Non-alcoholic drinks are kind of having a moment, one that goes beyond the hvid Januar, or “dry January” crowd. Sales of low and non-alcoholic drinks are at an all-time high and are expected to grow globally over the coming years. Hashtags like “sober curious” and “mindful drinking” trend on social media, while listicles are compiled detailing the best spots for booze-free fun in major cities. Even Denmark, a country so famous for overindulging that it’s perhaps the only place in the world that Thomas Vinterberg‘s Druk could be set, is starting to embrace the potential of low and non-alcoholic drinks.
Over the past three years, a handful of Scandinavian brewers, fermenters, and distillers have launched their own alcohol-free drinks – both to regional and international critical acclaim.
These are the best Scandinavian low and non-alcoholic drinks, so you can skip the hangover without skipping the taste:
Danish founder Morten Sørensen created ISH Spirits after completing a 100-day alcohol-free challenge. He set out to create what was missing from the Nordic market; a flavorful alternative for the “mindful drinker.” So, in 2018, GinISH and RumISH were crafted for use in the traditional gin and rum cocktails. The awarding-winning spirits are now carried in over 1,500 stores across Europe, with more countries, and continents, on the way.
To add to the collection, ISH Spirits recently launched a “ready to drink” range, just in time for the hot summer months. Their SpritzISH, a play on an Aperol Spritz, and GinISH & Tonic have already gained quite the following. If their colorfully minimalist packaging doesn’t grab your attention then their botanicals – like gentian root, quassia, and chili – will.
These bubbles are made with blended teas that have been fermented with a dash of white wine or grape must. Each batch is carefully hand-brewed by Jacob Kocemba, the co-founder and sommelier behind the Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company. Currently, there are five effervescent teas from a hibiscus sparkling rosé to a seasonal chai with hints of citrus, cardamom, and clove. A glass of Copenhagen Sparkling Tea has 5% or less alcohol by volume (ABV) and is served in 45 Michelin restaurants worldwide. Not bad, indeed!
Klint & Bro started as a passion project between friends Eddie Klint and Louis Bro. In just three short years, their fermented teas have become some of the best kombucha in the Nordics. In 2017, their first “solid brew” won ‘Best Beverage’ in Denmark’s biggest culinary competition, Sol Over Gudhjem. The following year, an exclusive Klint & Bro kombucha was served to MAD Symposium attendees like noma co-founder René Redzepi.
While the best way to enjoy one of their award-winning kombuchas it is to have a glass, and a bite, in their Nørrebro café. But for those who can’t physically stop by, they also sell a small selection of kombuchas through their webshop.
From Svaneke Bryghus on the Baltic island of Bornholm, comes a line of non-alcoholic, craft beers. Svaneke’s playfully named “Don’t Worry” line includes five brews: a brown and pale ale, pilsner, hemp ale, and a limited Christmas Julebryg. They’re organic, all Svaneke beers are, and prepared using a special strain of yeast to produce a low ABV. The Don’t Worry beers also have less calories than juice, milk, or sodas, but they’re not slim on taste, we promise.
Of course, Carlsberg, the fourth largest brewery in the world, would create a beer for the “sober curious” crowd. In addition to a non-alcoholic version of their classic pale lager, Carlsberg also produces Nordic alcohol-free beers. The Nordic Golden Brew is easily the most popular of the two, with its golden hue and pilsner-like freshness. The Nordic Ale is for those with a preference for a bit more hops. Both beers have less than 1% ABV.
Yes, the Danish cider giant is now brewing its sparkling drinks with zero alcohol. Flavors like apple and pear are available alcohol-free; as are the drier sparkling rosé and sparkling seccos, the “champagnes” of cider. Now you can enjoy these fruit-forward ciders without the next-day remorse.