Sober, not boring – An alcohol free drink review

When I quit drinking I concluded that my choice of beverages was limited to fizzy drinks, either packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners that leave a horrible aftertaste. My options seemed bleak; tea, which I love but didn’t want as my only option, water, also good but boring after a while and the occasional soft drink, ginger beer or cordial with soda. In the want to be both sober and health conscious, exciting drinks seemed like a thing of the past.

Recently a company that distributes a range of non-alcoholic beverages in Australia approached me to see if I’d be interested in trying their drinks and sharing my thoughts. I liked the look of what I saw on their website so I thought, why not. I hadn’t previously dabbled too much in non-alcoholic alternatives to the type of drinks I used to love, mostly because I worried they’d be triggering. As I explored the range, I realised there are so many offerings that are healthy, tasty and exciting. They allow you to feel like you’re not missing out just because you don’t drink alcohol. There are three brands within the range of drinks; ‘Rochester Ginger’, ‘Norfolk Punch’ and ‘Natural Remedy Tonics’.

All three brands offer a variety of great drinks. A highlight for me came from Rochester Ginger. I used to love a scotch on the rocks, I don’t know what it was, something about it just felt mature and indulgent. That was of course because I fell prey to clever marketing campaigns and the glorification of alcohol in films and tv shows. Thank you Don Draper! But as a person with drinking issues, it was never just one scotch, the reality never matched the illusion of remaining miraculously unaffected by the heavy alcohol content. Instead the bottle would decline rather rapidly and a horrible hangover would grace me the following day. 

Rochester Ginger’s ‘Dickensian Recipe’ reads that it can be enjoyed ‘neat’ or ‘on the rocks’. So I fished out my favourite old ‘scotch’ glasses from the back of the cupboard (they’re now just glasses). They hadn’t seen daylight since I quit drinking over 15 months ago. I clinked some ice in and poured a glass each for my girlfriend and I. “Cheers”, I felt the  ginger saunter past my lips, ours eyes lit up simultaneously as we realised it warmed our insides just the way I remembered that first scotch doing. This though, was different because I knew it was giving me goodness instead of the potential for a horrible tomorrow! 

The Rochester range also has an interesting option of a 5 day ‘shot’. They come in a variety of flavours and are intended as an immune boosting shot to kick start your day. Definitely the kind of shots I prefer these days. I tried both the ‘Turmeric’ and the ‘Cider Vinegar & Raspberry’ shots. Each packed a real flavour punch and gave an invigorating boost to my mornings.

In the Norfolk Punch range I tried the ‘Women’s Elixir’ and The ‘Original Norfolk Punch’. Both drinks are packed with berries, herbs and spices. While they claim no medical benefits, they definitely feel like they’re fuelling your body with goodness. The ‘Original Norfolk Punch’ suggests warming it and I can’t even explain how good it tastes! It’s not winter in Australia yet but we’ve been having some very cold nights. This is the perfect accompaniment to sip while you get cosy by the fire. It tasted like a delicious home made mulled wine – minus the hangover!

‘Natural Remedy Tonics’ has a range of concentrated drinks that can be mixed in a variety of ways. I tried the ‘Ginseng, Ginkgo & Brahmi’ concentrate diluted 1: 4 with hot water, as a tea. The flavours are bold, but that’s not surprising given the use of herbal extracts. The ingredients are intended to help improve mental performance; to promote memory function, improved concentration and focus. I haven’t used them long enough to tell whether these benefits are happening, as I only tried it for the first time today but I love the idea of a beverage that helps with brain function.

As a whole, the entire range of drinks I tried were exciting, they were packed with flavour and offered the ability to enjoy them in a variety of ways – hot, cold, straight or as mixers. It’s fantastic to see a focus on drinks that are fun while providing some nutritious benefits. My sober world has just got a whole lot more interesting.


You can check out the range of here:

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