Drinks to get excited about

Alcohol Free Days

The days of nursing a lemon, lime and bitters while your friends knock back the latest trendy cocktail are gone. Non-alcoholic gins, rums, spritzes, beers and wines are readily available to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun.  From distillers like Seedlip who produce non alcoholic gin to our own Botanikos Juniper Jinn simple syrup, mixing alcohol free cocktails than taste like the real thing has never been easier.

I am absolutely thrilled that non alcoholic mixers are stepping up to provide tasty alternatives for those of us wishing to make healthier choices but not compromise on our drinking pleasure. Sales of non-alcoholic beverages have been surging over January. Melbourne’s best bars are well versed in offering non alcoholic alternatives to slate your thirst for drinking sober.

Feb fast, Dry July and Sober October all offer a holiday from alcohol, but you may simply want to reduce your weekly intake after the festive season or shake off bad habits formed during COVID-19 lockdowns. As the pandemic continues to impact on our lives, it has become apparent that Australian culture is changing. Many people are now making conscious decisions to improve their health. New drinking habits include taking a step in the direction of sobriety. People realise they can still go out and have fun with their friends without consuming large amounts of alcohol.

Non-alcoholic tipples

New products are regularly entering the market, with non-alcoholic gin and low and non-alcoholic beer. You may have noticed non-alcoholic beers and gins are even on our supermarket shelves.

Technically not all these beers and wines marketed as non-alcohol are completely alcohol free. Some contain 0.5 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) – apparently the same level as a very ripe banana – so always check the label if you’re being strict about your intake.

New Crafted Gin

Juniper berries are used to make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic gins and simple syrups. Distillers use botanicals such as juniper to create popular spirits but now removing the alcohol. Distillers never reveal the exact composition of their spirits so you’ll only find “botanical extracts” and “citrus acid” listed as ingredients. Not so for Botanikos! We manufacture simple syrups and cite all botanicals and ingredients that flavour our syrups on the label. This means you absolutely know what is going into your glass. Juniper Jinn is our new crafted gin substitute for a non alcoholic drink.

Non-alcoholic spirits are peaking at the moment and seems to be a crowd-pleaser. However we suggest experiment with different non-alcoholic gins, simple syrups and tonic to create a flavour that suits you. Once you remove the alcohol, your palate may also become more sensitive to the taste of the tonic as well.

Ride the Tonic Water-Wagon

Indian Tonic Water is by far the best choice as a mixer to mix up the best gin and tonic. Try making a Tom Collins by adding Botanikos Rosemary simple syrup to your gin to further elevate and balance flavour in this popular drink.  It becomes a process of elimination to taste and select which tonics you prefer to mix with your spirit.  Fever-Tree’s Elderflower Tonic is lighter and slightly sweeter and works well with Botanikos Lavender simple syrup to make great summer cocktails, while Mediterranean Tonic Water has less quinine and more herbs for a classic flavour when mixed with Botanikos Citrus Collection. If you want to dance with the mixologists then try Capi, which is my go to mixer because it is top quality and good value for money or Strangelove who are hard core top shelf mixers with seemingly endless varieties of fruity flavours. These are small but telling steps in the direction towards mocktails.

Mocktails with mojo

If you need to celebrate sans alcohol, then a mocktail is the perfect solution. You can enhance the flavour and fizz with seasonal fruit and add botanical flavour and texture with simple syrups and garnishes to make it look extra special. Using traditional methods we squeeze out more flavour into our syrups so you can have more flavour in your glass.

One of my favourite mocktails is created from fresh summer ingredients: pineapple juice, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, passionfruit and soda water. The reason we use pineapple juice is that it replaces egg white to creates a lovely foam, while the soda water provides that fizz element.

Summer Mocktail recipe



  1. Add 3-4 ice cubes to a cocktail shaker
  2. Measure and pour pineapple juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup and passionfruit into the shaker
  3. Shake vigorously holding both sides
  4. Strain seeds and pulp and pour into a espresso martini glass.
  5. Top with soda water to  add volume to the froth
  6. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and or pineapple

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