Caliente, an organic Swedish juice drink

Caliente Organic Swedish Juice Drink

Caliente, an organic Swedish juice drink review.

Price: €37 (12 x 250ml)
Available from: Manufacturer’s own
Recommended Serve: Long over ice

Caliente is an organic Swedish juice drink developed as a grown up alternative to traditional sprit and mixer. What separates Caliente from being just another soft drink that children might enjoy is the unusual chili kick, lack of carbonation and the low sugar content.

I’m not a fan of spicy flavours, so I was a little nervous in trying my first bottle of blueberry and lemongrass (3 out 5 on their chili scale). I was pleasantly surprised that the “chili kick” is more of a gentle warmness than a blow your socks off firework, and in that respect it’s not dissimilar to an alcoholic spirit.

Available in three flavours (blueberry lemongrass, plum rosemary, ginger lime) they are best served long over ice with a slice of lime or a garnish of your choice. What characterises a Caliente is how dry the flavour is, which is surprising given how refreshing and thirst quenching it is – without the need for artificial sweeteners.

Caliente is currently available at high end restaurants only which means that it’s difficult to try a bottle and you’ll have to plump for a full case. That said, I can easily imagine that you’ll get through a full case during a summer afternoon barbecue, and your non drinking guests and designated drivers will definitely thank you for it.

Handcrafted Spritz Syrup by 3/4 Oz review

Handcrafted Spritz Syrup

Handcrafted Spritz Syrup by 3/4 Oz review

Price: £7.99 for 240ml (10-12 drinks)

Available from: Waitrose

As I’ve said in one of my previous reviews, one of my favourite summer drinks was an Aperol Spritz. Earlier in the year during a holiday to the South of France I had noticed a ‘Spritz’ flavoured Monin syrup in one of the supermarkets, noticeable by its distinctive, bright orange colouring. As there was no non alcoholic sparkling wine to be found I didn’t buy any at the time, thinking that I could just order the syrup when I returned home. Unfortunately, the Spritz Syrup is only available on the continent so it was not to be. Merde!

It was only during a wishful internet search for the Monin syrup today – I’ve been searching every few weeks in the hope that someone in the UK would have started stocking it – that I stumbled across Handcrafted Spritz Syrup. Crafted in small batches by a young company based in Montreal, the spritz syrup, along with 4 other flavours that I can’t wait to try either, are designed for cocktails. Thankfully though the clever bods at Waitrose found it and are stocking online and instore, which meant I could pick some up on the way home!

It is packaged in an amber glass bottle (evidently to preserve the product for longer), which reminded me of medicine bottles, and the simple but eye-catching branding is reminiscent of an old apothecary label…very intriguing.

Luckily I already had a bottle of Nosecco chilling in the fridge (an AF sparkling wine I found in Sainsbury’s – review to follow soon!) so I mixed up an AF spritz as soon as I got home. The recommended serve is very similar to a classic spritz; one part spritz syrup, 4 parts AF sparkling wine and 1 part sparkling water over ice and with a slice of orange. Alternatively, you can just mix the syrup with some sparkling water, but I plumped for the classic combo and it did not disappoint.

I’m fairly sure you couldn’t get any closer to be honest. It’s got that lovely bittersweet, zesty flavour mixed with a slightly herby undertone and a woody, orange finish, almost identical to an Aperol. The colour is what gives it away; it looks a lot more natural than it’s fluorescent alcoholic friend, but I don’t mind this. If anything it feels more sophisticated, and slightly less flashy.

My one disappointment is that it comes in such a small bottle. Rest assured I’ll be heading straight back to my local Waitrose tomorrow to buy up all their stock (Sorry to any readers in Bromley!). With a long, hot summer still ahead of us, I’m going to need it…Saluti!

If you enjoyed this Handcrafted Spritz Syrup review, please let us have your feedback in the comments below, and if you want to carry on exploring you can read our full list of alcohol free drink reviews.

