This Sober October, eat, drink and be merry yet hangover-free with these non-alcoholic spirits.

Sober October is the new Dry January (though, you could of course allow the two to co-exist in harmonious sobriety and give both a bash, if you so choose). With more and more people opting for periods of abstinence to boost their wellbeing, it’s the perfect time to explore drinks that pack the flavour punch traditionally associated with booze – all while remaining hangover free. And if you need motivation, the Sober October challenge is often undertaken for charities, such as Macmillian Cancer Support (for whom, participants have raised millions in this month alone just by getting sponsored to ditch alcohol for 31 days – register here if you’re interested).

Choosing between a lukewarm elderflower cordial, or super sweet non-alcoholic wine does not have to be your fate when you're on an evening out if you’re off the booze. Where Seedlip paved the way back in 2015 with its grown-up, complex, alcohol-free spirits, many other brands have followed. The range is winningly comprehensive these days, from botanical-based gin-like tipples, to rums and whiskeys, with all the warmth, spices and herbs of the real thing, minus the hangover. We’ve rounded up seven of our favourites here. Whether you like yours with tonic, over ice or with an umbrella in it, you’ll find a more-than-worthy substitute for the hard stuff this month.


Seedlip


Inspired by a 17th-century physician’s recipes for distilled non-alcoholic herbal remedies, Seedlip’s story is about as magical as it sounds. Founder Ben took up the mantel in the 21st-century and over his kitchen table, with a simple still and herbs from his garden, created the first Seedlip. The original ‘Spice 94’ was snapped up by everyone from Buckingham Palace to Michelin-starred restaurants when it launched four years ago, while the earthy Garden 108 blend uses peas picked from Ben’s 300 year old family farm in the north of England (don’t worry it doesn’t taste of peas; just earthy and fresh). The final addition, the zesty Grove 42 is a refreshing tipple, with a blend of three oranges and spices for a perfect winter’s drink. This Christmas, try the ready-mixed ‘Nogroni’ a headache-free version of a classic Negroni, ready to pour.

Three Spirit


If you’re missing that ‘sharpener’ before a night out, or a glass of something to help you mellow and wind down after a long day, Three Spirit has concocted a blend of 11 plants to give you the experience of drinking alcohol – without the side effects. The botanicals in the mix ‘target specific receptors in the brain to heighten positive feelings’. There’s the ‘Livener’ a fiery, pre-party pick-me-up with exotic heat and energising green tea; the ‘Social Elixir’ designed to lift your mood and loosen lips with dark apple and cacao notes; and ‘The Night Cap’ with woody aromatics, black pepper, maple syrup and vanilla, designed to calm and mellow. A clever concept for those looking to imbibe without the influence.

Stryyk Vodka


With its clever tagline, ‘all the spirit, none of the alcohol’, Stryyk has managed to remove the alcohol from its ‘not Vodka’ and yet actually leave behind something resembling vodka in taste with a cleverly recreated fresh flavour of cucumber and menthol profile with a delicate apple finish. The website is full of great cocktail ideas, from a Cosmopolitan to a Caipiroska. There’s a ‘not rum’ and a ‘not gin’ too for those looking to mix things up a little.

Everleaf


This blend of 18 different botanicals is great for creating a satisfyingly bitter and tangy spritz. We prefer using tonic water to mix it for that extra bitter kick as, although it has been distilled with saffron, vetiver, orange blossom, gentian, voodoo lily, wild roots and iris, the sweetness of vanilla really does stand out. Founder Paul Mathew, a conservationist turned bartender, has also taken special care to source all ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources.

Celtic Soul


If you like to brood over a darker spirit, preferably on the rocks in front of a roaring fire, then Celtic Soul has all the depth of a whiskey or rum with sweet vanilla, a warmth of spice and oak cask wood notes. It mixes well with cola, or with ginger ale for a dark and stormy vibe.
Available at Sainsbury’s.

Caleño


If you’re looking for a bit of sunshine to brighten up a grey winter’s day, Caleño, inspired by South America, combines juniper, citrus and botanicals for a tropical flavour. Full of those warm, exotic fruits – think mango, pineapple, with a slight hint of juniper to stop it being sickly sweet (it is also sugar free) – just simply add tonic. Umbrella optional.

Feragaia


Taking its inspiration from land and sea, Feragaia is distilled, blended and bottled in the Scottish Lowlands using local botanicals from seaweed to bay leaves. Served neat over ice the full lightly smoked, peppery flavours are in full effect, or try it with tonic for a more refreshing, herbal finish.

Shake it up

Feeling inspired? Why not try shaking up these sensational recipes from Feragaia? We have our eye on the Feragaia Paloma.

Feragaia Grapefruit Negroni




Feragaia Paloma



By Lydia Mansi
Updated October 2020

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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