Dry January is drawing to a close and we have to take our hats off to those who took a month off drinking – it’s an admirable feat and, as the research shows, ditching booze has an amazing effect on our health.
From our digestive system to our sleep, experts speaking to Metro previously explained that if you stay dry or cut back, ‘you’ll reap benefits like improved sleep, increased vitality, better mental health and focus as well as a healthier gut.’
In saying this, perhaps a sober month has opened your eyes to making more meaningful drink choices from now on, so, in the spirit (pardon the pun) we’ve gathered a list of new companies mixing things up (pardon the pun) in the drinks and spirits market for your February and beyond.
From smaller-batch brewers and local distilleries to pre-mixed bottled cocktails – and cocktails in a can – you can try without breaking the budget with a night at the bar, there is an option for many who are looking to try a new tipple.
Plus, for anyone who enjoyed Dry Jan and is keen to keep things more on the damp side, or ditch alcohol altogether, the non-alcoholic options keep on getting better each year.
Above all, remember, drink responsibly.
In need of a coffee liqueur to fill the void the discontinuation of Cafe Patron has left?
Mr Black is a cold brew coffee liqueur made in Australia (and we all know how seriously they take their coffee there).
It’s suggested you serve this tipple neat or on the rocks, while, for the entertainers amongst us, it is also ace for making an Espresso Martini at home – just add coffee, hard shake over ice and pour.
FYI it’s currently got a welcome deal for new faces, with a 200ml bottle setting you back £10 with promo code MRBLACK10.
Dos Hombres Mezcal
Last year Mezcal was a spirit on the rise in the UK’s cocktail bars, and two celebrities have capitalised on this with the brand Dos Hombres.
Yes, Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul came together to create a unique blend of the finest Espadin agave, hand-selected from the hillsides of a small village in Oaxaca, with the name coming from the Spanish dos (two) and hombres (men).
Dos Hombres Mezcal, £59.95 from Spirits Kiosk.
Twisted Nose Dry Gin
Twisted Nose is a small batch craft gin from Winchester Distillery. Gin lovers can go for the soft sweet citrus notes, which develop spicy undertones and finish with a peppery sparkle from the fresh watercress grown at the distillery.
Going one step forward and tickling our environmentally-friendly pickle, the distillery also offers the gin in recyclable pouches so you can simply refill any bottle you have, minimising waste and carbon emissions.
70cl available for £38 from John Lewis.
Kocktail knows what they’re doing when it comes to bottled cocktails.
So probably comes as no real surprise they boast awards including Best Bottled Cocktail and Best Espresso Martini, eh? Its range is curated by former senior bartender at The Savoy Neil Donachie, and every bottle is handmade using premium spirits by its small team of dedicated bartenders.
Plus, from a Banoffee Old Fashioned to Chocolate Negroni, they’re certainly doing things differently.
Try the Banoffee Old Fashioned, £25, at Kocktail.
Does what it says on the tin, really – this company will send you cocktails that fit through your letterbox, with a delightful Pisco Sour offering that arrives right on time for National Pisco Sour Day on February 4, non?
Yes they do other varieties, as well, which makes quite the nice night in. Oh, they also come with garnishes to make your offerings look fancy AF.
Comes in bottles of two for £39.95 from Not On The High Street.
Who knew cocktails in a can would make such a big resurgence?
If you’re going to skip a night out for some bar-worthy cocktails at home, Moth’s not only come in a variety – from espresso martini to an old fashioned – but an eco-friendly option. No pointless plastic, or heavy glass bottles, with the tipples coming in aluminium cans that can be recycled again.
Come in packs of six, 12, or 24, from £20.
We love a sustainability story, and Napton Cidery has a corker (sorry, another pun).
Napton made its first batch of cider from the apple tree in the garden, going from pressing 2,000 litres in 2015 to over 90,000 litres per year now, all sourced from small, traditional orchards in Herefordshire to support sustainable British farming.
The family-run cidery at Holroyd House Farm now also includes a shop and taproom for punters to visit.
Not in the area? You can order online, starting from £3.50 for a bottle of cider (minimum order £25).
Opened only in 2021, the small batch Henley Distillery has already won awards including the Country Winner for Best London Dry Gin in England for its Henley Gin, Classic Dry in Round One of The World Gin Awards 2022 (that’s a mouthful), as well as two awards at The Spirits Business Gin Masters which included a Master medal in the Pink Gin category. Not a bad effort for a young brand.
Out of a barn just outside Henley-on-Thames, offerings include a Classic Dry gin, a Rhubarb & Orange, and an Oriental Spiced, for £40 a bottle.
Not ready to ditch non-alcoholic options? Try a damp February with these
High Point’s Ruby Aperitif is a rich and complex non-alcoholic digestif created through fermentation, with the process taking over a month and each bottle beginning with raw, natural ingredients.
Serve with tonic water, over ice, and with a slice of pink grapefruit – a balancing act of sweet, sour, and spice.
With growing cultural awareness about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, this alcohol-free spirit promises to give you a similar feeling to alcohol without the bad effects.
Sentia Spirits is the brainchild of David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, and is a non-alcoholic drink made of a licensed, ‘Botanical GABAergic Blend’ from Nutt’s team at GABA Labs.
It mimics the taste and texture of an alcoholic spirit but unlike with alcohol, you can’t get beyond that initial tipsy feeling.
We must note, while there’s no evidence of impairment with Sentia, the team behind the drinks still won’t recommend it for designated drivers as people might be affected by it differently. It’s recommended to drink it in moderation, be conscious of any effects you’re experiencing and act responsibly as a result. Which, while we’re here, goes for all the drinks above, too.
Sentia 50cl for £29.50.
Butcombe Goram IPA
Goram IPA Zero is based on the Goram IPA recipe, but, as the name suggests, is nonalcoholic. And, named after Bristol’s very own giant, should you be interested.
The brewery behind it, Butcombe Brewing Co, recommends you try this drink with vintage cheddar, spicy pickles, rich chutneys or a classic slow-roasted pork belly and we really could go a whole sharing board to ourselves of that.
It’s also available in its pubs in the South West, South East and beyond, and you can buy online for £14.95.
The NHS recommends Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, there is a free helpline you can call in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Or you can use Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a free self-help group with a 12-step programme.
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