Deccan Chronicle

Non-alcoholic sips are new party favourites

Deccan Chronicle.| Nivi Shrivastava

Published on: August 20, 2023 | Updated on: August 20, 2023
Most Gen Z and millennials are obsessed with veganism, planet-friendly meals, and artisanal cuisines is now leaning toward non-alcoholic beverages and fancy mocktails with exotic ingredients.

Most Gen Z and millennials are obsessed with veganism, planet-friendly meals, and artisanal cuisines is now leaning toward non-alcoholic beverages and fancy mocktails with exotic ingredients.

Call it a dry phase or an obsession with health and fitness, most Gen Z and millennials are giving a hard pass to alcohol and opting for non-alcoholic drinks instead. The generation obsessed with veganism, planet-friendly meals, and artisanal cuisines is now leaning toward non-alcoholic beverages and fancy mocktails with exotic ingredients.

The trend towards non-alcoholic drinks isn’t just popular among the younger crowd; it’s resonating with individuals across different age groups, including middle-aged and elderly patrons. In today’s health-conscious world, people are prioritizing their well-being and fitness, says Simran Kochhar Pal, founder of Elina Vara, a farm-to-fork cafe.

She says, "Non-alcoholic beverages offer a practical solution to this modern lifestyle dilemma. They provide the opportunity to socialize and enjoy a vibrant atmosphere without the consequences of alcohol consumption. Sundowners with sober alternatives are becoming a prominent trend among both the youth and middle-aged groups. And, the allure of non-alcoholic drinks extends beyond health. When it comes to pricing, non-alcoholic beverages offer an attractive advantage, being notably more affordable compared to their alcoholic counterparts. This affordability makes enjoying a night out or a social gathering much friendlier on one’s wallet. Moreover, the preparation time and convenience make them a smart choice for those looking to unwind and socialize on both weekdays and weekends."

No hic, hic, just hurray

From using seasonal tangy flavours to innovating with rejuvenating herbs, the craze for mocktails with local ingredients is catching up in fine-dining restaurants as well. Along with the fanciest wine and cocktail menus, the mixologists are also slipping in the special mocktail menus to the guests. Speaking about the popularity, Rajesh Khanna, F & B Head at The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi, mentions, "One of the major reasons for its rise is that guests are health conscious and opting for herb flavored drinks with ginger, mint, sweet basil and saffron. Depending on the requirement, one can order different types of non-alcoholic drinks for energy, sugar-free, low-fat, nourishing, and hydrating that are easy on the stomach. To give our guests a taste of unique Indian ingredients, we have drinks like Jal Jeera, Kachi Ambi, Delhi Ka Nimbu, Masala Chaach, Afza Mojito, and Kokam Jal along with in-house flavoured iced teas, iced coffee, shakes and spicy colas. Alcoholic drinks contain high volumes of gluten which can mess with the digestive system, especially for people who have sensitive stomachs. On the other hand, non-alcoholic beverages contain no or reduced gluten which is good for the tummy. There is no religious restriction, and mostly they are easy on the wallet."

Diverse spectrum:

From creating in-house non-alcoholic blends to serving an array of skillfully concocted non-alcoholic gins and rums that replicate the essence of original cocktails, at the Burma Burma Restaurant and Tea Room outlets the meals are only accompanied by moderate drinks. Previously, non-alcoholic options received less attention on menus, but that trend is changing, believes Sahil Mohan, Operations Head at Burma Burma. He informs, "Our menu features a Burmese Tea Room with an extensive array of artisanal iced tea blends and coolers infused with citrusy hints, an exquisite blend of smoked oolong kombucha, roasted red chili, and local Burmese pickled apricots. From creating a concoction of hibiscus cold brew, grapefruit, ginger ale, and honey to combining pineapple, grapefruit, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, lemongrass, kaffir lime, and chili – the flavours are extraordinary. It’s worth noting that all our beverages are crafted in-house using fresh ingredients, without the use of syrups."

The growing trend of moderate drinks is shaping the future of the industry. It’s noteworthy that numerous bars worldwide are placing equal emphasis on moderate drinks as they do on their alcoholic counterparts. Informing about the techniques used, Sahil informs, "Our approach incorporates an array of advanced techniques, including lacto fermentation, preservation, and fermentation. A particularly unique method we employ is sous vide — a meticulous slow-cooking process at low temperatures to extract only the essence of herbs and fruits. Our beverage offerings often draw inspiration from distinct regions, each lending its unique character. Additionally, some of our drinks are accompanied by fruit leathers, offering a delightful complement to the beverages."

Taste of freedom:

The shift towards non-alcoholic sips is best explained by the taste of freedom without the fog. Unlike the boring options, the new range of mock drinks is a voyage of flavours, says chef Shaurya Veer Kapoor of Gola Sizzlers. He mentions, "Imagine the zest of lime and the delicate essence of basil leaves dancing with the sweetness of elderflower and orange juice – it’s a garden party in your mouth. This is the kind of audacious blend that thrills young enthusiasts seeking something offbeat and tantalisingly refreshing. The non-alcoholic wonders not only tantalize your taste buds but also provide a guilt-free, anytime indulgence. What’s more, these non-alcoholic drinks can also be enjoyed by every age group, ensuring that everyone can savor the delightful flavors and experience the refreshing escape from the ordinary."

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