermarket shelves and online drinks shops, creating a stir in the drinks industry. The likes of beer giants Heneiken, Budweiser and Peroni have all served up zero per cent alternatives, and you can now get booze-free spirits and sparkling wine that packs in all the complex flavours with none of the bad stuff.
So, good news: booze-free no longer means fun-free. You needn’t sacrifice your evening drink or weekend tipple for the sake of your health; just give nolo a try instead.
With so many options available and new ones launching all the time, we’ve rounded up the best low and no-alcohol drinks to stock up on now.
Find our favourites below
Best alcohol-free beer
Cult beer brand BrewDog offers a selection of alcohol-free (AF) beers in its line-up: Punk AF, a tropical-flavoured IPA with grassy and hoppy notes; Elvis AF, a grapefruit IPA showcases all the flavours of its stronger sibling sans alcohol; Hazy AF, a smooth and tropical IPA, the crisp and oh-so refreshing Lost AF; and Nanny State which blends specialty malts and US hops. All contain 0.5 per cent ABV - something to note for the purists who are abstaining from alcohol completely.
Buy now, BrewDog
Beer Hawk The Low and No Alcohol Mixed Case
A selection pack of 15 guilt-free beers to work your way through - surely enough to brighten anyone’s day. The hamper contains a choice selection of bottles and cans from British and EU producers, allowing you to sample lots of varieties with just a click of a mouse.
Buy now £25.00, Beer Hawk
Lucky Saint Unfiltered Alcohol Free Lager 330ml
Booze-free and low in cals at just 53cal per bottle, Lucky Saint is the beer you can enjoy on your lunch hour, before the gym - whenever you want. Biscuity with full-throttle flavour, only four ingredients are used in its creation: Pilsner Malt, Hallertau hops, water and yeast.
You’ll find the beer on the drinks menu at The Ivy, Pizza Pilgrims and Dishoom, showing that it pairs well with a variety of dishes and cuisines - you needn’t go without a pint with your next curry.
Buy now £22.50, Amazon
Days Brewing Co.
Hops without the hangover: not a dream, but a reality at Days, which makes all-natural alcohol-free lager using plant-based ingredients. Ideal for having inbetween regular bottles to regulate drinking, or replacing if you’re off the sauce for a bit, the brand offers lager as well as pale ale.
Buy now £25.00, Days Brewing Co.
Kopparberg Alc-Free Mixed Fruit Tropical
Launched last summer, Kopparberg’s alcohol-free mixed fruit cider proved so popular, it’s been added to the line-up on a permanent basis. Packed with all the punchy notes of its regular strength sister, the cider proves you can have all the flavour and fun without any of the alcohol units.
Buy now £3.50, Tesco
Beavertown - Lazer Crush Alcohol Free IPA 0.0 per cent
Staying sober is easy to keep thanks to this alcohol-free IPA. It’s made the same way as Beavertown’s full strength beers, but using a new strain of yeast that creates almost no alcohol during the fermentation process. ‘Heavyweight flavour, featherweight ABV’ - you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Buy now £1.99, Honest Brew
Infinite Sessions alcohol-free beer
Lager fans can still sink a cold one thanks to Infinite Sessions, made with German noble hops, including Perle and Hallertau yet brewed in the UK. Slim chance of a beer belly with this; each 330ml can contains just 33 calories and it’s vegan to boot. Crisp and refreshing.
Buy now £15.60, Amazon
Heineken 0.0 Alcohol Free Beer
All the fruity, malty notes with none of the boozy effects. Heineken has formulated a 0.0 per cent beer that could be the twin of the original 1873 recipe. This pack comes in 330ml bottles with a cardboard carton holder for maximum recyclability.
Buy now £9.00, Tesco
Budweiser Zero Alcohol Free Lager 4 Pack
The ‘King of Beers’ has a booze-free option designed to whet the whistles of anyone thinking about reining in drink units for Dry January or beyond. Expect the same iconic full flavour and crisp finish, all at zero per cent - and ony 46cal per serving. Cheers!
Buy now £3.00, Asda
Peroni Libera 0.0 per cent Alcohol Free Lager 12 x 330ml
The Italian producer has gone to great lengths to replicate the taste of its world-famous beer with a booze-free twist. Pair it with your next takeaway and try to tell the difference between this and the real thing. Best experienced ice cold.
Buy now £25.99, Amazon
Estrella Galicia 0.0 per cent
Sit back and sip without worry by investing in a fridge full of Estrella Galicia which now comes in a 0.0 per cent version. The light lager pairs well with everything from comfort food, to BBQ bites later in the year.
