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The Ultimate Guide To Low And Non-Alcoholic Drinks

By: Sheena Isokariari

low alcohol drink

There was a time when not drinking alcohol meant water, sugary soft drinks, something mixed with soda water or mocktails that just didn't quite hit the spot were the only options on the menu. Thankfully, those days are long gone (woo!). Not drinking alcohol has never been more exciting, thanks to all the no-and-low alcohol brands out there now offering drinks with all of the flavour and enjoyment of alcoholic drinks without alcohol, and we're here for it. Whether you're the designated driver, you're looking to reduce your alcohol or sugar intake, or if alcohol just isn't your thing, you deserve to enjoy delicious drinks too. That's why together with Adam Hussein, our experienced brand ambassador with an eye for mindful drinking, we're dropping everything you need to know about no-and-low alcohol drinks.

What does alcohol-free mean? 

In the UK, alcohol-free refers to a drink that contains a small percentage of alcohol, typically 0.5% ABV or less. Oh, ABV stands for Alcohol by Volume percentage, as in the percentage of the drink that contains alcohol, in case you were wondering. Another thing to note is that drinks with an ABV of under 0.5% in Europe and the USA are alcohol-free. 

So, is this the same as non-alcoholic drinks?

No, non-alcoholic drinks (also known as virgin cocktails) don't contain any alcohol at all. Basically, non-alcoholic drinks are cocktail-style drinks mixed with fruits, soda water, soft drinks, syrups, herbs and zero alcohol to create different flavours and twists on alcoholic cocktails like a Non-Alcoholic Mojito, (aka a No-jito!)

What’s the difference between a non-alcoholic and a low-alcoholic drink?

In the UK, low-alcohol drinks are those with an ABV of between 0.05% and 1.2%. In the US, low-alcohol drinks have an ABV of between 0.5% and 7.5%.

Here are two more words low-alcohol drinks go by...


De-alcoholised is used to describe a drink made similarly to a standard alcoholic beverage, but once the fermentation process is complete, the alcohol is extracted. These drinks should not be more than 0.5% ABV. 

Reduced alcohol

These drinks are much stronger than alcohol-free or low-alcohol drinks but with at least 30% less alcohol. This means the strength of reduced alcohol drinks is typically around halfway between alcohol-free and standard strength. 

How are alcohol-free drinks made?

Alcohol-free drinks are made the same way as alcoholic drinks. The difference is that alcohol-free drinks use special types of malt and yeast with non-fermentable sugars (the fermentation is what creates the alcohol). This is so the process can be controlled so that the amount of alcohol created never goes over 0.5% ABV.

Are non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks healthier?

The short answer is: it depends! If you are looking to reduce the amount of alcohol or alcohol-related calories in your diet, a non-alcoholic or low-alcohol drink is a great way to do this. They provide the same great taste with a lower ABV. However, it's good to be aware of what you're mixing your drink with, too, whether it’s no, low or alcoholic, as calories in any drink don't just come from alcohol. Soft drinks, fruit juices and syrups can be high in sugar and calories, so if you want to keep an eye on things, consider a slimline tonic water or diet soda as your mixer instead. Whatever you pick, remember to enjoy your drink responsibly and have some cheeky snacks on hand too!

No-and-low alcohol drinks can still be tasty

non-alcohol drink

Just because a drink is non-alcoholic or has a low alcohol content, it doesn't mean it has to compromise on taste. With so many brands like Seedlip stepping up to create the most delicious drinks bursting full of flavour that taste just as good as alcoholic drinks, the list of innovative no-and-low cocktails is endless. It's also worth noting that the level of the tastiness of your drinks depends on the quality of the ingredients. Mocktails made with lower-quality ingredients can taste dull and flat, which of course, you don't want. So aim for fresh, vibrant and flavourful ingredients whenever you can.

Get creative with glassware and garnishes

Whether you're sober-curious, cutting down on drinking on a weeknight, or just aren't a fan of alcohol, you deserve a drink that wows the senses. Like a low-alcohol cocktail or mocktail that your tastebuds will enjoy, and one that looks good in your hand. Cocktails are all about substance and style, so getting creative with your garnishes adds to the enjoyment because you always smell your drink before it hits your lips, which strongly affects how you taste it.

