Alcohol free -- trendy?

I’ve tried many of the world’s great wines…spent too much money acquiring some!..learned cocktail craft…enjoyed beers of the world…

But let’s see I’ve not had any alcohol in about 5 months, and hardly any in the past 18 months. My wife’s on a medication that is incompatible with alcohol, and she had to give it up so I joined her out of solidarity. I never drink in her presence, and in these past 5 months I’ve been out with other friends who are drinking but just have not wanted to anyway.

(I’ve always had a healthy relationship with alcohol. I enjoy it, but always know when I’ve had enough. But that may be after the point at which it’s safe to drive, and thus we had started using Uber to go out to dinner when we were drinking.)

We go out to dinner and look around, and more and more we notice tables, like ours, with sparkling water only. Not a TON, but definitely some! Maybe it’s trending?? I noticed that the BBC has been addressing this a little lately too.

My wife and I loved the wine collection, and it’s harder on her than me. But I don’t see us ever going back to it. (Going to sell it off with the help of the local fine wine store.) Maybe I’ll pay for a 552 with some of the proceeds :slight_smile:


A teetotaller here too Bart. There’s definitely a trend away from alcohol, and I do notice it’s the youngsters that are increasingly rejecting the drink culture. It amazes me how many folk’s lives revolve around alcohol, something you’re not really aware of if you’re a drinker yourself.

There’s an increasingly large and more interesting range of non-alcoholic drinks becoming available, some of them really nice, and we no longer have to put up with those awful sweet beverages that at one stage was the only thing you could drink in pub or restaurant as an alternative to beer or wine.

Water - Liquid Death

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Care to make any recommendations? My wife has pretty much stopped drinking, and often struggles to find an alternative that she really likes.

I’d also be interested in any non alcoholic drinks that are a pleasure to drink. I am no longer very interested in getting drunk but nothing hits the spot like a good real ale, single malt or brandy.

If anyone can suggest a replacement for these I’d be very happy. Right now for me it’s either booze, tea or tap water and I do like to hang out in pubs. I’ve tried non alcoholic beers and mocktails but they all taste crap and are way inferior to tap water.

I’ll have a non-alcoholic beer (one only) if others are drinking and I feel like it, but yes they pretty awful. In my case, having imbibed great cocktails for many years, I think generally I’d rather just go without. The exception would be if there was a bartender who was really creative; I’d be happy to try something if it’s somewhat compelling taste-wise.

A few years ago I challenged myself to go 100 days without alcohol. During the first month it was routine that was hard to break, such as coming home on a Friday night and opening a bottle of red. When I eventually drank again my body reacted badly and realised I had been drinking having had less than half a glass of wine. Several hours later my body felt like I had been poisoned and have not drunk too much since. Now I only drink at weekends and not to excess. Alcohol also has a significant impact on sleep and do not sleep well after even one glass of wine now. Funniest moment of the 100 days was about day 95 when I was stopped by the Police on a random campaign and asked how long since my last drink. The officer did not know what to say when I answered that it was 95 days :grinning:


So I like a good tonic water (like Fever Tree) with angostura bitters. The bitters have alcohol in but you use such a small amount it’s a near enough alcohol free drink.



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A very good bartender taught me the difference between “comestible” bitters (like Angostura) and “non-comestible” bitters (like Fernet, Campari).

“One will make you sick before it makes you drunk, the other will make you drunk before it makes you sick.”


One of my first concerns was whether I’d be able to fall asleep without having consumed half a bottle of wine. No problem!

A company called Seedlip have started making alcohol free gin [sic] and other similar things. I have to admit that both Mrs Ebor and I found the free sample we were given tasted utterly vile, but I salute them making the effort and, of course, it might be more to your taste.

A teetotal work colleague who came over from Switzerland for a year and asked for some British alcohol free ideas. She loved Vimto but found Dandelion & Burdock a bit too far for her taste.

I forget its name but there is still one remaining Temperance Bar in the North-West of England that produces its own drinks. I’ve had a few as presents and they’ve been lovely.

Personally, my drink of choice during my annual Lenten Fast is what a Naval Steward of my acquaintance called Gunner, though I’ve also known it go by the less impressive monicker Rock Shandy:

Juice of 1 lime (lime cordial will suffice in absolute extremis)
A generous splashing of Angostura Bitters (concurring totally with the description above)
Top up with ginger beer


It may not seem like it at the time, but those Magico’s actually sound better without the wine!

