19 May 2022

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Is alcohol all it is cracked up to be? But what about your cocktails?
Adrian Leopard 337

Is alcohol all it is cracked up to be? But what about your cocktails?

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It is surprising how many people do not drink alcohol in today’s world. So what is the alternative?

As the days now start to get shorter perhaps it is a good moment to reflect a little on the value of alcohol in our society.

What it must have been like to live during the prohibition in the United States is probably unimaginable to people today; if they want an alcoholic drink, it is there for the taking. There won’t be many who remember the prohibition today but it was a constitutional ban on the production, importation, sale and obviously consumption of alcoholic drinks during the period 1920 to 1933. That was a long time to go without!

Prohibitionists had been angling to get rid of alcohol since the nineteenth century and the move was led by pietistic protestants who saw an ill society beset by alcohol-related problems such as alcoholism, family violence and political corruption. Their aim in ridding society of this scourge was to improve both public morals and health. I guess there are some who may continue to subscribe to these views today! It was finally outlawed by the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920.

What happened? Well, the manufacture of alcohol went underground and we all know of bootlegging. In fact not all alcohol was made illegal; you could still take a sip in communion in church and federal law did not prohibit private ownership and consumption but local state laws in many instances did. In December 1933 the Twenty First Amendment repealed the Eighteenth, the only amendment ever to be made which repealed an earlier one.

It is suggested that the prohibition did have a beneficial effect on health but as the years went by support for it diminished.

Of course alcohol in our society today has been getting knocked consistently for some while. Go and see your doctor and what was healthy enough for you to consume ten years ago in terms of quantity certainly is not today. On being asked how much alcohol I drank on one occasion, I answered “a couple of gin and tonics before dinner” to which the doctor’s ripost was “yes but is that your large home made style gin and tonic?” Nicked!

But life is changing. Did you know that 25% of young people today do not drink alcohol? If you are going to run a pub you need to be set up with your non-alcoholic alternatives. Clearly the messages about inter alia drinking and driving and the long term future of your liver are getting home, putting aside obvious head-ache avoidance when you get a hangover.

Years ago, non-alcoholic drinks were seen as somewhat boring but today there is a new buzz and loads of new drinks containing ingredients you may never have heard of are available to tempt you. For example, a drink called Gimber created by a Belgian who was dissatisfied with the ginger-based drinks on the market so this drink contains premium ginger, lemon, herbs and spices and has been designed to have a powerful “kick” in the flavour to compensate for the lack of alcohol. Indeed it is recommended that you water it down!

Savyll Beverage Company wants to create cocktails which emulate the originals but without alcohol – such as Moscow Mule, Old Cuban and Gin and Tonic to name but a few. In fact the range of ingredients which are included in non-alcoholic drinks is almost mind-boggling and include the obvious orange, lemon, herbs and spices along with hibiscus, cubeb, cinnamon, wormwood and cayenne to name but a few.

Indeed you can get wines, beers, lagers, ciders and all sorts and the manufacturers claim that the reason they are so close to their original alcoholic counterparts in taste is because of the very subtle distillation techniques now used to remove the alcohol without disturbing the original taste. Of course some of the many drinks out there now might even be enhanced with a little splash of the good old hard stuff but in essence if you can bring yourself to have a go, you may find that you can drink yourself silly without having a drop of alcohol pass your lips.

Like all these things, I suppose you shouldn’t knock it until you have tried it!

Adrian Leopard 22-06-21

Photo Ardi Evans

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