So we’re just into what some call and participate in: Dry July. The idea is to stay off alcohol for the month and raise money to assist people with, and affected by cancer. Cancer is an insidious and non-discriminatory disease and I encourage fund raising that goes towards any research for the many types that are out there. I personally won’t be participating in Dry July nor will I mock those who do, for that is their choice in the hope that some good will happen from their actions.
But it does seem a perfect time to shine a light on a particular range of products that fall into the category of “Non-Alcoholic Spirits.” When I was growing up the only non-alcoholic spirit was ‘Clayton’s,’ with the marketing line: “The drink you’re having when you’re not having a drink.” I still remember the plastic 10oz glasses that came with the gift pack. This brand name has now connotations in the Australian lexicon to mean something that isn’t quite the real thing. Note: The original Clayton’s no longer exists, but has since evolved into this.
Fast forward a generation (and a bit) and with a health conscious mindset, we now have a slew of these kinds of products that are seriously made and being eagerly consumed by the public. And when I say serious, they’re even beating their alcoholic counterparts at major shows
Which brings me to this review, I was sent earlier in the year 2 of Lyre’s products, the Dry London Spirit (substituting for gin) and the Italian Orange (take your pick of your Italian orange bitters, such as Campari).
The majority of the review below was originally published in my regular, syndicated “Weekend” Magazine column.
Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits, Italian Orange, Australia, NV
This smells and tastes like most recognised alcoholic Italian orange bitter aperitifs with blood orange citrus rind and bitter herbs, leading to a desired bittersweet and tart palate. The colour is a little more red in hue than its alcoholic comparisons and it carries just a touch more sweetness. Pair with the intense Dry London Spirit (which smells remarkably like a native lemon myrtle gin with an incredibly sharp and potently tart flavour) to make a refreshing zero alcohol Negroni.
Rating: 18.5/20 (92/100)
Spirit samples courtesy of Lyre’s