I wanted love these no-alcohol tipples, but for me,—

Sound the booze alarm! I fear the surge in no- and low-alcohol tipples may prove the garlic to my thirsty vampire. I want to love them – and for this column I’ve tasted a bunch – but I’ve concluded: why drink a 0.5% cider rather than just a sparkling apple juice? And as for ‘non- alcoholic’ spirits? How about we just make our own infusions and cordials with herbs such as rosemary, save ourselves £40 on the cost of a bottle and also call ourselves ‘apothecaries’?

I’m seeing too many drinks harking back to Victorians in sepia photographs who supposedly created the recipe. All I care about is whether it tastes good. Low-booze beers are still the best for me, though my wine of the week is a zinger even if it still packs 9% alcohol (spritzer anyone?). For now, I’ll be sticking to quality cordials and superb sodas.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

Franklin & Sons Strawberry & Raspberry with Pepper £2.69 Ocado. Intriguingly splendid refreshment for sipping all year round.

Yarty Elderflower and Raspberry Cordial £4 yartycordials.co.uk. All the fragrance and fruit of a Great British summer.

Big Drop Sunset Gold (0.5%) £14.99 for six bottles, drydrinker.com. Tastes like properly refreshing beer – serve well chilled.

Harvey’s Old Ale Low Alcohol (0.5%) £28.40 for 24 bottles shop.harveys.org.uk. Deep and delicious, my top winter low booze beer pick is top notch.

WINE OF THE WEEK

La Petite Plume Colombard 2018 (9%) £8 Sainsbury’s. Sharp and shrill as a citrus soprano hitting the highest note. Catch it!

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 12th January 2020

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