Buy now £38.52, Amazon
Best alcohol-free wine
Belle & Co Sparkling Rose Alcohol Free Wine
If your M.O goes along the lines of ‘rose all day’, you needn’t let a little thing like Dry January stop you. Belle & Co offers a tasty loophole with its sparkling rose alcohol-free wine, made from unfermented grapes and green tea. It’s a great option for slimmers too, with only 22cal per 100ml.
Buy now £2.61, Amazon
Nosecco Spumante Alcohol Free
Celebrating soberdom with a glass of something fizzy may feel counterintuitive - like marking X days sugar free with a Snickers - but wait, hear us out.
Alcohol-free sparkling wine has arrived to put the sparkle back into your month, all while keeping to your good intentions. Nosecco Spumante Alcohol Free has the look and taste of Italian bubbles, but is virtually booze free with 0.5 per cent. It’s been made with de-alcoholised white wine so it won’t give you a buzz, but there is a trace so it’s something to bear in mind if you want to go completely booze-free.
Buy now £3.50, Asda
Brancott Estate Flight low-alcohol wine
Hailing all the way from New Zealand, Flight is made by the award-winning Brancott Estate and contains just 9 per cent alcohol. It took home a Double Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition last year. Fruity and refreshing.
Buy now £7.50, Sainsbury's
Eisberg Sparkling White
At 31 calories per 125ml serving, this is a non-alcoholic drink that promises to be kind to your waistline as well as your liver and finances. It has all the hallmarks of a bottle of Champagne but none of the headache - cheers to that.
With notes of peach and citrus, it’s the perfect base for a ‘Champagne’ cocktail.
Buy now £4.13, The Drinks Shop
Tesco Low Alcohol Sparkling White Wine 75cl
Made from Spanish Sauvignon Blanc grapes, this is a juicy sparkling white that dances with zest, and all at less than 0.5 per cent alcohol. Pour a glass to accompany your next fish dish or try with white meat meal for a pairing that won’t leave you with a pounding hangover and dry mouth the morning after.
Buy now £3.00, Tesco
Tesco Low Alcohol Cabernet Tempranillo 75cl
If you want to curb your alcohol levels without sacrificing a satisfying glass of red at the end of the day, this bottle may prove your saviour. Made with grapes plucked from a Spanish vineyard, the producers have used a ‘spinning cone’ method that removes the alcohol but leaves behind all of the delicious flavour.
Buy now £3.00, Tesco
Best alcohol-free spirits
The new launch from gin experts Sipsmith is called the FreeGlider and not only is it booze-free but it’s vegan too: talk about a high achiever. Treat the refreshing non-spirit as you would a regular gin - just mix with tonic and add a garnish for a faux G&T so good you can practically see its halo.
Buy now £20.00, Sainsbury's
If you think moderate drinking is all a numbers game, well - you'd be right.
Take Quarter G/N for instance. It's got around a quarter of the ABV of its stronger sisters at just 12 per cent (traditional gins are normally 40 per cent ABV), which means four G&Ts made with the spirit is the same as one full-tilt one. Each sip delivers a bevvy of light, fruity notes to the tongue: think orange, grapefruit, angelica, coriander and of course, juniper.
Slower drinking, a gentler buzz and maximum flavour; as the brand puts it, "Who said it had to be all or nothing?".
Buy now £27.00, Quarter
Inspired by the beauty of the coast, Pentire is an elegant non-alcoholic spirit brand worth making room in your drinks cabinet for. There are two to choose from, Seaward, a bright concoction of grapefuit and rosemary, and Adrift which plays up the sea-themes with sea rosemary, roch samphire and sage. Try it with soda water and a wedge of grapefruit over ice. £26.80 each.
Buy now £26.80, Pentire Drinks
Lyre’s American Malt 70cl
Whet your whistle while staying firmly on the wagon with Lyre’s American Malt, a whiskey alternative that tastes just like the real thing. Expect notes of roasted nuts sweetened with vanilla and a slightly spicy kick.
Buy now £20.79, The Bottle Club
There’s no need to long for the refreshing taste of a spritz with Everleaf’s Forest in your drinks cupboard. The bittersweet tonic is made from 14 botanical ingredients with a complexity that’s comparable to a Campari. Try it with three parts light tonic and a freshly sliced wedge of orange for a serve that’s like a late summer’s night in a cup.
Or, let Lockdown Liquor do the work for you and pick up a bottle of its Forest Picante pre-mixed zero per cent cocktail which adds a hit of chilli to keep you on your toes, £25.
