pseudomonas: (beer)
[personal profile] pseudomonas
Yay! A non-political post for once!

People who don't drink alcohol: what do you have in pubs? Do you all have sweet teeth? I'm an alcohol drinker, but a) I have friends that aren't b) I worry about a culture that stigmatizes non-drinkers c) I'm a lightweight so I will often want to be drinking something other than booze.

I'd kind of like to see drinks that roughly sit in the "beer" niche:

■ non-alcoholic
■ non-sweet-tasting* (at least less sweet than Coke or J2O)
■ "long" drinks, quaffable over an evening, ideally not hot.
■ moderately Exciting, more so than a cup of tea or a soda water
■ profitable enough for a pub to be happy selling it

At home I'm mostly drinking tea (black tea with milk, or fennel, or nettle) or water. I prefer sour/salty/umami/bitter flavours to sweet, on the whole; I see astringency (that mouth-drying property that you get from tannins in tea) as a good property for a drink to have. Spicy is good. Fizzy is OK too.

Some thoughts: Virgin Mary is a savoury-ish drink depending on its condiments; iced teas tend to be fairly sweet but needn't be so in principle; milkshakes likewise. If you go too far in the umami direction you end up with stock or soup, which is lovely but not very pub-ish. V8 I should probably try next time I'm somewhere that sells it, maybe that's what I'm after, but it's only one product. De-alcoholized beers ISTR as being fairly insipid, but it's been a while.

* (it's about the flavour, not the biochemistry, so I count Diet Coke as being just as sweet as Coke). I don't ask that such a drink be "healthy", just that it not be syruppy, although I'd prefer something that doesn't rot my teeth too much

Date: 2015-07-06 11:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
People I go to the pub seem to like Fentimans ginger beer; I don't myself, particularly, but from the sounds of it you might.

Date: 2015-07-06 11:31 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't think it is alcoholic at all (their website doesn't say it is, anyway) but that doesn't help with the sweetness.

Date: 2015-07-06 11:39 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
(Actually looking at the internet it seems like they might contain alcohol, but at the same level as things like Coca-Cola and 7-Up which also have recipes with use fruit which can ferment, so if you're okay with drinking Coca-Cola you should be okay with ginger beer, provided you like ginger beer, which, as mentioned, I don't).

Date: 2015-07-09 01:35 pm (UTC)
tig_b: cartoon from nMC set (Default)
From: [personal profile] tig_b
The amount of alcohol in Fentiman's is much higher than coke, fresh juice, etc. They keep it a minicule amount under the level where it would be officially alcoholic and have to be sold under licence.

Not acceptable to some of us.

Date: 2015-07-07 08:31 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
It is, IIRC, 0.5% by volume, possibly, but that's basically 'background fruit juice that's been stored' levels, it's negligible and you get the same amount from some slightly off fruits, etc.

Date: 2015-07-06 11:06 am (UTC)
emperorzombie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperorzombie
Usually lime and soda, which meets most of your criteria except not being massively exciting and possibly not that profitable. Or ginger ale. I'm told that Becks Blue is a good alcohol-free beer but lager-y not ale-y.

Date: 2015-07-06 11:26 am (UTC)
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashajwolf
I have similar preferences to you and usually order either slimline tonic water, or lime and soda. As for beer, the de-alcoholising process doesn't seem to fully remove whatever compound I'm allergic to, so I stay away from it altogether these days; but before I worked that out, I used to find Kaliber the most acceptable. "Most acceptable" to me in this context probably means "closest in taste to a good-quality German lager"; AFAIK, no-one does even a vaguely drinkable dealcoholised ale or stout.

Date: 2015-07-06 11:35 am (UTC)
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
I tend to go for lemonade + other ingredients - orange juice, lime cordial, they often have blackcurrant squash and similar too, other mixers etc to taste. The lemonade would probably be too sweet for you, but with soda water or tonic water might work?

Date: 2015-07-06 11:57 am (UTC)
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
They do definitely have sugar in, but by the time you've diluted them with something else, I don't notice them as particularly sugary? Especially not when combined with something like soda water, which I experience as significantly bitter.

Date: 2015-07-06 01:06 pm (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Hmm yes - I've always found pub drinks to be rather lacking in that area.

I find most sweet drinks to be too sweet for my taste (though I seem to have different tastes from you - I like diet coke as it tastes substantially less sweet to me than coke)

I like tonic water (with a slice of lime/lemon and ice) because it is much less sweet than other drinks, but it does not usually come in comparable sizes to beer. Ditto bitter lemon. Ginger beer is a bit hit or miss - many but not all of the non-alcoholic ones are ridiculously sweet.

You can enhance the flavour of several of these with angostura bitters (I think it would satisfy your criteria because you only use it in teeny amounts, so it wouldn't make you tipsy, but that is alcoholic so that's not suitable for people who are completely teetotal)

Date: 2015-07-06 01:09 pm (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Gah don't tell me things like that!

