Sipping in the new year
By Jessica Granatiero
Each year many of us put forth our intentions or resolutions for a new year. I am also part of this club. Our intentions often include “eat better, exercise more, drink less,” helping us to make different decisions by doing less or more of something in the new year. In my industry I see people put away their wine glass and opt for something else for the month of January, and sometimes beyond. The ubiquitous term “dry January” has become synonymous with the start of a new year. Yet, we do not have to give up the fun activities of pairing our favorite food with wine or pretending to be a master cocktail mixologist. Today, there are a plethora of available non-alcoholic options that can carry us through our time of restraint!
Try pairing your favorite meal or creating a mocktail with one of these non-alcoholic wine and spirit options. Enjoy the recommendations and accompanying food partners. Good luck with your own resolutions.
Luminara Alcohol-Removed Red Blend, Napa Valley, California
From the renowned Napa Valley, this red blend provides us with a full-bodied, rich mouthfeel. Upon first sip we know that we are not lacking any flavors with this alcohol-removed wine. Deep, luscious notes of black cherry and plum jump from the glass and coat the palate. The end finish is smooth with just a hint of spice and vanilla from its time aging in oak barrels. It is a marriage of pinot noir and zinfandel. Pairs best with red meat dishes like prime rib, burgers with blue cheese and caramelized onions, meatloaf and vegetarian dishes with weight, such as tofu chili.
Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Rose, Germany
I have never met a bubbly that I did not like, including this non-alcoholic sparkling rosé from Germany. Made from the pinot noir grape, it gives us an off-dry palate full of fine bubbles and Bing cherry, raspberry and strawberry notes. Stainless steel fermented, it is vivacious with present yet rounded acidity, making it an easy sipper on its own, as well as a match for food. Pairs best with salads – shaved Brussels sprout Caesar salad – risotto with grilled asparagus, vegetarian pizza and roasted turkey atop fresh cranberry sauce. Also, it would work well as a spritz – sparkling rose over ice and topped with club soda in a wine glass.
Seedlip came to market early with its premium line of non-alcoholic spirits and are one of the companies that changed how our industry views non-alcoholic drinks. Seedlip provides high quality, hand-crafted options made from botanicals and spices, such as lemon, spearmint, blood orange and ginger, and other natural ingredients that the company sources from its own farm and other farmers. The options are without calories and sugar, two things that we often try to cut back on in the new year. Blended and bottled in England, Seedlip produces three assorted flavors – Garden 108, Grove 42 and Spice 94. My favorite is Garden 108 which incorporates peas, spearmint, hops, rosemary and thyme. This combination gives a fresh vibrant green herb flavor profile. Enjoy over ice topped with a light tonic water, or club soda, and a fresh mint sprig. Pairs best with spaghetti with green peas, roasted chicken with rosemary and oysters.
Clean Co. Non-Alcoholic Tequila Alternative
Through its non-alcoholic spirit choices, Clean Co. shows us that we do not have to compromise taste when enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage. Based in the U.K., Clean Co. produces non-alcoholic alternatives for gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey, all made without sugar. I have had the opportunity to sample through the entire Clean Co. line and the one that stood out for me was the Clean T tequila alternative. Made in a blanco (white) style, it is bright with fresh flavors of agave nectar, white pepper and cantaloupe melon. Enjoy it on its own, neat, or as a margarita mixed with fresh lime juice and agave syrup. Pairs best with Mexican style dishes – ie., chicken fajitas, guacamole and chips or shrimp tacos.
Shop the products mentioned in this article below, and click here to shop all non-alcoholic items. Cheers!