The young turning away from alcohol is not a huge trend other than amongst specific demographics. Noticeably many are not turning to alcohol free but instead are turning to drugs like cocaine on the basis that they are simply cheaper. If you think fake austerity is a good thing then it’s always as well to be familiar with the consequences!

Back on topic it’s worth understanding the following albeit that I have crossed swords with this gent online and he demonstrated himself to be something of an idiot in other respects. Interesting business though.

FWIW I drink socially but rarely go above 2 pints and rarely drink more than 1 night per week or 2 weeks. There’s been some excellent writing recently on how the definition of an alcoholic has been removed from medicine and largely defined by cultural norms to the detriment of our general health and indeed lifespan. Worth digging out as it’s pretty frightening for most people who claim they drink minimally and within limits or only “socially”. Multiple nights out with drinkers where you have just the 1 or none at all can also be enlightening.

Finally, I profoundly disagree with the idea that non-alcoholic beer tastes awful. There’s loads around now which are terrific. I’m also partial to gluten free beer which is a joy I can strongly recommend.

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Maybe a bit of weed a ginger ale and some cookies!


I’ve never had a non-alcoholic beer that tasted other than totally artificial. I’d love to try one that was actually nice. I see some lower strength beers (at or around 2%) are also becoming popular but have not tried any.

I drink very little because alcohol even in small amounts ruins my sleep. I’ll enjoy an occasional beer or glass of single malt but suffer the consequences afterwards. Maybe it would get better with practice.

Wine is a totally closed book to me. I end up cooking with it or giving it away. Rod, your job is safe!

I’m not convinced that many youngsters are turning to cocaine in preference to alcohol.The ones I encounter seem to be rather more wary of such things, and certainly alcohol, and getting drunk, is regarded as decidedly uncool by most.

I do agree, if you like beer then nowadays there are some really nice alcohol-free varieties around. Beck’s Blue is excellent, with no unpleasant aftertaste, and if you like real ale, Adnam’s Ghost Ship is pretty good too. The likes of Barbican and other horrors are hopefully in the past.

We rather like the Seedlip drinks. I think the mistake they made was to initially promote it as a gin substitute. It tastes nothing like gin, but with some ice, tonic and a slice, it makes a very nice drink. Shame it’s so expensive though!

It is far easier to obtain cocaine than alcohol if you are under-age, and it costs about the same. There are clearly various trends and ‘tribes’ but I speak to a fair number of youngsters who’d use cannabis (even easier to obtain) rather than alcohol, and often use cocaine on an occasional basis.

Many are very well informed, which is not the same as being wary or reluctant.

Sorry, bit off topic.

I thought Becks Blue was foul BTW


As I said, there’s a demographic split. Young people with money use alcohol and/or drugs. Young people without money use drugs. I’m not here to convince anybody. I’ve worked on the front line of such things for 33 years and seen the change recognised by people I work with in local DAAT teams. Far too many nonsense myths around drugs. Most smack addicts are fully functioning and in decent employment for example but the media can’t sell the story that people like them are the problem.

Cost is a huge driver when it comes to a choice between alcohol or coke.


I guess you must know a different lot of young people than me.

Beck’s Blue “Foul”? Maybe you mean you don’t like it.


Well as parent to three, one in his twenties, engaged, homeowner and my two school aged teens I have noticed significant lines of demarcation.

My eldest has a very wide circle of friends and social drinking is a thing. When he was younger he had two nights where he came home absolutely smashed and has since been on more than one Stag weekend during which I suspect he was not tea total… But that’s about it for excess it seems, socially it’s not considered a good thing to get drunk regularly but the lads do have some beers and the girls like their vino.

The younger generation and their friends however, as yet, see very little point in drinking, it is not considered cool, and seems they would rather/intend to spend the money on travel.

Interestingly none of mine smoke or vape (neither do we) or consider in any way that to be a good thing, and I can only remember one smoker in the older tribe. Drugs don’t seem to feature at all anywhere (again not something that ever interested us), at least not socially and I can’t remember anyone talking about them.

One of our neighbours have three grown up kids however, all in a completely different social circle around here. All live at home still, all smoke, all drink, all do at least smoke mj. (Parents drink at weekends only). Their behaviour and regard for others (and I guess themselves) is noticeably different too and at odds with others.

I don’t know have any friends or neighbours of my generation who don’t drink at all.