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seasonal tipples (without the guilt).

Guest Post by Ellie Campbell

I am writing this very special post right at the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (by the way, make sure you read this recipe for Easter mini egg and Malteaster bunny brownies on the one in a million chance you get too much chocolate). As it is the first holiday weekend of the year, there is no doubt those of us with an extra day or two off are going to make the most of it.

While I dread to think how busy it will get in supermarkets, I don’t begrudge anyone who was taking part in lent or watching the Kcals post-Xmas having a few indulgences this weekend. You might be thinking of loading up the trolley with your favourite tipples or not passing by the chance to get one of those giant boxes of beer that are slashed in price for weekends like this.

It will be tempting to crack open a beer or cider, especially if you’re spending all weekend in the garden. If your weekend breakfast/brunch is looking less like fancy avocado toast and more like a full-sized easter egg with a side of Galaxy Minstrels, you don’t want to find yourself a few drinks deep in the evening feeling completely lethargic. That’s why it helps to have some guilt-free drinks on the go.

Yes, you can still enjoy your favourite tipples and not have to worry too much about a sugar crash when someone cracks open a packet of mini eggs after you’ve had a full-on barbecue. Here are some of my picks for lovely drinks you can have this time of year without feeling guilty (or hungover) the next day, and how to curb bad habits to help avoid drinking too much.

Free beer? Oh, Alco-free beer!

It used to be that alcohol-free beers tasted like fizzy water where something went wrong. When the first lockdown happened in 2020, it seemed like everyone was drinking more. DrinkAware estimates that 22% of people here in the UK have been drinking more in the last year.

Luckily, many people have realised it can be a bit of a bad habit and curbed it by having more alcohol-free solutions in the fridge. There are some great alcohol-free beers available just now, with many tasting just like their original counterparts. Some of the best of the bunch currently available include:

  • Heineken Zero
  • Tennent's Zero
  • Lucky Saint
  • Brooklyn Special Effects (great for IPA lovers)
  • Mikkeller Drink'in the Sun

Obviously, every supermarket will have some but not all brands. My only not so secret tip for buying alcohol-free beer is to get bottles over cans. I don’t know what magic makes it so, but I think the carbonation in the bottles gives a similar mouth-feel to regular beer, while some cans still have the fizzy water feeling. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Gin How You Like It

There’s a gin flavour for pretty much anything these days. You name a fruit or herb, and you’re only a few clicks away from finding a matching bottle. Now, there are alcohol-free gins in supermarkets which you might like, but for their price, I feel some of them can be quite dear for what’s essentially a cordial with added oomph.

If you’ve seen the post featuring  14 must-try gin recipes, I’m going to recommend something radical; get a gin you’re not used to. Gin is quite adaptable, and playing around with flavours is the best way to find new things you like. I’m a big believer in loading up on fruit to get some of your five-a-day in there.

For anyone who isn’t the biggest fan of chocolate overload, treat yourself to a selection of different tonics. I put it like this; would you rather buy five different tonics for £5 to try at home, or spend £5 on one drink when the pubs open back up and regret your decision? It’s a guilt-free way to try something new!

Proper measurements

This last tip is where I think most people end up drinking too much at home and feeling guilty the next day; the “house” pour. Hands up, who is guilty of pouring their preferred tipple right into the glass without measuring properly? Get yourself a proper spirit measure/jigger. You might be surprised at just how much difference there is between what you’ve been pouring and what a true measure is.

Are you looking for more drinks inspiration?

All this talk of tipples made you thirsty? Then make sure you check out all the fantastic summer drinks featured on the blog. I’m sure there’s something there that will pique your interest!


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