If ever there was a time that called for pre-dinner drinks, it’s now. The start of the festive season means that the end of 2020 is finally, finally in sight and we can start to raise a cheer to the hope of the new year.
The forthcoming festive season is without any doubt, one to make a song and dance about, and we should all be celebrating it with gumption. To whet your appetites we’ve compiled a pre-dinner drinks guide which will help you celebrate in the finest way.
So, all hail, the festive aperitif!
Here’s a question for those of you who enjoy the types of tipple that can get you tipsy: what if the aperitif doesn’t contain alcohol? Keep with me on this one.
Aperitifs should be three things; clean, crisp, and light. They are meant to make you hungry, so it’s ideal if they are on the drier side, but other than that there are no hard and fast rules about what type of drink the aperitif should be. And they don’t necessarily need to contain alcohol.
One-fifth of the UK population don’t drink alcohol, and mindful drinking is on the increase, with 27% of Britons drinking more low- or no-alcohol drinks than they previously were. That’s an awful lot of people who would potentially have to pass on the pre-drinks if the only options involved alcohol. Fortunately, they aren’t.
The UK low- and no-alcohol market is growing at a rate of knots. Sales of no-alcohol spirits are up an incredible 110% compared to 2019 and, as a whole, the low-and no-alcohol drinks sector has grown by 30%. More low- and no- alcohol drink choices are available than ever before. And yes, that includes alcohol-free aperitifs.
One such drink is the award-winning aperitif Mother Root Ginger Switchel. Never heard of a switchel? Neither had we, but the drink actually has a 300-year history and was incredibly popular during the Prohibition-era, as it provides a warming kick without the need to add alcohol.
Not that Mother Root Ginger Switchel is a choice to be reserved for the times when you can’t have alcohol.
On the contrary, it’s unique, and complex flavour profile makes it a drink that creates a sense of occasion. And it’s incredibly revitalising, so you’re more likely to make it to the dinner table with a spring in your step instead of being ready to slump.
Mother Root Ginger Switchel, which is 100% natural, has four key ingredients; a maceration of pressed ginger juice, blossom honey, apple cider vinegar, and a hint of chilli. Its signature serve is over ice with The London Essence Co grapefruit and rosemary tonic water, which beautifully complements its flavours.
Mother Root Ginger Switchel is priced at £19 (480ml) and can be purchased here: www.motherroot.london/
The London Essence Co Grapefruit & Rosemary Tonic Water is priced at £20 (24 x 200ml) and can be purchased here: https://shop.londonessenceco.com/.
21 FESTIVE-FIT APERITIFS
Don’t worry; we wouldn’t whet your appetite for pre-dinner drinks without giving you a shopping list of aperitif options. We wanted to include everyone, so our picks include a range of taste and price options and ABVs of 0.0% up to 54.1%. We’ve given you a whopping 21 choices (because, you know, ’21), so you’ve got the perfect reason to have a bit of a festive taste test. Your new favourite tipple just might be listed below.
ZEO Spiced Oak Non-Alcoholic Spirit – £27 (70cl)
Alcohol content 0.0% ABV
It’s got the warmth and depth of a whiskey, without the risk of a hangover; ZEO’s Spiced Oak Non-Alcoholic Spirit is now available to pre-order (first bottles will be shipping for 14th December). If you like your spirits spicey, sweet, and woody, you’re going to love this.
Feragaia – £24.95 (50cl)
Alcohol content: 0.0% ABV
Scotland’s first alcohol-free spirit, Feragaia has a winey, vermouth-type quality. Amber in colour, with a clean complexity and warming finish, Feragaia is made from a mix of 14 land, and sea botanicals create using age-old techniques.
Nine Elms No.18 – £16.95 (75cl)
Alcohol content: 0.0% ABV
Multi-award winning and uniquely designed to complement food, Nine Elms No.18 makes a real treat of an aperitif. The juice of four types of dark berry and 20 botanicals combine to make a taste that is truly indulgent.
Vilarnau Organic Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé NV – £7.99 (70cl)
Alcohol content: 0% ABV
Sophisticated, sparkling, and de-alcoholised using state-of-the-art technology, Vilarnau Organic Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé is crafted from Garnacha grapes. It has notes of strawberries and cream, raspberry sorbet, cherry blossom, and tropical fruits.
CleanCo ClearGin Pomegranate & Grapefruit – £25 (70cl)
Alcohol content: 1.2% ABV
Handcrafted using natural botanicals, CleanGin Pomegranate & Grapefruit is low alcohol, bursting with flavour, and produced as a limited-edition small batch. Buy it while you can!
Salcombe Brewery Christmas Tide Beer – £18.25 (8 x 500ml)
Alcohol content: 4.9% ABV
Christmas Tide Beer not only has a name that makes it born to be a festive aperitif; it has the taste to match. A mix of malts makes it a beer with a lot of body and a hint of warmth.
Porte Noire Grand Cru Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2010 by Idris Elba – £89 (75cl)
Alcohol content: 12% ABV
The first champagne to be curated by Idris Elba for his newly launched Port Noir brand, Grand Cru Champagne Blanc de Blanc 2010 is 100% chardonnay, incredibly easy to drink, and luxurious as an aperitif.