3 non-alcoholic aperitifs to perk up your palate23rd May 19 | Lifestyle
And sophisticated enough to warrant your best stemware, says Sam Wylie-Harris
Summer sunshine and cue the aperitif… that wonderful time of the day when we whet our appetite with a light bite and a glass of something soberingly refreshing.
Yep, that’s right. Rather than a bitter-sweet cocktail before dinner, we’re opting for something lighter than a spritz, and much more agreeable than a kiddies cocktail – aka a Shirley Temple.
“The aperitif moment is all about fun, anticipation of a great evening or meal, and marking the moment where work becomes play,” says Paul Mathew, bartender and founder, Everleaf Non-alcoholic Aperitif.”
Which doesn’t have to involve alcohol: “At our bars, we’re finding more and more people are choosing non-alcoholic options – whether that’s all the time, weekdays or just in-between alcoholic drinks.”
Spritzy but not boozy, here are three ways to sip in aperitif season…
1. Everleaf Non-alcoholic Natural Aperitif (£18, 50cl, Everleaf)
“Bittersweet and quite dry on the palate, with lots of complex aromas and a long finish, Everleaf is made from 18 plants,” explains Mathew, “carefully chosen to give great aroma, flavour, colour and (unique) texture.”
Mathew claims he’s made it to be as good – if not better than alcoholic aperitifs – “So you don’t have to compromise just because you don’t want alcohol,” he says.
And while lots of the plants have been used for their health-giving properties, Mathew prefers to say: “Everleaf is all about fun and enjoyment – a hugely positive drink, both in terms of the fun aperitif moment and leaving a positive footprint from our careful sourcing.”
Try it mixed with soda (one part Everleaf, two parts soda and a wedge), tonic, neat over ice or experiment with non-alcoholic twists on classic cocktails.
2. Aecorn Dry, Aecorn Bitter and Aecorn Aromatic Non-alcoholic Aperitifs (£19.95 each, ex VAT, 50cl, The Whisky Exchange)
Non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip spearheaded the no-abv movement and are encouraging non- drinkers to take a seat at the bar with one of their new range of Aecorn aperitifs – made from English grapes and based on herbal remedies.
“Whetting the appetite, enjoying a drink before dinner, or celebrating sundown with a glass in hand; all moments where the aperitif comes into its own,” says Claire Smith-Warner, MD at Aecorn Aperitifs.
“What’s exciting about the introduction of Aecorn is that these moments are no longer the preserve of alcoholic drinks. There’s now a grown-up option for those who, for whatever reason, choose not to drink.”
In recent years, Seedlip have seen a growing trend towards drinking less, drinking better, and drinking bitter. “Aecorn Aperitifs taps into all of these trends and offers a unique, non-alcoholic take on the European aperitif tradition,” says Smith-Warner.
The aperitifs can be served as a spritz; over ice with a splash of soda or tonic, garnished with a slice of lemon or orange, or within a variety of no or low cocktails.
3. Ceder’s Wild Non-alcoholic Spirit (£16, reduced from £19, 50cl, Tesco)
Elsewhere, Ceder’s Wild combines South African botanicals with a juniper base and is available in three varieties. A distilled non-alcoholic alt-gin, along with Wild, there’s a Classic and a Crisp, each designed to be served with tonic and a slice.
With reasonably complex spice flavours, Ceder’s also lends itself well to non-alcoholic cocktails – and the gin-inspired bottle looks the part too.
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