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On Tuesday 15th November, Alcohol-Free Spirits Brand Ambassador, Christie Knight answered key questions from our Diageo Bar Academy community, on all things alcohol-free. From the rising popularity of low and no drinks, to adjusting your recipes to be alcohol-free, Christie bestowed her wealth of alcohol-free knowledge upon us all.

Why are alcohol-free drinks becoming popular?

Everyone has their reasons for not wanting to drink alcohol on any given day, whether they are driving, whether it's for health reasons, or whether they just don't fancy drinking booze on that day. It's amazing that people are now realising there are great options out there if you don't want to drink alcohol.

How are alcohol-free drinks made?

This will vary brand to brand, however, most alcohol-free spirits are distilled using fresh or dried botanicals to extract as much flavour from those botanicals as possible. This allows you to use that alcohol-free spirit in the same way as you would a traditional alcoholic spirit.

Can 0% alcohol spirits be used as a substitute for alcohol or does the recipe need to be adjusted?

Brands like Tanqueray 0% and Gordon’s 0% are amazing for this - they're mimicking the London dry variant. This means, when creating or drinking in any classic gin recipe, you can substitute the gin with the, same measurement of the alcohol-free alternative and you’ll achieve that same great flavour.

Top tip from Christie: It's much easier to make that swap or cut down on drinking if you opt for alcohol-free options because then, you're still getting the ritual and the flavours, just minus the alcohol!

What are the benefits of alcohol-free bars?

It's so important to be inclusive, and I genuinely believe hospitality is all about providing the best quality service for every guest. That's why it's really important to have good non-alcoholic drink options. For instance, I was out last week with a few friends and a couple of us weren't drinking at the time. Because they didn’t have any decent non-alcoholic options, we actually ended up leaving two separate venues, so it's really important you're catering for everyone within a group.

How should alcohol-free spirits be used in cocktails?

My best advice here is really to experiment with by different brands and have a play around. Check the brands’ websites. The Seedlip website is an amazing place for inspiration on lots of different alcohol-free recipes.

What could I make an alcohol-free negroni with?

This is how amazing alcohol-free spirits are these days – you can actually make a cocktail like a Negroni, which is literally made of three different types of alcohol. My best advice would be to give the NOGRONI a go.

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