When people refer to non-alcoholic beverages, they can be talking about anything from milk to a Shirley Temple. However, in this instance, we are going to be focusing solely on non-alcoholic beverages that are served in place of alcoholic beverages. This includes things like non-alcoholic beer and wine, mocktails, and virgin drinks. These drinks are often offered alongside traditional alcoholic drinks at bars and restaurants and are getting more and more creative as bartenders, mixologists, and vineyards and brewers get wind of the growing interest.
What is a non-alcoholic beverage?
In this context, a non-alcoholic beverage is any beverage not containing ethyl alcohol that is often drank in replacement of a traditional alcoholic beverage. Non alcoholic wine or beer or mocktails can be served in replacements of drinks containing alcohol and have been mixed so that they taste equally good to their originals.
Why do people drink non-alcoholic beverages?
There can be a variety of reasons that people choose to enjoy non-alcoholic over alcoholic drinks. While many people think of recovering alcoholics first (and this is one popular reason), there are other reasons as well. Designated drivers will often choose non-alcoholic drinks over juice or water, since it allows them to socialize more and enjoy something with more interesting flavor throughout the evening. Those with alcohol intolerances also must steer clear of alcoholic beverages, but will be able to enjoy a glass of non-alcoholic wine after a long day. As well as those who are watching their weight, who may find non-alcoholic beverages, have a lower caloric content (though this isn’t always the case).
How are non-alcoholic beverages made?
For mocktails, the alcoholic element is simply not added to the drink, however, when it comes to non-alcoholic beer or wine, the process becomes a bit more complicated. This is because non-alcoholic beer or wine does originally have alcohol. In essence, non-alcoholic beer or wine is made exactly the same way as traditional beer or wine, and then the alcohol is removed.
This is done by one of the following:
• Vacuum distillation: The beer or wine is put under a vacuum, which causes a dramatic change in atmospheric pressure. This allows the liquids to boil at a much lower temperature than you would originally need for distillation. In some cases, no heat at all is needed. This causes the alcohol to rise to the top of the liquid and burn off.
• Reverse Osmosis: reverse osmosis does not require any heating at all and is actually the same method used to purify drinking water. The wine or beer is passed through a filter so fine that only the alcohol and the water can get through. The alcohol is then distilled out of the water and then the water and acids are added back into the mixture of syrupy sugars and flavor compounds left behind.
While alcohol can be removed from almost any beverage by distilling it over high heat, makers of dealcoholized wine or beer want to maintain the flavor profile of their drinks at any cost, which means that they avoid high heat or boiling the drink, since this will dramatically alter the flavor of the wine or beer for consumption.