What to drink when you’re not drinking: 10 of the best soft drinks

From booze-free cocktails to posh soft seltzers and fermented tea, here's a round-up of the tastiest alcohol-free tipples

1w ago

Sometimes, you just don’t want an alcoholic drink. Whether you’re doing Dry January, having a night off, never drink booze, you’re designated driver for the night, or any number of other reasons – it certainly doesn’t need justifying! – the likelihood is, you’d still like something tasty to drink. In the past, the only real alternatives to alcohol were Coke, lemonade or maybe orange juice if you were lucky. But today, there are hundreds of soft/no/low alcohol drinks out there.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated cocktail dupe, or a premium soft drink that will still give you the experience of drinking something a bit more special, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a refreshing and sober dip into the world of the best soft drinks.

Belvoir everything – The super refreshing soft one

I’m a big fan of Belvoir – their elderflower cordial with fizzy water is always a winner when you don’t want a drink-drink, but want something tasty and refreshing. On top of that, they’ve recently brought out four new ‘ready to drinks’: 250ml cans of lightly sparkling elderflower, raspberry lemonade, ginger beer and pink lady apple. They'll be perfect for the socially-distanced picnics we may be allowed to go on in summer!

If you want to go even further with your non-boozing, you could try Belvoir's alcohol-free passionfruit martini, juniper & tonic, mulled winter punch, spiced ginger punch, sparkling ginger & lime, strawberry, lime & mint cordial – or just a classic fiery ginger beer.

Savyll – The classic cocktail alternative one

The Savyll Beverage Company was founded on the belief that everyone deserves classic alternatives to alcohol when choosing not to drink. If you want to go soft, but stay away from the ‘usual’ choices, Savyll is your one. These feel ‘premium’, and wouldn’t be remotely out of place if your friends are still on the hard stuff, even if that's a fancy cocktail. Each is ready-to-drink, alcohol-free, natural, vegan, gluten-free and low sugar. Phew. They are currently available in six flavours: Mojito, Bellini, Gin & Tonic, Old Cuban, Spiced Rum & Cola, and Moscow Mule.

Kombucha – the fermented one

I love kombucha, and it’s an excellent healthy alternative to alcohol. If you’re new to the world of fermented tea, there’s plenty more info here on what on earth Kombucha is...

Some of my favourites include:

Jarr kombucha – looks chic, tastes great. Their passionfruit flavour is an absolute winner.

Genie kombucha – Vegan, with no added sugar, sweeteners or other nasty bits. The dry apple flavour is dreamy.

No.1 – Ah, No.1 was launched by rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson. The focus of No.1 is very much on wellbeing, but the drinks taste great as well.

Equinox - Equinox kombuchas are brewed from Chun-Mee Green Tea and packed with vitamins, antioxidants and good bacteria. My go-to is the zesty pink grapefruit & guava.

Trip CBD – The CBD one

There were so many studies saying CBD infused drinks and food and beauty products would be everywhere in 2020 and 2021. While there have been a lot of launches, it has still remained relatively underground. Some of the ones I’ve tried have been pretty awful, but Trip stands out as a really great drink and boozy alternative.

Available in three flavours – elderflower & mint, peach ginger, and lemon basil – each is refreshing, delicious and doesn’t have that strange fake taste some no added sugar drinks have. Whether the CBD aspect worked, I’m not sure, but the flavours are excellent and the packaging is spot on.

Luscombe – The Devonshire Doomsday book one

If you like your soft drinks with a bit of history, the Luscombe estate has been a hive of farming activity since 1087, with the farm making an appearance in the Doomsday book. Luscombe drinks have continued the estate’s story, crafting and perfecting their drinks on the farm since 1975. The Devon-based company now has a sizeable range, with the Sicilian Lemonade, Damascene Rose Bubbly and Mostly Devon Apple Juice my personal faves, and all excellent alternatives to booze.

Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger – The 'historical for Hogg' one

Weirdly, I remember the first time I ever tried Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger. I was on a school history trip to a historical village, and the village shop sold bottles of it. That must have been around 18 years ago? Strange what you remember. Anyway, I’ve been drinking it since and I still love it, although I have learned you need to very GENTLY move the bits around, not shake it like a polaroid picture and promptly cover everyone in a mile radius. 'Jigger' is an old English term for a good measure, which is pretty accurate. If you’re not a lover of delicious orange drinks, the Pink Ginger made with aromatic ginger root is fresh, but still packs a punch.

Daylesford sparkling apple and bilberry juice – The celebratory one

In the mood for celebrating something, but off the booze? The wonderful Daylesford in the Cotswolds has the answer. Its sparkling apple and bilberry juice certainly looks the part in a Champagne bottle, It’s a bit sweet, a bit fizzy, and a bit delicious. Grown in organic orchards near Nantes in north-west France, the fruits are ripened on the trees and bushes for the fullest flavour and harvested using traditional methods.

Punchy soft drinks – The bitter one

A little bitter about things? Or just happen to like Campari and Aperol? Punchy Blood Orange is a great alternative for you. You get a brilliant balance of blood orange, bitterness and a hint of sweetness. If you like things a little sweeter, there’s also peach, ginger & chai, and cucumber, yuzu & rosemary.

Something & Nothing seltzers – The soft seltzer one

There may be a whole host of ‘hard seltzers’ out there in the world now, but there’s still room for the non-boozy seltzer. Let’s hear it for Something & Nothing, The company has three flavours: Yuzu, Cucumber and Hibiscus & Rose, which are all super refreshing, actually taste of something (unlike a lot of other seltzers) and will seriously quench your thirst. Each one only contains natural ingredients – extracts, juices, botanicals, flavourings – and fizzy water. Done.

Gunna craft soft drinks – The fun one

Gunna launched back in 2017, with a mission to become an antidote to sugar-packed, flavourless fizzy drinks. Last year they were apparently the fastest-growing soft drink in the UK! They come in four flavours: lemonade & mint, cola & ginger, raspberry & lemon and ginger lemonade, and some pretty funky packaging to boot. The ginger lemonade gets my vote, combining the best bits of ginger beer and lemonade. Yum.

What's your favourite soft drink?

Which do you like the sound of best from my list?

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Comments (17)

  • Great roundup!! Need to try a few of these 😍.

      7 days ago
  • Fentmans has always been the winner in my house, especially rose lemonade or dandelion and burdock. I've never heard of Luscombe, I'll have to check it out. It appeals to the history nerd within me. 😃

      7 days ago
    • They're fab aren't they? And you definitely should check out Luscombe! I think the thing I like about all these, are that they still feel 'special' when you're not drinking booze : )!

        7 days ago
  • wow. just that one word. thank you soooooo much!

      6 days ago
  • Great round up!

      7 days ago
  • I can see these being awesome...... Mixers hahahaha

    In all seriousness though, I'm a big fan of kombucha. I almost always have a bottle or two in my fridge. But, my non-boozy drink of choice is always water.

      7 days ago
    • Gahhh I know. I may have popped a little measure of gin into some of these before (and some of them you can actually buy boozed up, like the Punch Drinks!).

      Isn't kombucha the best?! I really need to try to make my own, but worried it'll never be...

      Read more
        7 days ago
    • It is! I would love to learn to make my own as well. No worries about being as good as the "pros". Homemade is ALWAYS best.

      I just know that I'd make my own, then still by premade out of convenience. Hahaha

        7 days ago