EXPERTLY CRAFTED ALCOHOL-FREE DRINKS

When it comes to brewing and distilling, we have the topics of technique, and history. Both of these contribute a great deal to how we perceive the beverages we tend toward. The natural processes of both brewing and distilling have created rich flavors full of unique qualities. These qualities, until recently, have only existed in their respective categories. A rich flavor of Oak, is not something you would say about many beverages other than wines or whiskies.  Rich and deep, to those whose pallets are less accustomed to these flavors, it could be off-putting. However, to those who embrace the delicate nature of crafted beverages, the nuances can not only be detected but embraced as part of the whole. This is similar to those who enjoy ripe cheeses, if you step away from the experience before you can enjoy it, you’ll never know what can be gained.

The problem with expertly crafting Alcohol-free beverages comes because of the exact nature of a beverage that has been distilled or brewed. The delicate nuance that alcoholic beverages have been experimenting with for millennia have become part of the fabric of drinking culture. Like coffee before the push to become part of the cultural identity, it was something more people drank more than enjoyed. Today with coffee, cheese, spirits, other things nuance, and depth are being sought out.

Nuance, balance and depth are great and to seeking out varied flavor profiles needs to be championed.  There is a downside to all of this, however. As we continue to advance as a species we are beginning to step away from alcohol, and all its trappings. We are evolving but, in doing that we do not have to drop all that we’ve learned about flavor and enjoying a beverage.

Fake alcohols or spirit alternatives as have been produced by ArKay since 2011, are finally getting an opportunity to embed into the cultural fabric. As people continue to step away from alcohol and look to replace their cocktail they are finding an option in ArKay. The oldest Alcohol Alternative company on the market, ArKay is the gold Standard in flavor and experience. Making their newest formula, which has been being bottled for over 2 months now, is by far the new gold standard.

Having honed their craft of mimicking the nuance of great alcohols like, Gin, Vodka, Bourbon, and others, ArKay uses the olfactory senses of one of the greatest perfumers in the world Reynald Grattagliano to find the depth and nuance of anything from barrel aged whiskies to triple distilled vodka and on each count he is not only finding the flavor he is creating the options that more people are looking for every day.

Alternative Alcohol-Free Cocktail recipe by Arkay 

 
  • 1½ oz. Arkay version of Alcohol Free Vodka Flavored drink

  • ½ oz. Arkay version of Alcohol Free Blue Curacao Flavored drink

  • 1 oz. Sweet Sour Mix

  • Splash of Lemon Lime Soda

  • Garnish Lemon Wedges

SOME ALCOHOL IS NOT THE SAME AS NO ALCOHOL AND YOUR BODY KNOWS

Alcohol is one of those things. It is persistent in our culture and almost a foregone conclusion that we will be having some soon. This age-old identity with alcohol has been challenged by a number of individuals and institutions as of late. The resistance against mommy wine culture and daddy beer culture is just about won. This should be celebrated, especially as we are leaning the effect alcohol has on the body and mind. Luckily our options have been growing. 

Over the past couple of years increasing numbers of alcohol-free spirits hit the shelves. Not all of these are equally alcohol free, no matter the legal claim that is being made. Legally, in the United States, and other countries as well, any product with 0.5%ABV can legally claim it is alcohol free. This designation is due to the idea that you cannot get “drunk” on a product with so little alcohol. It is also the amount of alcohol you may find is fermented foods, such as kombucha. The problem remains though, are there benefits to ingesting this amount of alcohol? When it comes to kombucha, or other fermented foods and beverages, that is a yes. Due to the bacteria benefits that you receive from the product the body is being aided and the alcohol, like sugar in fruit, can be seen as “good.”

The problem we face with Alcohol Free products that are not alcohol free is that the same argument cannot always be applied. Without the beneficial aspects of fermented foods, beverages that have a 0.5%ABV only weaken the body, with no gains. The ability to get drunk on a product is not the point of the label “Alcohol-Free.”

