Non-alcoholic drinks prove that you don't need alcohol to enjoy the taste, buzz and pleasant feeling you've come to enjoy. They're increasingly making an appearance at parties, both to prevent incidents of drunkenness and to allow those who don't drink alcohol or those in recovery to feel included. In this post, we take you through the reasons behind the explosive growth of non-alcoholic drinks.
Let’s Understand Non-Alcoholic Drinks
What exactly are non-alcoholic drinks and what goes into them? We break it down for you.
What Are Non-Alcoholic Drinks?
Non-alcoholic beverages have trace amounts of alcohol or none at all. That is, they are made with ethanol removed or reduced to almost zero. Ethanol is the intoxicating agent found in wine, beer, and liquor. It gives alcohol its distinct burn, which is responsible for slowing down the drinker and imparting a rich, deep taste. Bitter or spicy flavors can achieve the same effect, and this is the basis for non-alcoholic drinks. They have the elements of an alcoholic drink such as acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and salinity, which stimulate the palate and make you feel good.
How Are Non-Alcoholic Drinks Prepared?
There are a number of methods for making non-alcoholic drinks. A common one is ethanol distillation where the alcohol formed during the drink's fermentation process is boiled away. Another, reverse osmosis, distills out alcohol, keeping only the sugars, compounds, and chemicals that give alcoholic drinks their flavor.
Producers of non-alcoholic spirits use botanicals, herbs, seeds, barks, and nuts to create complex, nuanced flavors. To impart the bitterness of alcohol, a non-alcoholic spirit may use distillates of grapefruit, a rich source of natural bitters. Non-alcoholic cocktails use ingredients like cordials, tonic waters, sodas, cold brew coffee, spices, bitters, botanicals, and others. For example, juniper berries, the key ingredient in traditional gin, are essential in alcohol-free gin, which can also use orange zest/lime, rosemary, chili peppers, cardamom, and coriander, among others, to achieve a gin-like flavor.
Health-Related Benefits Of Non-Alcoholic Drinks
The role a drink has on your health depends on how much and how often you have it, as well as the other things you're eating. It's worth understanding the effects of non-alcoholic drinks on your health versus their alcoholic counterparts. Here are some points to ponder.
Harms Of Alcoholic Drinks To Your Health
Excessive alcohol is linked to long-term health risks, including heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and different cancers. It can weaken the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off illnesses.
Binge-drinking alcohol can cause learning and memory problems, as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Any negative effects on your mental and emotional well-being can spill over to other areas of life. Personal relationships and job performance can suffer, and the cumulative impacts may, unfortunately, drive dependence on alcohol, anti-depressants, or other temporary fixes.
Some Unknown Harms Of Alcoholic Drinks
Heavy drinking decreases testosterone levels in men, affecting fertility and sexual performance. And while alcohol is hailed as an aphrodisiac, it can have a numbing effect on the genitals, reducing sexual sensitivity and enjoyment of sex for men and women.
How Do Non-Alcoholic Drinks Help You Here?
Non-alcoholic drinks don't have the toxic effects of alcoholic spirits on the body's systems. They are gentle on the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. Alcohol-free spirits are low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar while also containing vitamins and minerals, which makes them good for your body.
As a bonus, non-alcoholic spirits hydrate you. In contrast, all types of alcohol are dehydrating.
Drunkenness And Prevention: Another Benefit Of Non-Alcoholic Drinks
A fly on the wall will not have trouble ascertaining how intoxicated you might be. When mildly intoxicated, you'll feel relaxed, confident, and uninhibited. With a few more drinks in you, your judgment can become slightly impaired and you may be up for anything, which is risky given how your responsiveness and reaction time would have also decreased by then.
And if you were to carry on drinking, you risk severe intoxication, which can make walking difficult, fully impair your judgment or cause you to lose consciousness. As alcohol makes you cold, hypothermia is also a possibility, which if left unaddressed can shut down your lungs and heart.
This grim picture does not arise when you enjoy non-alcoholic drinks to the same extent. That said, in keeping with the dictum of 'moderation in all things', do take it easy on non-alcoholic drinks just the same.
Hangover And Celebrating: How Non-Alcoholic Drinks Are Making A Difference For You
The morning after a night of drinking is never pleasant. You're tired and irritable. You could be nauseous or have massive diarrhea. The sounds around you may feel louder and the lights harsher.
Avoiding a hangover is quite easy. You have to watch the number of drinks you're having, make sure to have water or soft drinks between alcoholic drinks and drink a few glasses of water before hitting the bed. But then again, you could be tempted to let loose and just enjoy the party - rules be damned.
A non-alcoholic beverage makes you relaxed and happy minus the morning-after hangover. You can keep the party vibe intact and as a perk, rest easy knowing there will be no inebriated attendee creating a nuisance.
What Other Things Should You Keep In Mind?
If you derive pleasure in getting drunk, non-alcoholic spirits and cocktails are not for you. To give you an idea, ten standard servings of non-alcoholic beer are equal to one regular beer. So, you'd have to drink around 40 cans of non-alcoholic beers to get drunk.
Non-alcoholic beer should be consumed in moderation to avoid any adverse impact on the liver. If you have a liver-related medical condition or pancreatitis, please consult your doctor before consuming non-alcoholic spirits.
Here Are Some Great Non-Alcoholic Drink Options You Can Consider
Let's move on to trying non-alcoholic drinks. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
Non-Alcoholic Spirit Types
Virtually all alcoholic spirits and cocktails have their non-alcoholic versions. You can enjoy non-alcoholic beer, wine, rum, gin, vodka, tequila and absinthe, spritz, gin and tonic, and whiskey cocktails, to name some.
Non-Alcoholic Drink Recommendations
Here are some of our current picks for non-alcoholic drinks:
- Wander + Found Pinot Noir, a well-balanced red with a familiar tannin structure and a complex long finish, which makes it a great accompaniment to your dinner of steak or grilled fish and vegetables.
- The award-winning Big Drop Brewing Paradiso IPA, a lively beer with a great citrus aroma and a sharp bitter twist.
- Sir. James 101 Bitter Aperitif Spritz whose fresh orange and herb flavors burst in your mouth.
Non-alcoholic drinks can be just as pleasurable as alcoholic drinks without the drunkenness, hangover and harmful effects on body and mind. They're becoming a common sight at parties and should also be under consideration for anyone navigating sobriety. The good news is that you're never short of options in non-alcoholic spirits and cocktails, including some excellent ones at Better Rhodes. Why don't you take a look right away and try a version of your preferred alcohol?