If you thought you needed booze to have a great night out, think again. Title’s Carly and Lili went along to learn the glam way to stay dry…
With a sober lifestyle an increasingly popular choice for many, we were excited to find an alcohol free cocktail masterclass on our doorstep.
Sobriety is far more sexy and acceptable these days. So it makes sense that the hospitality market should adapt to cater for everyone. Sadly, it’s still quite common for sober people to only really have the choice of soft drinks. Orange juice? Fizzy drink? Can’t we have something better?!
Not everyone fancies a non-alcoholic beer when they’re accompanying their drinking friend to the pub or bar. Mixology have introduced the SoberStars Masterclass to educate and encourage people on their alcohol-free journey.
What’s it all about?
Bar connoisseurs Mixology Group, who have held many a magnificent cocktail masterclass over the years, have stylishly entered the alcohol-free market. We were lucky enough to visit one of their first ever alcohol-free masterclasses last week. Where we were presented with concoctions we didn’t think possible.
If the non-alcoholic G&T we were presented with upon arrival was anything to go by, we were in for an evening of treats.
The location (Mixology’s school in Hove) coupled with the company and atmosphere made for a truly enjoyable evening. However, the host of the evening – Myles Cunliffe – ensured entertainment levels were at a high.
His knowledgeable-but-not-arrogant demeanor coupled with his expertise and general good humour made for an educational and hilarious evening. We recommend Mixology to anyone and everyone who enjoys a beverage and is looking for a good time.
One of our favourite moments was early on in the evening while we were enjoying our welcome drink, which contained perfectly spherical ice cubes (can we say cubes if they’re round?!)
Another patron complimented Myles on the unique ice: “I love your ice shapes!”
Myles responded with quick wit and humour: “Thanks. Everyone loves my balls.” We were in hysterics before the event had fully started. As we always say, start as you mean to go on.
First of all, it’s important to note that we weren’t just drinking wines and beers created by existing alcoholic brands trying to cater for the sober. There’s a variety of drinks available now, including replicas of spirits we know and love to new unique flavours and ideas.
Our second drink of the night was a mimic pink gin, though decidedly more tasty. It tasted of everything we thought a pink gin would taste of originally: summer, berries, and sweetness. We then trialled a couple more gin imitations, all of which were full of flavour (and some tastier than the original!)
A fruity cocktail, some ‘neat’ tastings, and an entirely non-alcoholic Espresso Martini later, we were incredibly impressed by the variety of alcohol-free drinks now available. We could bore you with descriptions of the taste of each drink, but what we actually want to focus on is the element of choice and creativity.
Masterclass leader Myles Cunliffe really highlighted the important of choice when it comes to the success of the alcohol-free market. From a customer point of view, the ability to enjoy your night as much as your drunk friends is key. You don’t want to be stood around getting bloated by drinking nothing but an overpriced pint of coke.
From a business perspective, if you can offer your consumers a choice that enables them to enjoy their night, they’re going to keep coming back to your bar and spending their money there. The chances are you’ll be one of the few, if not the only, place that caters to their needs. So they’ll be more likely to return to you, as well as telling their friends about your products.
Every bar caters to alcohol-drinkers, meaning they can get what they want from anywhere. But only a select few places cater to the sober. By producing beverages for everyone, you’re ensuring both drinkers and non-drinkers alike can benefit from your services, which equals double the business for you.
The main difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (besides the alcohol volume, obviously) is the shelf life. Some of us have spirits in the cupboard that are older than our children, only coming out for special occasions or at Christmas.
Non-alcoholic substitutes have a stark difference in shelf life – three months, and they have to be kept in the fridge. This means they must be consumed relatively quickly, but as they don’t contain alcohol, there’s nothing to say you can’t enjoy a tipple every day if you want to.
You can’t just slam it on the shelf and come back to it at Christmas.
We also found that non-alcoholic drinks have much nicer tastes; while some brands try to incorporate the burning feeling you get when drinking spirits, some of them focus a lot on creating new and innovative flavours. Myles echoed this sentiment when speaking about Salcombe Gin: “What’s exciting is the tastes are their own. They don’t mimic original gins. Choice is what’s important.”
Myles’ top tips
- When making cocktails, don’t over-handle the product. Your ingredients need much less of a shake than their alcoholic counterparts, otherwise you’ll overdilute it.
- Work with ratios rather than recipes. For example, use the 2:1:1 method.
- Apple juice is a great filling agent in cocktails. It adds to the flavour without taking away from the taste. This is handy if you want to use half a measure instead of a double but are unsure how else to make up the ratios.
- There’s no need for egg whites – you can get a foaming solution to create the required texture for your cocktails.
Click here for more information about Mixology Group’s masterclasses
Photos: Lili Lowe