When you’re looking for true alcohol alternatives, don’t settle for those that only weaken your system. Great tasting options that will give your 0 Proof Cocktails the kick and burn you’re looking for are out there, and with absolutely no alcohol. ArKay has been producing Alcohol Free Options since 2011 and today their products sell around the world to the most demanding mixologists.

When choosing to have an alcohol free beverage you are going to want to make sure it is indeed alcohol free. There is no reason to compromise your health for a loophole in labeling.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ADULT DRINK CATEGORY AND YOUR BODY KNOWS

Adult drinks have forever been associated with alcohol. We also have coffee but that, in my experience, has never been labeled an “adult drink.” As we evolve, we are acknowledging that everyone does and sees things differently. I want to emphasize that this, the acknowledging that people are and need different things, is evolution. The thoughts, actions, and approaches we have today, are so far outside of the box that our grandparents lived (or are living) in, it was not possible for them to even imagine the acceptance of others that we are approaching today. Sure, there is still violence and a long hard road ahead to get everyone the rights, and respect, we each deserve, but we are on track for doing that.

Going back to the adult drink moniker, when I was a child, I recalled an elder gentleman in my life telling me they would order milk in a bar. To me I heard, a man I respect orders a child’s drink, milk, at a place where adults drink adult drinks. I heard stories of his standing up to others and, his friends backing him up, when he was ridiculed. To me this was obviously something outside of the ordinary. This man was also a drinker, and the story may well have been a lie, but either way, it stuck with me.

Throughout my life I have had a certain attraction to doing the unexpected, similar to ordering a milk in a bar, although that was not something I did. Another personal item connecting this article, is my 19+ years in recovery. So, I was an alcoholic, and I abused illicit drugs when I was younger, but for the last 19+ years I have not indulged in either of those things. As I entered and navigated my sobriety and recovery I was definitely going against the popular current. I stopped drinking before we had the myriad of flavored vodkas we see today and back when the popular Belvedere Vodka was still making its way in the market (you may notice that I drank Vodka, lol). I was watching as the whole world embraced drinking and the options in the market expanded.

I was out there fighting the good fight, for my own survival, but a good fight, nonetheless. I eventually would have to face the inevitable “Oh, well, we have water, juice and soda” and that was if I were lucky. The thing is, is that those were literally the only options. Sure, sodas come in all varieties, but they are not developed for an adult’s palate. These options, sans the water, had been designed for children on the whole. Because this was the case if you wanted anything that had depth, richness, bitter tones, or flavors that adults can enjoy, you had little choice than to turn toward alcohol.

Today that is changing quickly. Since 2011 an American company ArKay Beverages has been making alcohol alternatives. These beverages hold the flavor of their alcoholic counterparts and even recreates the heat of drinking alcohol, which is part of the experience. And experience is a big part of engaging in a beverage of any kind. Sure, when we were 21 we may just want to get drunk and not have any appreciation for the flavor of the alcohol we are drinking. This happens because someone that is 21, although legally an adult, is still developing. For some it isn’t until 28 that our bitter tastes and depth of flavor become something we want to engage.

Now we go back to the idea that evolution is at the core of this. Let’s examine the timeline…

  • 40+ years ago, someone orders milk in a bar and is ridiculed for having done so.
  • 20 years ago those who weren’t drinking would get offered the drinks of children without having to stand up to the same ridicule.
  • 10 years ago, Reynald Grattagliano, founder of ArKay Beverages, starts on a mission to create a market for Alcohol Free beverage options for the adult palate 
  • Today we accept people’s option to not drink on a much broader scale and Zero Proof cocktails are now available at just about any bar you walk into

Yes, alcohol has been a part of our culture for a very long time. That, like our broadening acceptance for people who are different than us, will take time to change. Change, however, is the only constant and as this article shows, the last 40 years has seen quite a jump in the evolution of how much we can embrace that change.