Natureo Torres Muscat Review

Natureo Torres Muscat

Natureo Torres Muscat Review

Price: £5.99

Available from: Waitrose, Dry Drinker, Ocado

Torres has been at the forefront of non alcoholic wine since 2008, the Natureo is the result of that long term research and planning.  It’s made from the muscat grape, which is then fermented normally before having the alcohol removed via distillation. It’s made in Spain, and Torres has an enviable reputation.  They have twice won the coveted “Most Admired Wine Brand” by Drinks International in both 2014 and 2015. Reasonable to to say then, that this wine has a lot to live up to!

Alcohol free or non alcoholic white wine are always going to be a little sweeter than the rest of the sector, and the Torres Natureo is no different. That said, it’s very far ahead of its competitions. It’s a wine I enjoyed by itself, but it would go equally with food and you’d pair it in much the same way you would as a traditional white.

With a light fruit initial taste with a slightly acidic finish which does a good job at replicating ‘normal’ wine. It deserves a place on your wine rack as an every day wine that would also work in cooking. That said, it might not make the step up to a wine you’d serve to guests. For this, I’d recommend something like the Eins Zwei Zero. However it’s presented well, and at a good price point, so you wouldn’t feel any sort of a hardship in keeping it to yourself!

Do you have any comments on this article about the Natureo Torres Muscat? Please leave them in the comments box below, we would love to hear from you! If you’ve enjoyed this review why not take a look at the other reviews we’ve written for non alcoholic drinks.

Monte Rosso The classic aperitivo review

Monte Rosso classic aperitivo review

Monte Rosso classic aperitivo review

Price: £2.55 (275ml)

Available from: Waitrose, Ocado, Manufacturer’s own

Recommended Serve:  In a wine glass with plenty of ice & a slice of orange

One of my favourite summer holiday drinks used to be an Aperol Spritz, and while I’ve managed to find non alcoholic substitutes for most other things, I presumed that this would be the one thing I couldn’t replicate.

Enter Monte Rosso; a non-alcoholic, pre mixed aperitivo that I gleefully stumbled across at the Mindful Drinking Festival recently, alongside T&E and London Essence tonics (more to follow on these later!)

The great news is that these drinks, including Monte Rosso, seem to be quite widely available. Only a few days after the festival I found them in my local Waitrose, available online through Ocado and in one of the bigger Tesco stores close to me. Hurrah!

So, onto the actual drink…The Monte Rosso is a little sweeter and fruitier than an Aperol Spritz, but it still has the refreshing fizz which makes it a nice, long, summer drink to savour. There are some lovely citrus notes coming through alongside summer fruits, and a slightly bitter finish, which is one of the things I love about a Spritz.

Recommended serve is with a slice of orange and plenty of ice or alternatively you can try mixing in a shot of grapefruit syrup and adding a slice each of grapefruit and lime over ice to give a slightly sharper finish. Either way, this has become a firm favourite of mine so pour yourself a glass, sit back, relax and let yourself be transported to an Italian terrazze! Pure bliss…

If you’ve enjoyed this review then we’d love it if you would please leave us a few comments below, or check out our full list of non alcoholic drink reviews.

Seedlip Garden 108

Seedlip Garden 108 review

Seedlip Garden 108 review

Price: £27.99 (700ml)

Stockists: Manufacturer’s own, Tesco, Amazon, other high end retailers

Recommended serve:  With Indian tonic water and a handful of peas

Alcohol: 0%

One of the biggest questions I had when I first gave up drinking was ‘what the hell do I drink other than fruit juice and lemonade?’. So with the tag line ‘What to drink when you’re not drinking’, its no surprise that a quick internet search led me to Seedlip; the original non-alcoholic spirit.

