With the boat hire market already beginning to ban the use of alcohol afloat, non-alcoholic alternatives may increasingly need to be the ‘go-to’ picnic hamper choice for boaters. Erika Doyle, founder and CEO of Drink Dry, talks to HMS about her top drink choices and the world of ‘sober sipping’…

Let’s start simple. Could you please explain to us the difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (aside from the obvious!).

I would say there are two main differences that I would love people to understand when it comes to alcoholic versus non-alcoholic drinks. Firstly, the majority of the non-alcoholic drinks, in fact, are good for you – they either have no added sugar or are low in sugar, low in calories, have no added nasty preservatives, and in most cases have added-value ingredients and most importantly do not dehydrate you. Secondly, the craft that goes into producing most of the alcohol-free drinks is really quite something. Imagine a large corporate manufacturer producing one of their best-selling gins – these will be done in large quantities, in a huge facility with little-to-no human intervention. We are talking about a mass-produced product. On the other hand, you look at the production process of a craft premium non-alcoholic spirit – it is made in small batches, with each raw material individually sourced from top suppliers, and quantities are limited. This makes it easier to understand why the quality is just not comparable.

Erika Doyle Drink Dry

Erika Doyle founder of Drink Dry

Interesting … A case of quality of over quantity, then. So, what would be the top three cocktail recipes you would recommend to our discerning collection of sea-loving boat owners?

It would have to be my own personal favourite – Seaside Sunrise with Sea Arch Coastal Juniper non-alcoholic spirit. And once you have cracked a bottle of Sea Arch open, you should also try a very simple Sea Arch G&T – 50ml of the spirit and top up with your favourite tonic water. Simple yet so very effective. Espresso Martinis have also made a real comeback recently; social media has been exploding with the different recipes to make your own version, but for me, Crossip Dandy offers the best base for this cocktail (see recipe card on the right).

Sea Arch zero alcohol drink

Non-alcoholic red wine is the most challenging of all. Why is it so difficult to find a convincing substitute for the real thing?

I believe that the biggest challenge to date has been keeping the viscosity in the wine after de-alcoholisation. Whichever method of removing alcohol the producer uses, the wine seems to lose its viscosity and hence some key flavour notes. This is particularly true for heavier-bodied wines. However, I always advise our Drink Dry customers to enjoy any non-alcoholic red wine the same way you would enjoy a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais – these are typically very light red wines, hence you can drink them ever so slightly chilled, around 8–10 degrees. But I am hopeful that the winemakers will get there in the end!

Do you have any particular easy-to-grab, canned-drink recommendations that would be suited to carrying aboard one’s boat?

Oh, absolutely! I have been a fan of Bax Botanics non-alcoholic spirits for a long time and was thrilled when they released their ready-to-drink can options last year. My personal favourite is the one with Sea Buckthorn – such vibrant flavour notes. It’s hard not to have a second and third can when in the sunshine.

Traditional pale ale zero alcohol

In your view, as demand grows, do you think we can expect to see the quality and variety of zero- and low-alcohol drinks go on developing?

Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. The speed at which the producers are coming up with new ways to make better non-alcoholic drinks is astonishing. We should start looking at this particular drinks category almost from the perspective of food technology. Science, engineering, biochemistry and even perfumery science are all working together to create something new and groundbreaking in this space.

As a leading expert, please give us your top personal choices for the following: white wine, red wine, ale, lager beer and gin.

  • White wine: Vintense Terra Australis – award-winning Riesling and Gewürztraminer grapes.
  • Red wine: Natureo Garnacha Syrah – it has to be Miguel Torres winery wine. When the fifth-generation winemaking family put their name on non-alcoholic wine, you can expect great things.
  • Ale: Nirvana Pale Ale has been among my top ales for a long time. It is consistent and has well-recognised flavour notes.
  • Lager beer: Lucky Saint wins this every time. The flavour is fantastic, but also I have a lot of admiration for them as a brand as they have continuously invested time and energy into helping build the category, which is much needed for awareness.
  • Gin: Sea Arch Coastal Juniper – heavily juniper based, it features 11 different botanicals with strong notes of sea kelp and blood orange. A real crowd pleaser.

About Erika Doyle & Drink Dry

Erika Doyle is a true champion of the zero-alcohol revolution in the UAE. The founder of Drink Dry, the GCC’s first and only premium non-alcoholic drinks marketplace, Erika is a well-known and revered figure in the beverage industry. Having started as an e-store, Drink Dry are now a firm mainstay in the retail and hospitality sector across the UAE, with their product offering now available in many prominent bars and restaurants across the city.

Erika holds a bachelor degree in history and politics from the University of Nottingham. A tenacious leader and innately passionate about pioneering the alcohol-free drinks category in the F&B industry in the UAE, she was included as one of the top female-led companies in the UAE by Time Out magazine in March 2021. In 2022, she won the Entrepreneur Women SME Leaders Award for F&B Leader and was included in the Arabian Business ‘50 Most Inspirational Women 2022’. More recently, Erika has been nominated again in the Arabian Business ‘50 Most Inspirational Women 2023’.

Boozing on the Broads

A leading Suffolk boat hire company has taken the decision to ban the use of alcoholic drinks on its vessels in a bid to stop antisocial behaviour on the East Anglian Broads. Hippersons Boatyard in Beccles, Suffolk said they had to resort to the measure as some guests were becoming ‘over-refreshed’ while out on the waterways.

