Those avoiding alcohol can finally enjoy more interesting drinks, as non-alcoholic spirits hit the Australian market. The latest of these are Lyre’s ready-to-drink summer cocktails. Here’s our review.
As a lifelong non-drinker, I’ve had more than a lifetime’s worth of sickly orange juice, coke or tapwater as the “beverage options”. And that’s if you’re lucky enough that someone has an open carton of juice in their fridge. On the rare occasions where there’s a special drink for the non-drinkers – typically sparkling grape juice – it’s usually polished off by the regular booze drinkers. In the average Australian pub, a lemon, lime & bitters is about as exotic as it gets.
But in these happily progressive and health-focused times, there’s a burgeoning new market in non-alcoholic alcohol-style drinks. One of the latest of these is Lyre’s, who make “lovingly crafted non-alcoholic spirits”. According to Lyre’s, 22% of adult Australians choose not to drink at all. Here at Daily Addict we’ve been sampling some of their brand new ready-to-drink range: classic Gin & Tonic, Amalfi Spritz and Classico, a sparkling Prosecco.
All come in convenient, slim-line cans and are alcohol-free. They’re aimed at being enjoyed on the beach, in the park, on a boat or “wherever the summer adventure takes you”, according to Lyre’s Co-Founder & CEO Mark Livings.
So what are they like? As a non-drinker it’s hard for me to compare to the alcoholic originals, so I’ve roped in a drinking friend to give his view alongside mine.
First up: classic G&T
“Notes of juniper, citrus and tonic” are promised here, and there’s certainly a definite aromatic lemony note. It’s much lighter than a straight glass of tonic water (another popular option for us non-drinkers) and there’s a distinctly bitter note, which isn’t something we usually get in the average mocktail. It’s a good bitterness. I’d definitely be up for a glass of this in a party or bar.
Friend’s view: he’s not a big G&T drinker but as far as he could recall, the taste was very similar to a regular G&T. He found it “refreshing… it had a bite to it”.
Next off the block: Amalfi Spritz
“Orange, peach and elderflower” feature as flavours in this concoction, which combines pays homage to the classic Aperol Spritz. I haven’t tried Aperol (an Italian bitter apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona) but for me there’s a deliciously floral, fragrant note, lots of orange, and on first taste, shandy. (There’s a soft-drink version of shandy they sell in the UK). That fades away the more I drink it, to be replaced with a more fruity experience with a bitter kick. Either way it’s lovely. The colour is also beautiful: a clear, light reddish-orange. Mediterranean sunset in a glass.
Friend’s view: he can’t recall having had Aperol but definitely tastes orange in this: “a strangely kumquatty taste”. It probably wouldn’t be his tipple of choice but he’d knock a glass back if handed one at a barbecue.
Last in the trilogy: Classico
“Pear, peach and red apple” characterise this non-alcoholic take on Prosecco. Prosecco has been an absolute craze in Europe the past few years, and has finally filtered over to Australia, with Prosecco flavoured foodstuffs (even potato crisps), candles and toiletries on the supermarket shelves this Christmas. So I’m keen to try it. The aroma of pear is very distinct as I raise the glass and there’s a cool taste of pear drops and apple. A couple more sips and I’m getting peach too. It’s quite lemony. This is the driest of the three but also the most mellow, a little bit reminiscent of a non-sweetened kombucha.
Friend’s view: he finds it sweeter than I do and “more like a punchier Riesling or Chardonnay than a milder dry white such as a Sauvignon Blanc”. He finds it pleasant and would drink it at a picnic if he were off the regular booze.
Lyre’s quest is to “make the impossible possible – giving the freedom to drink your drink, your way”. They’ve definitely made three very drinkable drinks that will be deliciously refreshing options in Australia this summer.