Date: 2015-07-06 01:13 pm (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Also:

no it isn't. Phew :-)

Date: 2015-07-06 02:19 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
I default to orange or grapefruit juice (with or without soda) and elderflower if it's available.

Date: 2015-07-06 02:31 pm (UTC)
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] nou
Before I switched to lime-and-soda, I used to ask for a grapefruit juice in a pint glass topped up with tap water. (The little Britvic bottles for preference - I think they're 160ml.) Not too sweet and also a nice long drink.

Date: 2015-07-06 03:15 pm (UTC)
ptc24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ptc24
This is getting away from the "not sweet" thing but grapefruit juice and lemonade is a good one. With or without lemonade GFJ has the whole "bitter" thing which might be what you're after.

Working P450s, who needs 'em?

Date: 2015-07-06 02:38 pm (UTC)
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
From: [personal profile] wildeabandon
Ramesh often drinks lime cordial and bitters topped up with lemonade, and finds the bitters take the edge off the sweetness, but if that's still too much you could substitute soda.

Date: 2015-07-06 08:12 pm (UTC)
alextiefling: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alextiefling
I was coming to suggest exactly this. R has excellent taste!

Date: 2015-07-06 08:43 pm (UTC)
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
From: [personal profile] liv
This is very good news, because when I was a kid my older relatives taught me to ask for lemon-lime-and-bitters in pubs and in recent years I've tried asking for it and just got funny looks. Lime and soda on its own is just too sweet, but if Ramesh can persuade pubs to serve him LLB then I should start trying again.

Date: 2015-07-09 01:42 pm (UTC)
tig_b: cartoon from nMC set (Default)
From: [personal profile] tig_b
ask for tonic?

Date: 2015-07-06 03:03 pm (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
My default is orange juice and bitter lemon.

Date: 2015-07-06 05:09 pm (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Ginger beer or lime and soda are my default choices in this space. The Mayflower did have a series of juices/cordials that were a bit more interesting and less sweet than usual; however, I find myself totally unable to remember who manufactured them or what they were.

Date: 2015-07-06 07:35 pm (UTC)
shreena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shreena
I really like Bavaria alcohol-free wheat bear. It's so nice, I often drink it just because, rather than because it doesn't have alcohol in it.

I also like bitter lemon.

Date: 2015-07-06 08:07 pm (UTC)
feanelwa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] feanelwa
I have stopped going to pubs because their non-beer drinks are shit, except on Sundays when the main attraction is a roast dinner. My order of preference goes: Fentimans something, fizzy apple, tap-water-fuck-you. If pubs had milkshakes it would be bloody amazing but too often they only have orange juice/battery acid, Schweppes sugar syrup fizzy multi-squirter, and J2Os in their tooth-rotting glory :/

Date: 2015-07-06 08:58 pm (UTC)
hairyears: (Escaped Moustache)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
On a day when I'm cycling or training, I order grapefruit juice and tonic.

Not grapefruit and soda: grapefruit and tonic.

That may be too bitter for you: it's pricy enough (especially as a double, which just fills a pint glass) that pubs have no objections serving it.

Date: 2015-07-07 10:16 am (UTC)
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moem
Alcohol-free beers have improved vastly over recent years, and may be better than you expect.

If/when your pubs start selling Club Mate or other djerba maté-based soft drinks, you might want to try that. They are refreshing and not very sugary, and have other interesting flavours, such as bitter/smokey.
Beware of the high caffein content though. But for many, that's a feature not a bug.

Date: 2015-07-09 06:12 pm (UTC)
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moem
Well, there you go! Give it a try and let us know how you feel.

We have a lot of different types/brands of this stuff in stock at our local hackerspace... my personal favourite is Flora Power which is pretty smokey in its aftertaste, but sometimes I opt for a MioMio which is light and fruity. Club Mate is somewhere in between, a decent standard mate drink, and the first one most people come across.

Date: 2015-07-07 08:36 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
These days I don't have a car so rarely worry about how much I drink (what I drink, yes, too much gluten in beer for more than a couple pints). But when I did, one thing I had (and would avoid now due to teeth issues) was a "Muddy Puddle", basically 50/50 Coke and Orange Juice, the sourness of the juice (make sure it's unsweetened juice) takes off the excessive sweetness of the coke.

But, it's very sugary, and has lots of citric acid, so not good for people with problematic teeth. Quite nice though (I like sour/bitter combos generally as long as neither is too much).

Date: 2015-07-09 01:41 pm (UTC)
tig_b: cartoon from nMC set (Default)
From: [personal profile] tig_b
I usually give up and go for orange juice (and frequently have to stop them mixing up fake juice squash instead).
If it's hot I drink tonic water mixed with juice. Or soda if my salf levels are OK/low.
Most places will let me have a slice of lemon - it improves most sweet drinks.
Grapefruit is off - it interacts with some of my meds.

If I can't face juice and don't want any sodium then I have coffee. And sip it like a long cold drink.
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