Giving up booze all in the name of charity just got a whole lot more sophisticated thanks to 2018's World Class Bartender of the Year, Orlando Marzo, who has crafted a non-alcoholic cocktail in time for Dry July.
Forget fruit juices and sugary syrups. In the hands of Marzo, in a special collaboration with Mercedes Me, consumers can whet their appetite with a topnotch drink that might see you hooked on a sober life after-all.
Flavour over fuel
Marzo combines Seedlip Garden 108, the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit with Lemon Saccharum and aniseed myrtle, which is then infused with Mountain marigold and finished with Capi Sparkling Yuzu. It's available all month behind the bar at Mercedes Me.
"It's been a lot of fun creating a cocktail for Dry July in collaboration with Mercedes Me," says Orlando Marzo.
"Overall, I'm seeing a lot more bartenders putting more thought into non-alcoholic drinks on their cocktail lists too.
"For me, it's about not loading the drinks with too much sugar. Nobody wants to sugar load at a bar if they don't have to," he says.
Think of your health
Marzo says consumers are always looking for healthy alternatives at the bar – and Dry July is reason enough to kick start the good habit.
"We're finding aside from Dry July, there's more people not drinking due to religious restrictions, for better health and perhaps being a designated driver for their friends on a night out. What we're saying is we have created a cocktail that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out," says Marzo.
The renowned bartender, who used to work at Lume Restaurant and still consults for them, says a good bartender can handle the no-alcohol brief.
"The process of creating a booze free drink can still involve infusing, blending, macerating and using different teas and botanicals," he says. "And you can explore cold instillations to get the best botanicals inside the drink."
Also Joining the growing going-free scene is Lyre's.
The latest non-alcoholic spirit to enter the market just in time for Dry July was created by Zero Proof (that's friends and business partners Mark Livings, Mick Hall and Carl Hartmann). Their goal, to create an authentic cocktail experience without the hangover.
So if you're looking for a gin and tonic or an espresso martini alternative, Lyre's is where you can indulge without the risk of quality compromise where you can copycat the real tipple without the headache attached.
"We wanted to give people an alternative and a choice, not a sacrifice," says Lyre's co-founder Livings.
It took several years of product research and development, as well as product sampling to achieve a top-notch drop where flavour isn't compromised. What's more, Shark Tank's Andrew Banks was so impressed with the product he decided to invest in the company.
"The objective was for us to give bartenders and people who love cocktails a toolkit," says Livings.
"We have 13 variants with more on the way... We don't recommend that people enjoy these as a sipping spirit, but rather as a mixer or cocktail ingredient," says Livings, "That's where they really shine."