I didn’t really know what to expect of a non alcoholic spirit so decided just to dive straight in and order a bottle of the Garden 108 , along with a selection of premium tonics to experiment with. So here we go…

I started with the Garden 108 paired with Fever Tree Indian tonic. It’s one of those things that tastes exactly like it smells; garden herbs and peas are the breakthrough aromas, and to be fair this is exactly as it is described by Seedlip. What I felt was missing though was the floral element that had been mentioned in the blurb, and although I was trying to get away from overly sweet drinks, this felt to be lacking any sweetness and I struggled to get through the whole glass.

Taking this on board I decided to persevere and try again, but this time using Fever Tree Lemon Tonic. It’s not the serve recommended by Seedlip but I have to say I found this much more drinkable and enjoyable. The lemon tonic adds just enough sweetness and complements the flavours beautifully. Add plenty of ice, a slice of lemon and sprig of mint and you have a long, refreshing summer drink.

At £27.99 per 70cl bottle, it’s not exactly cheap, and while I enjoy the pairing with lemon tonic, the flavours here will not be for everyone. The good news is that since ordering my first bottle, I have discovered that Seedlip Garden can be found in a number of bars and restaurants, so I would advise trying one before committing to a full bottle. The website has a list of high end stockists, but I have also been pleasantly surprised to find it in Pizza Express, Be At One and even my own local, The George in Hayes, Bromley so it’s worth keeping an eye out in your local watering hole. Helpfully, Seedlip also sell a smaller 20cl bottle through their website, which will just give 4 serves for you to experiment with. Enjoy…

If you’ve enjoyed this review, why not leave a comment below and browse our full list of non alcoholic drink reviews.

Borrago, #47 Paloma Bend

Borrago, #47 Paloma Bend review

Borrago, #47 Paloma Bend review

Price: £19.99 (500ml)

Stockists: Manufacturer’s own, Master of Malt, Wise Bartender

Recommended serve: 25ml Borrago poured over ice, with premium tonic garnished with orange and basil

Alcohol: 0%

Technically, one can’t say that this is an alt-gin as it isn’t blended with juniper berries, but what one can undeniably say is that it’s true to the label when it says that this is a “grown up non alcoholic spirit full of exquisite flavours”.

In polite company, we’re told, there are two things you should never discuss: politics or religion. I’d like to add a third topic of conversation that should never be uttered, lest you condemn your dinner party to an awkward silence – “what’s better, an iPhone or Android?”. A strange thing to mention in a drink review you’re surely thinking, and based on my previous comment I shall proceed with extreme caution,  but I feel this is an alt-gin presented in such a way that Steve Jobs himself would have been proud.

The experience of pouring a Borrago imputes quality in the same way unboxing the latest iPhone does, or the way the experience of unpacking your newest bottle of aftershave or perfume feels innately special. A great solid, heavy bottle in a simple elegant rectangular shape with heavy weight paper and quality artwork, finished with a cork lid that literally ‘pops’ when opened.

It’s well worth stopping for a moment or two to savour the aroma the first time you rip the protective paper seal and remove the stopper. It has a much stronger and more distinct set of fragrances than its market competitors.  Mixed with a premium tonic, you’ll note strong citrus flavours with a pepper finish. It’s a very long drink, you won’t feel like rushing it, and that’s a good thing for drinks in this category; it’s a drink that stands by itself rather than being a compliment to a meal.

There is no alcohol used at any point of the process, meaning it’s not de-alcoholised. In turn this has meant they’ve applied for Halal accreditation. A rather nice touch is that each bottle comes with a small bag of borage flower seeds. This is designed to not only aid the bee crisis that is currently happening, but it also provides the drinker with a pretty, edible flower which can be used to garnish the drink.

It’s a touch on the expensive side at £20 for a 500ml bottle, but then do remember that the recommended serve is 25ml as opposed to 50ml which is common for the genre. Once opened, consume within 12 weeks… as if it’s going to hang around for that long.

Please leave us any comments below, and if you’ve enjoyed this review, why not take a look at our full list of non alcoholic drink reviews.

