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SPECIAL REPORTS

Same flavour, texture and appearance sans alcohol
Wednesday, 28 April, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ron Ramirez
Non-alcoholic beverages industry is an essential part of India’s economy, and it will always be at the forefront of innovation and discovery. A separate area of non-alcoholic beverages which is focussed on health and wellness is due to Covid-19 and has come to light to promote healthier consumption and help fight the pandemic by boosting the immune system. 

Non-alcoholic trends are highly on demand specially in South East Asia, almost 70% of consumers do not drink alcohol. More and more fresh juice, tea, coffee and traditional wine making without alcohol are being developed to be liberated from alcohol.

Comparing non-alcoholic industry to the alcoholic one has always been the fastest trend and it’s always run by mixologists who are focussed on non-alcoholic drinks. In Asia, the non-alcoholic beverages are highly profitable as it caters to all ages specially with under age generation. Alcohol-free cocktails are now the biggest trend. There are now spirits being developed without alcohol content that imitates flavour, texture and appearance that can be enjoyed even without the alcohol. The cocktail culture with no alcohol is a good way to address art of mixology without getting drunk or suffering the consequences of a hangover the following morning.

Non-alcoholic drinks are on the peak, and mixologists are up for the task of mixing up delicious options to the standard non-alcoholic beverages. A choice of iced tea and lemonade in addition to soft drinks should no longer be the exclusive options, as consumers are proceeding further down the road of craft beverages. 

Consumers are loving all things sour, so establishments have to start getting creative with lemon and lime in non-alcoholic drinks. It isn’t anything new but many establishments rely a bit too heavily on the affordability and convenience of lemonade out of the dispenser or gun. 

Establishments should experiment with what makes sense, and consider things like Thai basil and peppercorn to make lemonade more interesting. Chiles, spices, or herbs can take a typical non-alcoholic drink and make it something memorable. 

To make it even more refreshing, get some carbonation into the drink to create mocktails. Once the base is set, muddling berries, ginger, citrus, and then garnishing with herbs creates a drink consumers will enjoy without the buzz.

Kombucha provides a sour punch to non-alcoholic beverages but use caution with as some brands have trace amounts of alcohol. Shrubs are an option to create all kinds of flavour combinations and can offer a delightful array of colours. Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, can be made at home and then stored for months at a time. Find recipes for shrubs online and pay close attention to the sterilisation process when you soak your fruit in the vinegar and then again after you boil the vinegar with the sugar.

(The author is a mixologist at The Finch - Chandigarh)
 
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