Mary Sparrow, Hippersons company secretary, told the BBC that people had been seen urinating off the side of the boats, and some had been rude to staff on their return. PBR are unsure whether this was as a direct result of alcohol.

Hippersons Boatyard in Beccles, Suffolk said they had to resort to banning alcohol aboard their vessels as some guests were becoming ‘over-refreshed’ while out on the waterways.

Hippersons Boatyard in Beccles, Suffolk said they had to resort to banning alcohol aboard their vessels as some guests were becoming ‘over-refreshed’ while out on the waterways.

Nevertheless, Ms Sparrow, who is also chairperson of Visit the Broads, went on to clarify that it was a ‘minority’ of people who came armed with crates of beer, frequented the pubs to indulge all day and then got back aboard the boats, only to continue their drinking. As a consequence, these relatively few were proving to be a public nuisance, and therefore steps had to be taken to curtail this behaviour.

‘We want people to have a good time on the Broads, come back to the Broads and also be safe,’ Sparrow said. ‘We can’t afford for someone to damage one of our boats; we can’t afford the reputational damage and we certainly don’t want our staff to be treated in a bad manner.’

Rob Rogers, Director of Operations at the Broads Authority, added that it was up to the boat hire companies themselves to put mitigation measures in place. He understood that people on holiday in the Broads wanted to have a ‘good time’, but he urged folk to ‘balance their alcohol intake and always remember to wear a life jacket and be responsible in their behaviour, especially when afloat’.

Unsurprisingly, the region’s by-laws actually state that people should not navigate a vessel while under the influence of drink or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of taking proper control of the vessel. Likewise, the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) proposed last year to grant rangers additional powers, including issuing fixed penalty notices if by-laws were broken, adding that it was considering how the proposals might fit with wider Defra policy.

Crossip Dandy Smoke

Non – Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes

Iced Caramel Macchiato

To make an Iced Caramel Macchiato using BRW Society Salted Caramel coffee bags, you will need the following ingredients:

  • BRW Society Salted Caramel coffee bag Ice cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of caramel sauce
  • 1 cup of cold milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Brew a cup of coffee using a BRW Society Salted Caramel coffee bag and let it cool.
  2. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  3. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of caramel sauce into the glass.
  4. Add 1 cup of cold milk to the glass.
  5. Pour the cooled coffee over the milk and caramel.
  6. Stir the mixture well.
  7. Optional: Top with whipped cream and caramel

Enjoy your Iced Caramel Macchiato!

Bax Botanics Cocktails Bax Bramble non alcoholic

Non-Alcoholic Espresso Martini

To make a non-alcoholic coffee martini using BRW Society coffee bags and Crossip Dandy Smoke, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 55ml of Crossip Dandy Smoke.
  • 60ml of BRW Society Colombian Coffee.
  • 10ml of vanilla syrup.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Brew a cup of coffee using a BRW Society coffee bag and cool.
  3. Pour 60ml of the cooled coffee into the cocktail shaker
  4. Add 55ml of Crossip Dandy Smoke to the shaker
  5. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds
  6. Strain the mixture into a martini glass
  7. Garnish with a coffee bean or a sprig of mint (optional
  8. Enjoy your non-alcoholic coffee martini!

Note: You can adjust the proportions of coffee and Crossip Dandy Smoke to suit your taste. Also, you can add sweetener or milk if desired.

Iced Vanilla Latte

To make an Iced Vanilla Latte using BRW Society Vanilla coffee bags, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 BRW Society Vanilla coffee bag
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup of cold milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Brew a cup of coffee using a BRW Society Vanilla coffee bag and let it cool.
  2. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup to the glass.
  4. Pour 1 cup of cold milk into the glass.
  5. Pour the cooled coffee over the milk and vanilla syrup.
  6. Stir the mixture well.
  7. Optional: Top with whipped cream.

Bicerin

To make a Bicerin using BRW Society Americano coffee bags, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 BRW Society Americano coffee bag
  • 1 cup of hot chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Sugar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Brew a cup of coffee using a BRW Society Americano coffee bag.
  2. Heat up 1 cup of hot chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream until it thickens.
  4. If desired, add sugar to the whipped cream and stir well.
  5. In a glass or mug, layer the hot chocolate, coffee, and whipped cream on top of each other.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy your Bicerin!

Note: You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less sugar to the whipped cream or hot chocolate.

Sea Arch Coastal Juniper

Sea Arch Coastal Juniper

Random fizzy facts

  • The founders of the successful drinks company Crossip used an actual shop-bought pressure cooker to make their first batch of non-alcoholic macerated spirit.
  • It requires around 10 times more botanicals to produce a high-quality non-alcoholic botanical spirit (aka non-alcoholic gin) than it does to produce an alcoholic one, because water is less absorbent than ethanol.
  • There are three main methods to de-alcoholise a liquid – vacuum, low temperature and spinning cone column machine.
  • Most 0.5% non-alcoholic beers are actually not de-alcoholised – the brewers simply stop the fermentation process to ensure it remains below the 0.5% threshold.
  • In an average British pub,  one in four drinks is now non-alcoholic.

Drink finder & more info

Drink Dry: www.instagram.com/drinkdrystore/

See also via TishTash: www.instagram.com/tishtashtalks/

www.drinkdrystore.com/

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