“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second intimate, the third is routine.
After that you take the girl’s clothes off.”
- Raymond Chandler
…and we all know what might happen after that, right? Here’s my salute to all you carrying - soon to be - moms, young moms and other non-booze lovers or designated drivers who might appreciate this.
In the midst of the restaurant and dining world I have had a chance to do food and beverage pairings and to my biggest surprise, finding non-alcoholic beverages to pair with food, is not that simple. Most tend to be so overly sweet, they overpower anything you pair them with. Let’s be honest, after your early twenties most of us would rather stay away from sugar filled soft drinks that make you say: “type 2 diabetes, here I come.”
Thankfully after some research and trials I have found some really cool alternatives. Estonian made, nicely balanced and offering a lovely taste experience. So without further ado.
Mull null series
A craft cider brewery that has a wide range of products. Their non-alcoholic cider is one of the best ones I’ve tasted. Probably can trick some booze lovers into thinking it’s a regular cider. It’s semi sweet, but I’ll forgive them for that. Lovely body, nice and refreshing, crisp. Drink it cold and enjoy.
Other one from Mull is the non-alcoholic rhubarb. Bubbly, fresh, nice acidity, light and oh, how romantic. Everyone loves pink. Lovely alternative for a aperitif when other are enjoying their sparkling wine. Perfect for sharing and a great side to fresh salads of lighter dishes.
Tori Siidritalu Vurts
Unsweetened sparkling refresher. Made with apples, strawberries & hibiscus. I know what you’re thinking: “That must be sweet as hell.” I was sure of it until I opened that bottle too. In reality the small bubbles add some texture to juicy and well built light body. I was surprised and that says something. Again, fresh salads, fruit salads or why not pair it with your morning porridge? Just add some strawberries on the side. If you want an even more refreshing experience, add some peppermint leaves to your dish.
Say hello to Mr. Rudolf
Produced by Mamm & Frukt in Pärnu. They sell it as a “soft drink for grown men”. It’s spicy from the ginger, yet masculine. If you’re not much into ginger I suggest you try something else, but if spicy is your cup of tea, this is awesome. As the bottle says: “When nothing is certain, everything is possible.” Don’t blame me, if you get hooked on this.
The Gypsy brothers
While looking for non-alcoholic pairings I walked pass these due to the fact I was looking for Estonian made drinks. It doesn’t look very local, but they are and they are great. Full of flavor, different taste balance and it makes these a great selection for a wide range of dishes. Gypsy has 5 different soft drinks to offer you. From raspberries to bitter orange to juniper. My personal favorite is the sea buckthorn & bitter orange. Lovely acidity with a lingering bitterness. Go and taste, well worth it.
Only Estonian non-alcoholic craft beer - for now
Ale type beer. It’s a real easy drinker. Serves it’s purpose and is way better than most of the watery non-alcoholic beers on the market. Sadly it won’t give you much of a wow effect. But it is really fun to order and a great conversation starter. It’s called “Are you free tonight?”
To you, my superwomen bringing new life to this world, you don’t have to settle for boring tastes. There are great options on the market. You can go local or international. Go explore. If you need help finding these, let me know. Or if you taste something really awesome, let me know too!