Venturing Beyond Alcohol: the Lo & No Cocktail

Venturing Beyond Alcohol: the Lo & No Cocktail

In recent years, the culinary landscape has witnessed a significant shift in drinking habits, marked notably by the remarkable rise in the popularity of Lo & No beverages i.e. Low alcohol and No alcohol drink also affectionately (or derisively) known as mocktails. Once an after-thought for designated drivers or non-drinkers, Lo & No cocktails have evolved into sophisticated beverages that cater to a diverse array of tastes and preferences - revolutionizing the way we perceive these drinks. 

The Cultural Shift Towards Mindful Consumption

In the middle east, we have long had demand for non-alcoholic drinks as a result of religious preferences. However, now, the world has joined this trend as a wider, younger audience has become increasingly conscious of their health and well-being, with moderation and mindful consumption at its core. Indeed, globally, there is a growing demand for products that offer both quality and substance without compromising on taste or experience. The unspoken social stigma of the west: "what’s wrong? and why aren’t they drinking?" is becoming a thing of the past, with the growing acceptance and understanding of diverse drinking preferences. 

As monthly challenges like Dry January and Sober October began to rise in prominence in the 2000s, until recently alternatives were still limited to kids drinks like Shirley Temples or unbalanced juice drinks like the “Virgin” Bloody Mary. But gone are these days when non-alcoholic drinks are limited to club soda, uninspired sugary fruit juices or sodas. The Lo & No movement represents a shift in cocktail culture, one that celebrates inclusivity, moderation, and mindfulness. With creative combinations of flavors and ingredients, Lo & No cocktails have emerged as the perfect solution, appealing to a diverse audience seeking memorable experiences to accompany a night out or a refined meal.

Salcombe New London Light Gin 0%: Redefining the Non-Alcoholic Experience

At the forefront of the Lo & No movement is Salcombe New London Light Gin 0%, a brand that is redefining the boundaries of non-alcoholic spirits. Crafted with precision and infused with botanicals, Salcombe offers a sophisticated alternative for those seeking a refined drinking experience without the alcohol content. New London Light is crafted by distilling a combination of rich Macedonian juniper berries, zesty ginger and warm habanero capsicum to create a full-bodied base spirit. This is then blended with botanical distillates and extracts from a further 15 carefully selected botanicals including orange, sage, cardamom, cascarilla bark and lemongrass, each perfectly complementing each other to provide a complex and layered spectrum of flavor. Even though it is often mixed with tonic for a zero ABV (alcohol by volume) G&T, at Dara Dining, we also use Salcombe New London Light 0.0% to create the Negronito; a low alcohol version of the Negroni with less than half the alcohol (and the calories) in the classical Negroni.

Shrubs and Bitters: Crafting Complexity Without Spirits

Central to the ability to craft complexity in Lo & No drinks are the infusion of shrubs and bitters, two ingredients that mixologists use to add depth, complexity, and a touch of sophistication to these beverages. Shrubs, which contain zero alcohol, consist of vinegar, fruit, sugar, and botanical infusions that contribute a tangy and refreshing element, while a few drops of bitters (which contain some alcohol), with their powerful aromatic and nuanced profiles, can elevate any drink to new heights of flavor complexity with a very small amount. Each, or even combined, provides nuance and complexity to replace spirits and a sensory experience that rivals that of their classical cocktails. 

At Dara Dining by Sara Aqel, as with our food, we continue to explore new flavors and experiences in our cocktail program including Lo & No cocktails, to offer refreshing alternatives for those seeking memorable moments with less or no alcohol. Here is a glimpse at some of our Lo & No Cocktails

  • Negronito (18% abv)

salcombe first light 0.0 % gin, campari & vermouth

  • Nordic G&T (0% abv)

salcombe midnight sun 0.0 % gin & tonic

  • Blackberry Spritz (0 % abv)                            

18.21 blackberry peppercorn shrub, grapefruit juice & Salcombe First Light 0.0 % Gin

  • Lumi & Mint (0 % abv)                            

House-made basra lumi syrup, mint, lemon juice & soda

  • Cardamom Cider (0 % abv)                            
18.21 Cardamom Apple Shrub, orange juice & soda