Kevin Gillespie the Founder of Functional Drinks Club

Going Sober for October - Our Drink Recommendations

I know, you don't want to read another non-alcoholic drinks recommendations list rolling out what you can get off the supermarket shelves while jumping on the whole Going Sober for October bandwagon.

If you're like me, you'll think a lot of what's available in the supermarket is not that great. 

So I'm not going to spend my time reviewing them, and I'm not going to waste your time by making you read about them again.

And I'm in no doubt you've tasted them yourselves, so I don't need to tell you how disappointing they are.

In fact, most of them are enough to turn you back to the drink.

It also makes the Macmillan Going Sober for October challenge even harder because what's readily available and to hand is pretty naff.

And don't get me started on non-alcoholic wines.  We'll save that discussion for another day.

But, if you’re doing the Macmillan Sober for October it’s key to have a good supply of non-alcoholic drinks to keep you going over the month.

It’s also a good excuse to explore what’s out there, so when October is over you can either continue being stone cold sober or cut down your alcohol consumption moving forward.

At Functional Drinks Club, we believe there’s some non-alcoholic bangers out there that you’ll keep on drinking long after the challenge is over.

Who knows, you could take them all the way through to Dry January.

Either way, to help you right now we’ve pulled together a handy list of drinks for you to try throughout October.

There’s something for everyone, and all the drinks listed can be bought in the Functional Drinks Club shop.

And, this isn’t the definitive list of what we would recommend, we’re just giving you one of each type to get you started.

Non-Alcoholic Beers, Lagers, Ales & Sours

Non-alcoholic Stout

Ilkley Brewery Nowt Mary non-alcoholic stout

It has to be the Nowt Mary from Ilkley Brewery.

It’s full bodied, and if you were handed it in a pub you’d think it was the real deal.

Even better.

It’s low carb, low calorie, and alcohol free.

This is definitely a winner and great place to start when it comes to non-alcoholic stouts.

Non-alcoholic Sour

Pastore Sorbetto non-alcoholic sour

The Pastore Sorbetto collaboration with Mash Gang is our top non-alcoholic sour at the moment.

Bursting with flavour, especially when drunk ice cold.

It was a firm favourite with everyone at our last Friday Night Social.

The one we’re enjoying right now is the Raspberry, Watermelon, and Lime Sorbetto.

Non-alcoholic Pale Ale

Run Free non-alcoholic Pale Ale by left hand giant

At the moment, it has to be the Pale Ale Run Free by Left Handed Giant.

Not only is it tasty, it has some real depth to it.

And, the Citrus flavour really jumps out at you.

You know what, if I was a runner, I'd probably crack one of these at the end.  But I'm not, and I like to drink it while watching the game.  Equally as good for that as well.

Special mention to the Progression Pale Ale by Clean Break Brewing here as well.  It was a tough choice to choose between the two, but right now I'm drinking the Run Free by Left Handed Giant.  Probably because it's newer to me and I've been enjoying Progression for a lot longer.

Non-alcoholic Lager

Non-alcoholic Lager Day Saints

Without a doubt it has to be Lager Day Saints from the Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing Brewery.

When I say they’ve nailed it, I mean they have nailed it.

This non-alcoholic Munich Helles is on point, won loads of awards, and tastes better than the real deal.

Like they say, “it’s time for non-alcoholic lager to not be sinfully bad”.

If they keep on making them like this, then I wholeheartedly agree.

Non-alcoholic Dark Lager

Shitake non-alcoholic Dark Lager by Fungtn

It’s got to be the Shitake Dark Lager by Fungtn Brewing.

Not only is it bursting with flavour, it’s brewed with Shitake Mushrooms to give you amazing health benefits.

Adaptogens like the Shitake Mushroom bring so much goodness.  We’re talking Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Zine, Eritadenine, sterols and beta-glucans to really give your immune system a healthy boost.

Who knew a good Dark Lager could do so much for you while tasting so damn good.

Non-alcoholic Pilsner

Lo Tide non-alcoholic pilsner

What would a non-alcoholic list be without something from Lo Tide.

One of our favourite pilsners right now is the Forgot to Take My Pills.

It’s hoppy, bursting with flavour, and full of depth.

If you’ve been buying your non-alcoholic lagers or pilsners from the supermarket, then prepared to be blown away by the full Lo Tide range because they are banging.

In fact, you’ll probably not want to go back to drinking alcohol after experiencing this.  