Another idea is to play around with syrups. Honey water is an amazing alternative to sugar syrup, as it brings more of a rich flavour and is something you probably already have in the cupboard. Use boiling water to loosen the honey so it mixes well in the glass. 

The appearance of your sip is also important. You can add things like edible flowers, decorative ice cubes, herbs and colourful fruits like pomegranate and pineapple to statement glassware to level up your cocktail. Just like alcoholic cocktails, most no-and-low cocktails can easily be mixed up in large batches by scaling up the recipe and mixing it in a punch bowl or pitcher, which means that you don't have to play bartender all night when hosting.

The future of no-and-low alcohol drinks

With new flavours and products constantly popping up, the future of no and low-alcohol drinks looks exciting! We predict flavours like tropical fruits, berries, citrus and herbs to crop up, and other innovative drinks offering complex flavour profiles and a craft-like experience. We also see functional beverages with options that provide added health benefits and wellness properties, and contain unique ingredients like adaptogens, probiotics and superfoods. Whether you're looking to cut back on alcohol or just try something new, there's never been a better time to explore the world of no-and-low alcohol drinks.

Delicious alcohol-free brands

Thanks to the citrus and juniper taste of Tanqueray 0.0%, the fresh taste of Seedlip spirits and the subtly sweet flavour of Gordon's Alcohol Free, there are now so many incredible no-and-low alcohol drinks options to choose from that 'not drinking' doesn't mean you're missing out on tasty drinks. We've rounded up a few of our favourites below if you're looking for great brands to try.


Seedlip is the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. It opened up new possibilities for more incredible alcohol-free drinks with distinct flavours and a delicious taste. If you enjoy spice-led spirits, try Seedlip Spice 94, or if herbal liqueurs are more your vibe, it's all about the Seedlip Garden 108. If citrus notes are more your thing, try the Seedlip Grove 42.
Recommended Seedlip cocktail: Seedlip Apple Highball
See recipe: Link to recipe 
Gordon's 0.0%

gordons 0.0

All the zest of Gordon's, just without the alcohol. Gordon's 0.0% is created with the same botanicals used in Gordon's London Dry Gin, which are then expertly blended to capture the true essence of Gordon's.

Recommended Gordon's cocktail: Gordon's 0.0% and Tonic
See recipe (link to recipe)
Tanqueray 0.0 %

tanqueray 0.0

If your tastebuds enjoy drinks with vanilla and an elegant floral finish, Tanqueray 0.0 % is the one for you. This delicious alcohol-free drink is created by distilling the same botanicals used in Tanqueray London Dry Gin. They're individually immersed in water, heated and then distilled before being expertly blended together to capture the essence of Tanqueray.
Recommended Tanqueray cocktail: Tanqueray 0.0 % and Tonic
See recipe (link to recipe)

Adam's top 3 alcohol-free cocktails 

We're all about crowd-pleasing, tasty no-and-low cocktails. From fresh and fruity to citrus-forward and crisp, try these 5 alcohol-free cocktail recipes that Adam, our experienced brand ambassador with an eye for mindful drinking, recommends for your next at-home event.

1. Garden Highball

Adam says: "This is a non-alcoholic take on a Tom Collins cocktail and should be a staple in your home. The elderflower cordial brightens up the citrus notes in the gin and is balanced by the touch of fresh lemon juice. Here the apple and soda water provide freshness and effervescence for you to enjoy this take on a classic cocktail."

garden highball


50 ml Tanqueray 0.0% 
50 ml Cloudy apple juice 
25 ml elderflower cordial 
10 ml Lemon juice 
Soda water
1/4 cucumber and mint spring for garnish


Chop your cucumber into a few long and thin discs.

Add 50 ml Tanqueray 0.0% to a shaker with 50 ml cloudy apple juice, 20 ml Elderflower cordial and 10 ml lemon juice.

Pop a couple of cucumber discs in there for added freshness.

Add ice to the shaker and give it a good old shake before straining it into a highball glass full of ice.

Garnish with a fresh cucumber disc and mint sprig.

Top the glass with a splash of soda for some effervescence.