M&S Sparkling Summer Cup Mocktail Review

M&S Sparkling Summer Cup Mocktail review

M&S Sparkling Summer Cup Mocktail review

Price: £2.90 (4 cans)

Stockists: Marks and Spencer

Recommended serve: Pre-mixed 250ml cans

Alcohol: 0%

Found by accident while walking through M&S in Waterloo, this is a blend of white grape, orange and strawberry juice with sparking water.  Obviously a drink called ‘summer cup’ in a red can is going to be compared to a Pimms. I mixed mine with ice, lemon and lime as that’s what I had to hand, but would imagine you could further enhance the flavour by adding strawberries, mint and cucumber.

Although probably not quite there in terms of flavour compared to a ‘real’ Pimms, that’s probably because it’s made with spring water rather than lemonade. In a blindfold test based on smell alone, I would think a lot of people would confuse the two, but this one isn’t quite as sweet as it’s long established namesake. That said, that doesn’t take anything away from the refreshment factor. You could very happily take a few cans round to a friend’s barbecue or down to the park and certainly not feel out of place.

It’s a very drinkable drink that works well quenching a thirst, so I’d recommend this as a refreshing pick me up, rather than a sipping drink to enjoy over a longer period of time such as an alt-gin or wine, but in any event I’d pick up a few cans before the summer ends and the product is (probably) withdrawn until next year.

If you enjoyed this article, please leave us some comments below and why not take a look at our full list of non alcoholic drink reviews.

Old Mout Berries and Cherries non alcoholic cider review

Old Mout Berries and Cherries non alcoholic cider review

Old Mout Berries and Cherries non alcoholic cider review

Price: £1.28 (supermarkets), around £3.00 in pubs and bars

Stockists: Most supermarkets and widely available at pubs

Recommended serve: Pre-mixed 500ml bottles

Alcohol: 0%

A very fruity alternative to alcohol ciders that is widely available in pubs and bars (at least here in the South East). It is rather a plain drink, and tastes a little like a fizzy blackcurrant squash, and I find that after a couple I’m bored of it and have to move onto something else.

It does a good job however of acting as a booze substitute in a public atmosphere. It’s served in a pint glass with the Old Mount branding etched into the glass meaning that, to the casual observer, it’s just like a “normal pint” meaning you can avoid having the “why aren’t you drinking tonight?” conversation with everyone you come across.

Certainly not a bad starter for the evening, which will keep you going for an hour or two before you end up reaching for a ‘short’ non alcoholic like an eins-zwei-zero  or an ultra low Gin and Tonic.

As it’s a nice cheap drink, it’s perhaps a good way to get started with mindful drinking. If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how you get along using the comments below, and if you’re still browsing why not look at our full list of non alcoholic drink reviews.

McGuigan De-Alcoholised Wine Review

McGuigan De-Alcoholised Wine Review

McGuigan De-Alcoholised Wine Review

Price: £5.00

Stockists: Marks and Spencer

Recommended serve: Over ice

Alcohol: 0.4%

I’ve always been something of a volume drinker. I prefer to have a latte over a cappuccino as there’s more to “slurp”, and I prefer to have wine over a short for the same reason. Along with Eins Zwei Zero  this is one of my favourite bottles to keep in the fridge, and I frequently plough through a bottle of each of an evening, and at a fiver it’s priced at a point where doing so won’t break the bank.

It’s lightly sparking, which isn’t usually my thing (I thought it had gone bad at first), but it works in this wine and is quite refreshing. Unlike other non alcoholic wines where the grapes are removed before fermentation takes place, this wine is allowed to ferment and then has the booze removed at a latter state, through distillation I presume. The result is that it’s possibly the most dry of the non alcoholic whites I’ve found on the supermarket shelves, and one of the most enjoyable therefore. It needs to be served ice cold, but careful leaving it in the freezer – as it has no alcohol content it’ll freeze as quickly as water.

If you give it a try, please let me know how you get along using the comments below!