Non-alcoholic Wines

99% of non-alcoholic wines are terrible.

There’s no such thing as a non-alcoholic wine, just like there’s no such thing as a Vegan Chicken Nugget.

I was a big wine drinker, the type who went to St Emillion in France and bought Grand Cruz wine direct from the wineries.

I savoured that wine with dishes like Duck a l’orange.

Right now, there’s nothing out there to change my mind.  And anyway, what’s the point in a non-alcoholic wine?  Just drink something completely different so you’re not constantly reminded of the real deal.

I’m happy for people to try and convince me otherwise, but for now, I’m yet to find a non-alcoholic wine that’s any good.

However, these would be my choices as an alternative.

Non-alcoholic White Wine

Cairn O Mohr non-alcoholic sparkling Elderberry wine

It has to be the Elderflower Sparkling Drink by the Scottish Winery Cairn o Mohr.

What I love about these guys is that they don’t try to be a non-alcoholic Chardonnay, or Prosecco.

It’s just an award-winning sparkling Elderflower drink that is great tasting and can easily be your alternative if you were a white wine drinker.

Non-alcoholic Red Wine

Cairn O Mohr non-alcoholic Elderberry Wine

It has to be the Elderberry Sparkling Drink by the Scottish Winery Cairn o Mohr again.

It’s exactly the same vibe as their Elderflower drink, but I would recommend going with this one if you were a red wine drinker.

And, it’s also award-winning.  

Non-alcoholic Rose

Bemused Wild Raspberry Rose non-alcoholic Mead

Time for something completely different.

I’d be recommending the Wild Raspberry Rose Sparkling Mead by Bemuse.

It’s super difficult to make non-alcoholic mead, but these guys have nailed it.

Even better, it tastes great.

Made with Spanish Orange Blossom Honey, this Wild Raspberry Rose Sparkling Mead is  zingy, refreshing, and perfect for any occasion.

Kombucha as a wine alternative

Picture of awesome Kombucha

When me and my partner stopped drinking alcohol, we were really disheartened by the non-alcoholic wines out there.

Then, we discovered Kombucha.  And quickly realised we’d found our wine alternative.

Prosecco Friday is now Kombucha Friday.

There’s so many good ones out there.

But, I’d definitely be recommending anything by You + I, Leftfield Kombucha, Boo Chi, or Momo as your go to kombucha when it comes to something different to wine.

You don’t find this level of Kombucha on the supermarket shelves.  So don't be put off giving these a whirl if you've only had what's sold in the supermarkets.

Non-alcoholic Spirits

There’s a lot of Botanical Spirits out there that either taste weak, or of nothing at all.

And then there’s those that taste great, and you can always trace it back to who and how it’s produced.

Most of the Botanical Spirits you see on the supermarket shelves are cobbled together ingredients packed in a co-packing facility.  

In fact, there’s not that many Botanical Distillerys out there doing it for real.

However, there is one out there flying the flag for the real deal, and it’s our go to spirit of choice right now.

Bax Botanics

There’s two of them.

Bax Botanics Spirits

Verbena -  a lovely mix of lemon verbena, mint, fennel, and subtle florals distilled together to make a zingy, refreshing gin like drink that goes great with tonic and a curl of cucumber.

Sea Buckthorn - a lovely mix of sea buckthorn, blood orange, rosemary and dry spice distilled together to make an aromatic gin like drink goes great with a tonic and a twist of orange zest.

What I love about Bax Botanics is the versatility, especially when you start creating Kombucha Cocktails with them.

Summary

I’ll keep this section short.

The long and short of it is there’s so many great non-alcoholic drinks out there to keep you going throughout the Sober for October challenge.  And there's a lot of drinks you’ll want to keep on going with once the challenge is done.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it should give you enough food for thought when it comes to exploring the non-alcoholic world.

And hopefully this list will save you from some of the naff that's out there in the supermarkets.

To keep up to date with the real non-alcoholic world, but what's being pushed by the big drink companies or supermarkets, then make sure you're subscribed to our email list and follow us across Instagram and Facebook.

Why?

Because it's the small craft brewers across the UK that are really building the non-alcoholic world.  It's where the innovation and great tastes are found, and it's super important that we support them.

If we don't support them, then we're stuck with the dusty Becks Blues in the corner of the local pub fridge.

Help me, to help you, to help the innovators, creators and disruptors.

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