Friday 27 August 2021

Non-alcoholic spirits: Strykk Not G*n review

Sunny days are invariably linked in my mind with cocktails - probably as they remind me of beach holidays from two decades ago when my main requirement for a holiday was sun, a hotel pool and a drink with a little umbrella!

Back then, the cocktails were usually strong - in Greece I remember them being heavy on the spirit, light on the mixer - and I would usually go for something like sex on the beach or pina colada.

I still prefer my cocktails sweet over sour but these days as I’m either more discerning or just can’t cope with hangovers any more - I’d rather have one or two expertly crafted cocktails served in a martini glass where the spirit stands out and the predominant taste isn’t grenadine.

But as a busy mum and someone who doesn’t get to go out much at all, sometimes I want a delicious drink to enjoy in my garden in the evening that isn’t actually alcohol but still feels like the experience of sipping a cocktail from a martini glass.

I think this desire for a sophisticated cocktail experience at home - but without the alcohol - is what has led to the rise of alcohol free spirits. Seedlip say they created the first range of distilled non-alcoholic spirits, blending a range of botanicals to create three flavours - grove, garden and spice. Other companies have followed in their footsteps and I came across Strykk, which makes what it calls 'proper' non-alcoholic alternatives, like Not G*n which is a botanicals and juniper based alternative to gin, Not R*m (rum alternative) and Not V*dka - a vodka alternative which has recently been followed by a vanilla vodka alternative which I really rate.

We had a party for a family birthday recently and as there were almost entirely non-drinkers (either because they don't drink anyway or they were driving) I made a big pitcher of punch - a mixture of cloudy apple juice, elderflower cordial and sparkling water (you can also use soda water). It's nice with a few sprigs of mint added too. It tasted even better with a little Not G*n added!

Another drink I had considered making but didn't in the end was a rhubarb sour with Not G*n, rhubarb syrup and lemon juice, topped up with soda water.

I feel like there are so many new possibilities open with a grown up non-alcoholic alternative to spirits and I have already bought the vanilla vodka alternative to add to my gin - or not gin rather. Have you tried any non-alcoholic spirits and which ones do you recommend?