Buy now £18.95, Master of Malt
Crodino 1965 Aperitivo
Enjoy aperitivo hour without the alcohol thanks to Crodino, a new booze-free alternative from Italy’s Campari brand. Designed to hit that sweet spot between finishing work and having dinner, initial bursts of bittersweet orange notes give way to a zesty, herbal taste that awakens the palate and preps it for the evening ahead.
Buy now £5.95, Amazon
Amplify Zing & Zest Non Alcoholic Spirit
‘Alcohol free and free of spirit’ is the top line at booze-free brand Amplify, where the sole product, Zing & Zest, scooped the gold award in the low and no category from The Spirits Business 2021.
Serves are designed to swerve hangovers and focus instead of soaking up the moment. It’s filled with a complex blend of botanicals; think citrus fruits with pops of lemongrass, ginseng and juniper. Great over ice or in a cocktail.
Buy now £14.25, Amazon
Cotswolds Dry Gin Essence
A new launch from The Cotswolds Distillery, Cotswolds Dry Gin Essence is made by using ten times the botanical concentration of their dry gin which results in a turbocharged amount of flavour per unit of alcohol.
Cotswolds Dry Gin Essence is so rich you only need a miniscule amount, 5ml, to achieve the same full flavour G&T. It will have a tenth of the alcohol you could normally expect in a Cotswolds signature serve.
Buy now £17.95, Cotswolds Distillery
Warner’s Pink Berry and Juniper Dry 0 per cent Botanic Garden Spirits
Alcohol-free and made using natural botanicals from Warner’s Fall Farm in Northamptonshire, Warners new gins - Pink Berry and Juniper Dry - will bring a smile to anyone looking for a healthy gin alternative.
Both have won awards from industry bodies, and we can attest to the superiority of the booze-free dupes. We reached for one without properly checking the label and didn’t realise until the following day that it contained no alcohol. All the pleasure, none of the pain. Pretty bottle designs too.
Buy now £18.00, Ocado
Hayman’s Small Gin
You don’t have to give up your beloved G&T to cut back those pesky alcohol units. Look to Hayman’s where the newest addition to its gin portfolio is the small gin. Like Cotswolds, it packs in more flavour and less alcohol, so you only need a drop or two for the same refreshing taste of a G&T but with 80 per cent less alcohol and calories than a regular serve. Pair it with light tonic for a drink that only comes to 40 calories.
Buy now £21.95, Master of Malt
As one of the OG zero-alcohol players, Seedlip has a loyal following. The trailblazing spirit is made for a generation that shuns excessive drinking but that still wants to join the party. Choose from three varieties; Garden 108, Spice 94 and Grove 42.
Buy now £19.95, Amazon
With 0.5 per cent alcohol, ATOPIA is the latest kid on the low-alcohol block with an ABV of 0.5 per cent. Made with botanicals and fruits, it’s an ideal replacement for gin and vodka at happy hour.
Everything from the bottle designs to the taste is designed to take the moderate drinking experience to the next level.
Buy now £22.57, The Drink Shop
The Driver's Tipple
Missing your weekend gin? You can still enjoy a dry G&T with The Driver’s Tipple which recreates the flavours of the classic drink.
It’s distilled in London and is led by juniper notes followed by a host of other botanicals and fruits. Not only is it sugar and gluten free, but it’s vegan too - welcome news to anyone with Veganuary as well as Dry Jan ambitions.
Buy now £27.00, Amazon
Best alcohol-free cocktails
Highball Cocktails Mixed Case
Wave goodbye to hangxiety while keeping your cocktail glass firmly in hand. Created by some of the UK’s top mixologists, there are six booze-free mixes of Highball Cocktails to choose from, from G&Ts to Cosmos and Mojitos. Get them individually or get a case of 10 in to keep you stocked and well watered.
Buy now £10.99, Highball Cocktails
Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo Vibrante and Floreale Dual Set
No need to compromise on flavour with Martini’s gift set. The two 75cl bottes of Martini Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo offers the same complex, refreshing flavour while allowing you to stick to your goals. Cheers!
Buy now £19.35, Amazon
Clean Co. CleanGin & Tonic and CleanRum & Cola
Available exclusively at Holland & Barrett, these drinks from Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews put wellness side by side with fun.
Both canned drinks are 0.5 per cent ABV, putting them firmly in the nolo category. We would save these for warmer weather when you can have them for picnics and camping trips, but if you’re curious they offer a good way to try the brand without investing in the full size bottles.
Buy now, Clean Co.