2. Shirley Temple Float

Adam says: "It’s drinks like these that really allow non-alcoholic cocktails to thrive. This is where creativity meets indulgence and FUN! Crossing the threshold from drinks into food, this dessert-style drink will really add another layer to your dinner or will be a real eye-catcher at the bar."


60 ml orange juice
1 tablespoon grenadine
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
175 ml lemon-lime soda
2 maraschino cherries for garnish


Pour orange juice into the bottom of a soda glass.

Pour grenadine slowly down the side of the glass so it slides to the bottom.

Carefully spoon ice cream on top of orange juice and grenadine.

Fill the remainder of the glass with lemon-lime soda.

Garnish with cherries.

Serve immediately with a milkshake spoon and straw.

3. Alcohol Free Mojito

Adam says: ‘’I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this was one of the first non-alcoholic cocktails I served in my career. Almost without thinking, my automatic association was apple juice when it was ordered from me. This shows that many classic cocktails can be modified to be non-alcoholic because they have other elements to them. This is a personal favourite.”


40 ml Soda Water 
30 ml Apple Juice
20 ml Lime Juice
15 ml Elderflower Cordial
Crushed ice
Mint sprig and leaves
Lime wedges


Press down with a muddler on 6 mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass to extract the juices and flavour.

Using a jigger, measure 30ml of apple juice, 20ml lime juice and 15ml elderflower cordial into a tall glass.

Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir the drink with a bar spoon.

Top the drink with 40ml soda water.

Place a sprig of mint at an angle against the rim of the glass to garnish.

4. Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri 

Adam says: "It wouldn't be right without suggesting a blended non-alcoholic cocktail, and this one hits the spot. Fruity, bright, and fresh – what more do you need? Try different fruits like pineapple, watermelon or even passionfruit."

strawberry diaquiri


340 gm frozen strawberries
60 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
45 ml simple syrup
Lime wedge and sugar for the rim
Strawberries for garnish


To prepare rim, rub the rim of the glass with the lime wedge.

With the sugar on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the sugar to coat.

Put ice, strawberries, simple syrup, and lime juice in a blender and blend until desired consistency

After removing the pitcher from the blender, stir and combine any settled ingredients 

Pour into prepared glass. Garnish with strawberries

5. Gin Sour

Adam says: "Sours are in every bartender’s repertoire, whether you’re a home bartender or professional. Egg whites or aquafaba add depth and texture to your cocktails, so using these ingredients in a non-alcoholic serve can add to the feeling of your drinking experience. This take on a classic gin sour makes for a delicious and textured delight for you or your guests. Try adding some fresh berries to mix it up."


50 ml Gordon's 0.0% 
25 ml Fresh lemon juice 
Egg white or 20 ml aquafaba or Mrs Better's Bitters Miraculous Foamer for a vegan alternative
15 ml Simple syrup
Fresh lemon
A twisted lemon peel for garnish


Add 50 ml Gordon's 0.0% to your shaker along with 25 ml fresh lemon juice and 15ml simple syrup.

Add 1 egg white or 20 ml aquafaba Mrs Better's Bitters Miraculous Foamer for a vegan alternative.

Close your shaker and gently shake to activate the texture.

Open the shaker, add plenty of ice, and give it a hard shake.

Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Alcohol free and non-alcoholic drinks food pairings

Going booze-free doesn't mean your meal pairing has to be boring. When pairing your drink with food, you'll want your drink to either mirror or contrast the ingredients in your meal. For example, sparkling tonic mixed with the herbal Seedlip Garden 108 will contrast the heaviness of a beef stew, mirroring the herbs in the dish without getting overpowered. Citrussy cocktails mixed with tonics go well with salads and seafood dishes, especially shellfish like prawns and crab.
Let’s sum this up

No-and-low alcohol options are exciting! As we've covered, there's a difference between the terms, so checking the labels is always a good idea. Alcohol-free drinks contain a small amount of alcohol, so they're not suitable if you're looking to avoid alcohol altogether, and non-alcoholic spirits come with no alcohol, fewer calories and less sugar. With lots of innovative brands around, it's nice to have so many creative options on the menu other than water or a sugary soft drink that don't compromise on flavour and look pretty too. Let's toast to that!

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