The best alcohol-free drinks

Alcohol-free drinks have massively improved over the last few years. We recommend the best to enjoy while staying sober and safe if driving.

Unlabelled beer bottles with a red background

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Rules are clear when it comes to alcohol and driving in the UK:

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the drink driving alcohol limit for drivers is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. In Scotland it’s 22mg per 100ml of breath.

This doesn’t translate into a certain number of drinks allowed, such as two pints of ale or glasses of wine because people vary as much in size and metabolism as alcoholic drinks do in volume, strength, and flavour. And therefore two glasses of wine affect each adult differently.

The rise of zero alcohol alcohol

The production of low and zero alcohol beer, wine, and other traditionally alcoholic drinks has really taken off in recent years. This is partly due to this desire for people to have a few drinks and still drive sober but mostly because ever-increasing numbers of people are quitting or minimising their alcohol intake.

This shift in customer demand has driven manufacturers to make big advancements in the quality and flavour of their produce. It's also allowed new names to pop up. Where low and zero alcohol wines and spirit-type drinks are still improving, low or zero percent beer is nailing it, the best of which you’d be doing well to tell apart from their alcoholic equivalents.

The best low and zero alcoholic drinks

Editoru2019s pick

Brewdogu2019s standard Punk IPA is a hoppy favourite for those who like a flavoursome beverage. It now comes in 0.5% form and retains is excellent flavour.

Alcohol-free hoppy lagers and malty ales have a reasonably easy job of disguising themselves as the real deal because their flavours punch so hard you don't really notice a difference in taste. The same doesn't often happen for a more subtle pilsner, and so it's even more impressive how good this Krombacher Pils is - full of flavour and low on fizz, there's no mistaking this as a grown-ups drink, just one that won't leave you with a headache. Tastes like summer in a bottle. Highly recommended.

Best alcohol-free lager

In a blind taste test weu2019re very confident you wouldnu2019t tell the difference between this and standard Heineken lager. If you know the Heineken flavour, thatu2019s what this is.

Best sample set

This is a good option for those hunting around for low-alcohol and zero alcohol beers. It lets you try a dozen options, separating those that youu2019d buy again from those youu2019re glad you only tried once.

Best alcohol-free white wine

Eisberg is one of the leading names in alcohol-free wine. Its Sparkling Blanc is light and fresh and crisp. (You can get a case of six here.)

Best alcohol-free red wine

With alcohol-free red wines, itu2019s best to stick to the lighter ones, such as this merlot. Itu2019s fruity and delicate with a nice aroma.

Best alcohol-free gin

Zero alcohol spirit substitutes are still a work in progress, but Gordonu2019s 0.0% is one of the best alcohol-free gins around. Itu2019s good to have with something else, even if itu2019s just tonic. But we wouldnu2019t recommend having it on its own.

Best alcohol-free vodka

This vodka substitute is rather impressive. Itu2019s a take on spiced apple vodka so itu2019s quite crisp and maintains that clean vodka flavour. CleanCo suggests u201850ml over ice with soda and a wedge of limeu2019. There are gin, rum, and tequila alternatives from CleanCo too.

How alcohol-free beer is made

It usually goes through the same process of mixing barley with hot water, then boiled with hops and fermented. The beer then needs to be dealcoholised, and this can be achieved by a number of methods, such as heating the beer to remove the alcohol.

Some producers will alter the fermentation process. For example, some may reduce the amount of sugar that is to be fermented in the wort (barley-water mixture).

How alcohol-free wine is made

Alcohol-free wine undergoes the same processes as regular wine, which is what separates it from mere grape juice. The most popular means of removing the alcohol from wine is by heating it gently, just like the process for beer mentioned above.

Read next:

The best cooler boxes for your car

The best power banks for your car glovebox

The best travel flask for your car

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