As the last few days of January tick by, and the drive to complete Dry January wanes, we find ourselves looking for a glimmer of inspiration.
Inspiration to not only finish what we started, and continue the more healthy habits adopted after the festive season, but to add a little more zest and colour into the dull winter days.
We’ve found a handful of alternatives to pep-up the dark evenings – minus the morning hang-over – so here are three CALIBRE favourites we’re certain you’ll enjoy.
Punchy’s premium, adult-centric natural fruit soft drinks tap into demand for healthier and sustainable drink options.
Packed full of bold flavours, Punchy is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low in sugar and low in calories without any preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
There are currently three different flavours available from Punchy. Golden Hour is a mix of blood orange, bitters and cardamom, First Dip brings together cucumber, yuzu and rosemary, and Holiday Romance combines peach, ginger and chai.
Each blend has a very different, distinct flavour, from the clean, refreshing taste of cucumber, the fragrant citrus hint of blood orange, to the delightfully fiery ginger. None were overly sweet and, thanks to some light carbonation, the subtle flavours flowed beautifully.
“Here at Punchy we truly believe there is a real opportunity to capture the fun, enjoyment and sociability of punch while giving people the choice to drink alcohol or not,” explained Paddy Cavanagh-Butler, founder of Punch Drinks. “We know there is a demand and desire for these products so we are offering a new generation of drinkers a choice way to drink without compromise.”
The company also pledges that its products are plastic-free and recyclable, while 1% of sales go to charities dedicated to protecting the environment.
What: Punchy Drinks
How much: £12 for a six-pack
If you want that cocktail-feel for your evening drink, NIO Cocktails has a great solution. As demand for virgin cocktails grows, NIO extended its already successful alcohol-based range to include the Virgin Bitters and Lemongrass Citrus cocktails.
Each 100ml drink is contained in an individual package, shaped and sized like a CD case, ready to be kept in the fridge – simply fill a glass with ice, tear the corner and pour.
We tried both flavours and weren’t disappointed. The lemongrass citrus had a clean, vibrant, full flavour with a hint of sweetness, while the virgin bitters provided a Negroni-like hit with a subtle spiced flavour topped with sharp fruit tones, all balanced with a gentle sweetness. If you weren’t at home, you would be conceived they’d been made by a top mixologist.
In a way, they had. Founders, Luca and Alessandro, were inspired to create the NIO (Needs Ice Only) range to allow them to spend more time with friends, rather than mixing them drinks.
The well-considered mixology behind NIO’s cocktails is evident in the execution – neither felt lacking and each left us wanting more.
What: NIO Cocktails
How much: £20 for a triple pack
There’s something about the minimalist packaging and expressive miniature glass bottles that makes Jukes Cordialities feel suitably premium before you’ve even got to the drinks.
Each bottle contains 30ml of concentrated wine-replacement cordial ready to be diluted in sparkling, still, soda or tonic water, and is offered in three different numeric flavours, 1, 2 and, well, 6.
Flavour number one is ‘1’, which provides quite a strong cider vinegar aroma from the bottle. Once diluted, the flavour mellows, offering a fruity cocktail with flavours of cucumber and apple. Flavour two, named ‘2’, is the newest addition to the range, a bright red apple cider vinegar drink layered red fruit flavours and a faint smokiness.
The final flavour, confusingly called ‘6’, takes a darker approach. Blackcurrants, strawberries and plums come to the fore, with a rich colour that looks great in a large wine glass.
All the ingredients are natural and are mixed by wine-expert Matthew Jukes. By his own admission, you might need to play with the balance of cordial and mixer to find your preferred taste, but it’ll be there somewhere.
What: Jukes Cordialities
How much: £35 for nine bottles