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"If this drink was a person, they’d study philosophy." The 6 best non-alcoholic drinks to try ASAP.

If you've been out for a social occasion during your adult life then there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that almost everyone there had a drink in their hand

It's become the social norm. The must-have so you look like you're going with the flow, having fun, up for a laugh etc. etc. YAWN. YAWN.

There's a brief moment of relief when everyone jumps on the January bandwagon and attempts to give up booze for at least a month. And I'm not judging, I was one of them too. I gave up drinking as a New Year's resolution a couple of years ago too - and here I am now in 2021 still going strong.

Watch Shauna Whan on Australian Story talking about staying 'Sober in the Country'. Post continues after video.


Video via ABC.

But just because I had decided to give up alcohol didn’t mean I was planning on foregoing the wonderful activity of having a tasty drink in hand, too. 

Thus began my voyage into the world of non-alcoholic drinks.

While there are definitely some that I would avoid like the plague, there are a handful of non-alcoholic beers and spirits that I will go back to again and again. 

So, I'd thought I'd share them with you. You know, in case you want to venture into the world of teetotatalist tipples or you're just fascinated to try and compare them to the 'real deal'. 

Either way, here are my top picks for non-alcoholic drinks to give a whirl.  

(Oh and a quick note, I’m no alcohol connoisseur, so you won’t find any tasting notes or jargon from me. Just honest, useful advice. But if you’re after the serious stuff, look out for ‘The real spiel’ notes - taken directly from the fancy people themselves who make and sell the drinks.)


The NON Range - $29.95

Image: Sans Drinks

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My elevator pitch:

Look, I’m going to be honest here. I don’t… know what this is. I know what it’s not though - and that’s a wine. 

But it kind of looks like a wine? 

Let me paint a picture.. 

If this drink was a person. They’d study philosophy.  

They’d have travelled to Kyrgyzstan and stayed in a yurt. 

They’d read the newspaper, on actual paper. 

Hope that helps! If it doesn’t, let me try and describe this unique drink with some adjectives. This drink is nuanced, layered and complex. It’s woody, savoury and earthy - like a Bloody Mary (at least the NON 4 was, that I tried). It’s also slightly fizzy, which was a surprise. 

Ok I give up. Here’s what the experts say. 

The real spiel:

Created by an ex NOMA Chef, this range of wine-alternatives contain an amazing combo of unique ingredients from renowned growing regions. They have been expertly crafted to introduce an air of unpredictability and creativity to the alc-free market

Woodfired vegetals and Cabernet musk mingle to create a full-bodied flavour profile with a charred herb-esque, slightly spicy aroma. Ingredients include beetroot, sansho pepper, tamari, bay leaf, jalapeno, houjicha, Murray River salt and verjus.  

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Pairs well with:

An indulgent dinner. 

I prepared this Ottolenghi-esque meal for my friends and made them all try the NON 4 - and received some mixed responses. One of my friends said it would pair better with a brunch. 

It’s not brunch, but I reckon it paired well.

All I can say is try it for yourself. It’s definitely an *experiential* drink. 


Fleure Pink Alt Gin - $49.95

Image: Supplied.

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My elevator pitch:

This classy, hot pink gin-alternative is as delish as it is funky. Mix it up in a cocktail with soda water and lemon, or really taste the botanicals just over some ice. The raspberry flavour really comes through, without being too sweet. 

The real spiel:

Fluère Pink is made with aromatic botanicals and ingredients via the hydrosteam distillation method. Deliciously dry, slightly tart raspberries are expertly distilled to provide a fresh burst of flavour while remaining perfectly balanced. 

Pairs well with:

The galsssssssssssssssss. 

I said act cool but somehow it still looks like we’re in an ad. 

This Pink Gin was perfect for our Galentines shindig. 

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Lyre’s Italian Spritz - $44.99

My elevator pitch:

This brightly-hued Aperol equivalent really captures the essence of the original apéritif while adding its own flavour profile and alc-free touch. It’s bittersweet while also being dry and refreshing. 

Mix it with some soda or go classic with some alc-free prosecco for that real Spritz vibe. I swear this has been crafted by the Italian Gods.

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The real spiel:

Lyre’s Italian Spritz captures the essence of the bittersweet flavour of an Italian Spritz. Bright with some orange sweetness and undertones of rhubarb.

Pairs well with: 

Not knowing what time it is. 

Upflow Fruit Pavlova Pale Ale - $19.99 for a 6 pack

Image: Supplied.

My elevator pitch:

This pale ale really delivers on the classic Aussie Christmas dessert thing. You’ll want to drink this all year round though - it’s really fruity which I love - and they went hard on the passionfruit flavour which adds a real bite. 

The real spiel:

Authentically brewed with a passionfruit punch, it’s cradled by a background of wheat malt, oats, and a hint of vanilla. Smooth and creamy with a citrus-ey bite, it’s an alcohol-free beer that hits in all the right places. 

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Pairs well with:

Backyard BBQ’s and shoving it in your friend’s faces saying “Try this! I promise you’ll like it!!!” 


Heaps Normal XPA - $12.99 for a 4 pack

Image: Supplied.

My elevator pitch:

I have come across this beer at so many venues in Sydney. It seems to be super popular, and for good reason. It’s delicious and one of the best non-alcoholic beers I’ve tasted. My friends who also had it described it as “hoppy” so I think that’s a good thing. I’m always super stoked when I see this on the menu - and even more stoked when I found out Craft Zero sells it too

The real spiel:

An unfiltered non-alcoholic XPA that carries tropical and citrus aromas. A subtle but noticeable malt sweetness with a well balanced and refreshing bitterness finish. 

Pairs well with:

Burgers and banter. 

Monday Distellery G&T - $21.99 for a 4 pack

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My elevator pitch: 

This G&T is wholesome, yet kinda spicy! Very on brand for me. 

It’s also effortlessly cool, which is less on brand for me but anyway. 

Just from the get go, you can see the packaging is very stylish. Holding one of these will definitely not make you feel left out at a party. Each bottle is a pre-mixed G&T so you can go on and drink the whole damn thing. No need to mix it with anything else. They’re also completely sugar free. 

The real spiel:

Made with Gin-Esque botanicals, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg, and refreshing tonic water, you’re in for a treat that won’t put you under the table. 

Best paired with:

In the words of Monday Distillery: “Best paired with high spirits and a clear mind.”


So that’s it. My booze-free bible. If you’re still here, then what are you waiting for, take your pick and get tasting!

Or if you’re still unsure where to start with all this, try out a tasting bundle like these ones from Sans Drinks or these ones from Craft Zero. 

Feature Image: @el_katelaris + Mamamia.

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