Just as plant-based is becoming more and more a “thing” among foodies, so too alcohol-free drinks are appealing to an ever-increasing number of consumers. But how do they taste? To find out, we gave the Sipfree range of low- and non-alcoholic drinks a go, including wines, spirits and beer. Read on to see if we’re converted!
A sister company of local craft beer brewery Gweilo Beer, Hong Kong’s Sipfree is a new distributor of low- and non-alcoholic drinks that are produced both here in HK and around the world. It supplies everything from absinthe to vermouth, including boozeless Australian spirits, and pale ales and stouts from UK’s Big Drop Brewing. (The UK, by the way, had record sales of non-alcoholic beverages last year.)
You’ll find Sipfree drinks in more than 50 establishments across HK and Macau, from supermarkets to restaurants, bars, hotels and clubs. And the drinks are available to order online too.
With all this in mind, we decided to give them a shot. While we’ve not done a Dry January in some time, for the sake of good journalism we did a few dry days in May! Here’s what we thought.
#1 Elivo Zero Zero Sparkling Rosé (0 percent alcohol)
What Sipfree says: “Round and complete, this delicious non-alcoholic sparkling rosé is fresh on the palate with mildly fruity flavours and a dry finish. Elivo Zero Zero is made using the most natural method possible, from the manual selection of grapes to the careful dealcoholisation.”
How to enjoy: “Chilled, on its own.”
What EL thought: “The rosé was lightly sparkling and slightly fruity; it was nice and dry, too. Suitable for summer lunches.”
#2 Noughty Organic Vegan Sparkling Wine (0 percent alcohol)
What Sipfree says: “Noughty is produced with 100 percent organic chardonnay grapes, retaining the rich flavour of a beautifully crafted chardonnay. This delicious sparkling wine, very similar in structure to alcohol-free prosecco, is dealcoholised using a patented method that avoids adding unnecessary sugar or artificial aromas to the bottle, making it as pure as it can be. With 3g of sugar per 100ml, it’s almost half the sugar content of other non-alcoholic sparkling wine.”
How to enjoy: “Chilled, on its own, or with your favourite elderflower cordial, a splash of orange juice for a Buck’s Fizz, or mixed with Lyre’s Italian Spritz (see #3, below).”
What EL thought: “This was lovely – light and fruity as a sparkling wine. It went up a notch when mixed with the Italian Spritz, too. It’s also fabulous with elderflower cordial; we will definitely enjoy this over the summer!”
#3 Lyre’s Italian Spritz (0 percent alcohol)
What Sipfree says: “This unique aperitif has been impossibly crafted to capture the essence of a classic Italian Spritz such as Aperol with flavours that are distinct and contemporary. The bittersweet flavour of the Italian Spritz is like sunshine itself. The sweetness from orange is perfectly fused with the complex and astringent flavours of rhubarb, finishing dry and deliciously refreshing.”
How to enjoy: “With soda or tonic water and citrus slices for the perfect aperitif; or, for an Amalfi Spritz, have it with Prosecco / Noughty (two parts wine, one part Spritz) and a slice of grapefruit.”
What EL thought: “This one has all the flavours you’d expect from an Italian aperitif such as Campari or Aperol. It’s nice with tonic or soda. We mixed it with tonic and added a bit of orange juice for some nice sweet/bitter notes.”
#4 Lyre’s Dry London Spirit (0 percent alcohol)
What Sipfree says: “This unique spirit has been impossibly crafted to capture the essence of a classic gin, with flavours that are distinct and contemporary. Firm flavours of juniper and citrus, and earthy notes fill the mid-palate, which has lovely vinous qualities. The pepperberry adds warmth and delivers a generous, dry finish. How to enjoy: “As a classic G&T with premium tonic water. Add a slice of pink grapefruit and rosemary to garnish.”
What EL thought: “We like our G&Ts in a balloon glass with lots of ice and cucumber, and with a good tonic like Fever-Tree. So, we mixed the drink as we would normally and the result was surprisingly good.”
#5 Mikkeller Drink’In The Sun, American Wheat Ale (0.3 percent alcohol)
What Sipfree says: “Mikkeller redefines the possibilities of alcohol-free beer with this wheat-based ale. Bursting with hops, a huge wave of floral aromas on the nose gives way to a light and smooth body on the palate with a satisfyingly bitter finish.”
What EL thought: “It’s definitely true to the description, with quite a bitter finish. For our tastes (we admit it: we’re more partial to a lager than anything else!), it just felt like it had a bit too much going on.”
A BOOZE-FREE BONUS
Going teetotal can mean dropping more than just the alcohol: While a regular 330ml bottle of beer comes in at around 150 calories, Big Drop Brewing’s non-alcoholic variety has just 65.
Our final word
“Overall, we enjoyed all the drinks we tried. In particular, the Vegan Sparkling Wine (#2), Italian Spritz (#3) and London Sprit (#4), were all surprisingly good. They really lend themselves to summer drinks – fun jugs of pretty cocktails for sipping by the pool, on a junk, or at the beach. All the flavour but without the booze!”
Find out more about Sipfree’s range of non-alcoholic drinks at sipfree.co.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn: @sipfree
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This article first appeared in the Summer issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.