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The Ultimate Alcohol-Free Guide for Foodies
Are you a foodie looking to cut down on your alcohol intake? Maybe you’re fond of cocktails, but prefer a hangover-free morning, too. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are, going alcohol-free is easier than you think—and it’s totally worth it. And you won’t be alone, either. More and more people are moving away from alcoholic drinks, and 56% of millennials consider themselves to be ‘mindful drinkers.’
But you’re a foodie, and one of the things that perfects a good meal is complementing it with the best wine or beer, right? Not necessarily! There are lots of ways you can turn your foodie experiences into alcohol-free delights.
1. Embrace wellbeing
Whether health is your main motivator in cutting out alcohol or not, there is no denying it—going alcohol-free is better for you. If you’re going alcohol-free anyway, why not embrace the health factors that come with it? It’s a great opportunity to cut down on sugar as well as alcohol and means you can tailor drinks to your specifications. Allow yourself to make your own choices when it comes to what is in your glass, instead of sticking to the tried-and-tested (and often unhealthy) beverages. Explore not only what pairs well with food, but what pairs well with you, and experiment with how different drinks make you feel.
2. Make new associations
Pairing food and drink is age-old, and the more traditional pairings are so engrained in us that it is difficult to imagine anything else. But other things do work! Those canapés you normally serve with a cold glass of Pinot? Pair them with something else and stick to it—at least for a while—to give yourself time to cut ties with the old association and make a new one. Build new pairings that work for you, instead of relying on the time-tested (and perhaps a little stale) traditional rules.
Alternatively, try shaking up what food you serve. In honour of embracing well-being, why not switch to healthy snacks instead of canapés? Try hummus with carrot and celery instead of pastry-laden options. Where raw veggies might not go so well with wine, they pair well with many different alcohol-free beverages.
3. Keep it exciting
Alcohol-free does not have to be boring! In fact, if you’re doing it right, it’s anything but boring. Water is both refreshing and vital for your health, but it’s hardly inspiring. Juices can get dull and repetitive, too. Forget all that. Instead, make your pairings exciting and flavourful. Make cocktails using a range of products, like these Michelin-starred restaurants, and embrace the idea of trying new and different things. Let your creativity flow and show what you can really do.
Don’t forget customisation either. Don’t just pour a drink from a bottle but make it your own—and allow your guests to do the same. This can be as simple as complex as mixing in new flavours, or as simple as adding a little syrup, as with Kolibri’s non-alcoholic cocktails, which have been specifically designed with personal tailoring in mind.
4. Rope others in
Everything’s better when others are onboard, right? Research shows that we’re much more likely to stick to something if we share our goals. Going alcohol-free as a foodie is no different. Create a buzz about what you’re doing and get all your friends and family involved. Throw a zero abv dinner party and take your time to select the perfect drinks for each course, using bespoke adult drinks that are alcohol-free.
It won’t be long before you’ll have people coming to you, asking for your advice on what to pair with their salmon or what non-alcoholic cocktail would taste good with their steak.
5. Do your research
Most of all, do your research! Just like pairing a good wine, non-alcoholic beverages have their friends and enemies. Eating something fatty like steak? Try drinks heavy in tannins, like tea or apple juice. Spicy or salty food? Go for a sweet drink to cut through the flavours of the food, complementing it perfectly. When you’re eating sweet desserts, especially chocolate-based ones, go for something tart, maybe cranberry-based, and if you’ve got seafood or salad, try something acidic and citrus-based.
And just as you would with wine, texture, dryness, and scent all play a role in making your pairings perfect. There are lots of resources with advice, along with some suggestions, and they are a great help. But once you’ve got the basics down? Experiment yourself, get creative, and serve up a treat.
One thing is for certain—once you’ve gone alcohol-free, you won’t go back. The options for non-alcoholic pairings are endless, and they can be just as sophisticated as anything you’ll get from your sommelier. If you’re a foodie wanting to avoid alcohol, don’t just go straight for the soda or juice. There are far too many drinks to choose from, and so much customisation on offer. Make it exciting, make new associations, and revel in your new discoveries.