Drinks retailer Dan Murphy’s has noticed a significant upswing in sales of lighter and non-alcohol beverages as Australians look to moderate their alcohol consumption and embrace a more balanced lifestyle. The increase has been noteworthy across the following categories: non-alcoholic and mid-strength beer, lighter alcohol wine, cider with less than 3% alcohol as well as premium soft drinks such as mineral water, artisanal bitters and cordials.
The appetite for lighter and non-alcohol choices has been apparent for some time, and it seems consumers are not only checking the labels more closely in the grocery aisle, but in their local liquor store, as well.
As lighter alcohol products become more accepted and even fashionable, consumers are also experimenting with a number of easy swaps that can be made to reduce the alcohol levels of their favourite drinks. For example the classic Negroni can be easily adjusted to the equally worthy Americano simply by switching out the gin for soda water, for a lighter option that still has that great “bitter” Italian-like taste.
The ever popular Frosé, which typically includes a shot of vodka, can be easily lightened by omitting the vodka, instead combining just Rosé, soda water, ice and mint for a deliciously refreshing summertime drink.
If you’re a fan of sweeter, fruitier drinks but are mindful of your alcohol intake – pre-mixed drinks are a great alternative to straight spirits and mixers. Crowd favourites like gin and tonic and Pimms and lemonade are available as pre-mixers, and as with many others on the market, fall below one standard drink and help avoid mis-measured pours. An easy way to spruce up a premix is to add additional herbs or fruit to enhance the taste.
Here are three lighter options to try:
Frosé (0.88 standard drink per glass)
• 90mL Jacob’s Creek Le Petit Rose
• 15mL sugar or agave syrup
• Handful of strawberres
• 3 cups of ice
Place agave syrup, a handful of strawberries and 90mls of Jacob Creek’s Le Petit Rose and ice into a blender.
Americano (0.94 standard drink per glass)
A lighter alternative to crowd favourite, Negroni with it’s intense pronounced flavours and bitterness from the orange paired with the sweet vermouth makes your tastebuds go off! A way to cut down the alcohol and still drink a cocktail very similar to the Negroni – is called the Americano. Essentially, you take out the gin and replace that for a club soda or sparkling water, so you still get that bittersweet taste!
• 30mL Campari
• 30mL sweet vermouth
• Club soda
• Lemon twist or orange slice for garnish
For a lighter version of the Negroni, pour 30ml Campari and 30ml vermouth into a short glass with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon or orange slice.
Wednesday in the park
Wednesday in the Park (0.52 standard drink per glass)
A light and easy drinking Lillet-based spritz
• 30mL Lillet Blanc
• Tonic water
• Dash of orange bitters
• Orange slice
• Sprig of thyme
Make your own spritz by pouring 30ml of Lillet Blanc in a tall glass, top with Tonic Water and an orange slice to serve.