Non alcoholic and alcohol free gin is exploding onto the market currently. There already was a large craft gin market and that has collided with the alcohol free movement to produce some exciting gin drinks. There are now many reasons to try alcohol free gin.
Ive collated 11 different and huge reasons why someone may want to switch from regular to non alcoholic gin. Each point isn’t for everyone but i would be shocked if you don’t find a reason that appeals to you.
Have a read, click through to separate articles on some of the biggest topics and start trying some delicious non alcoholic gins!
1. The taste
Lots of reasons will get you to try a drink, there is usually only one that will keep you buying it. That is the taste! It needs to be on point or its a single try, lost customer.
Ive sampled a good few non alcoholic and alcohol free gins at this point. Some include…
- Tanqueray 0.0%
- Gordon’s 0.0%
- Clean Co Clean G 0.5%
- Seedlip Grove 42 0.0%
- Sipsmith Freeglider 0.5%
And i have to say, hand on heart, they are brilliant! Ive done plenty of direct taste tastes with these and alcoholic gins and whilst you can usually pick the alcoholic one it doesn’t detract that the non alcoholic one is a brilliant drink, full of juniper gin taste. What’s more, whisper it, i think i actually prefer the non alcoholic ones on taste as well as all the other factors. High praise indeed.
Ive undertaken a comprehensive review on the non alcoholic gins and what they taste like. Ive compared them to their alcoholic counterparts but also reviewed them in their own right. If you want see what i think its the best of the best then have a read here.
2. Lower calories = smaller waist
This is a huge topic all on its own, not least for me and my ever expanding dad bod!
One of the big reasons to change to non alcoholic gin is that it considerably lower in calories. Does that mean it helps you lose fat and weight?
Non alcoholic gin has far fewer calories than alcoholic gin. It contains around 5% of the calories of regular gin but don’t have the metabolism slowing effects of alcohol which further exacerbates the calorie difference. This means you have less free energy to convert to fat.
The USDA state a standard measure of gin (and all distilled spirits) has 97 kcal per 1.5 fl oz (44ml). We can use this as a decent generic reference point to start from.
I know there will be a large range within the craft gin world with lots of new flavours, additives and alcohol contents but it acts as a good surrogate for comparison.
We can look at 2 household name regular gins with their alcohol free alternatives as well as some of the other up and coming low/non alcoholic offerings.
- Tanqueray Export
Low/Non alcoholic and alcohol free gins
- Gordon’s 0.0%
- Tanqueray 0.0%
- Seedlip 0.5% (not technically gin as different botanicals than juniper)
- Clean Co Clean G 0.5%
|Gin||Kcal count per 1.5 fl oz||% of calories||% of calories saved|
|Standard USDA measure gin||97||100%||0%|
|Tnaqueray Export 43.1%||105||108%||-8%|
|Clean Co Clean G 0.5%||12||12%||88%|
Well those results are categoric aren’t they. Non and no alcohol gins have just a fraction of the calories and some have zero calories! That is outstanding.
Quite clearly if you are a regular gin drinker, then swapping some or all of your drinks to a non alcoholic alternative will have a huge calorie saving.
A full article on gin and mixer, their calories and sugar content is available here
3. You can drink and drive
One of the advantages of drinking a non alcoholic beer, wine, gin etc is that you can probably drive ok after a few cant you? They do all contain at least a bit of alcohol though so are they safe and how many of them can you actually drink?
How many measures?
You can reasonably drink up to 3000 measures of alcohol free gin (<0.05% ABV) without increasing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%!
Various factors such as size, age, sex and medical history will have an effect on the exact amount you can drink. Different strengths of non alcoholic drinks will have other limits as well.
In the USA, the federal limit of to drive is a blood alcohol concentration of under 0.08%. This equates to the 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in the UK. But how many drinks gets you to a 0.08% BAC and further, can you even drink that?
A commercial driver must have a BAC of under 0.04% and a level of 0.02-0.04% means they cant drive for 24hrs.
In some states there are zero tolerance laws meaning anything from 0.00-0.02% can be illegal if you are under 21 (the legal age to drink)
|Category of driver||Allowable BAC|
|Under 21||Either 0 or <0.02%|
Standard drink vs BAC
It is generally understood that on average, 1 standard drink will increase your BAC by 0.2% so you may need up to 4-5 standard drinks to get to a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.
Although, if you are a small woman, then you will need a lot lot less than a 300lb man.
If we look at the 1 Standard Drink equivalent then you can see you would need drink x75 0.5% gin measures (non alcoholic) or x750 0.0% gin measures (alcohol free) in an hour to have the same effect.
|1.5 0z measure of gin by ABV %||US/Canadian Standard Drinks|
|37.5% Regular Beer||1|
|1.2% Low alcohol||0.032|
|0.05% Alcohol free||0.00133|
For such an important topic i’ve written a full blog on drinking alcohol free drinks and driving here
4. Safe in pregnancy
Understandably, pregnant mothers want to do everything possible to protect and nurture their unborn child.
There are many food and beverage rule to try and follow. One of these that everyone knows is that you should trying avoid alcohol.
Im going to take a look at if alcohol free drinks are safe in pregnancy and why you should avoid alcohol when pregnant
In general, alcohol free drinks are safe in pregnancy. They have had their alcohol removed to a level below 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV) meaning it is not physiologically active. If you compare that to a glass of fresh orange juice with an ABV of 0.5%, you can see that an alcohol free drink has less than 10% the alcohol of orange juice. You can drink 750+ measures of alcohol free gin before it counts as 1 US Standard Drink.
Alcohol can affect pregnancy in lots of different ways.
- there is an increased risk of miscarriage
- foetal growth can be restricted
- the foetal brain can be underdevelopment
- there is an increased risk of preterm labour
- stillbirth risk increased
- can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- baby can be more prone to infections
in view of the risks above, most worldwide guidance is that no level of alcohol is considered safe despite the recognition that low levels of alcohol will likely cause no issues. The safest option put forward is to abstain from alcohol.
|Regional advisor||Specific advice||Additional comments|
|RCOG (UK)||There is no “safe” level of alcohol||low risk of harm with small amounts of alcohol|
|Department of Health (Australia)||There is no “safe” level of alcohol||low risk of harm with small amounts of alcohol|
|ACOG (USA)||There is no “safe” level of alcohol||Serious harm unlikely if drinking before pregnancy discovered|
|Standard drink limit||Alcohol free wine limit||Alcohol free wine limit||Alcohol free spirit limit|
|Over 21 Driver||4||400||960||3000|
An abstaining pregnant mom who wants to avoid alcohol can look at the middle line.
0.01 = 1%, so 1% of a measure of gin is a few drops. Having spoken to many medical professionals, this level of alcohol would not be concerning to them.
For a full update on alcohol in pregnancy then read my separate blog on this important matter. It includes the amount of alcohol in other foods and drinks. Some are very surprising!
5. Safe in breastfeeding
Just like pregnant moms, breastfeeding moms want to do everything possible to protect their baby.
There are many food and beverage rules to try and follow. One of these that everyone knows is that you should trying to avoid alcohol if you can.
Let’s look at if alcohol free drinks are safe in breastfeeding and why you the recommendation is avoid lots of alcohol when you are breastfeeding.
What are the current guidelines from across UK, USA and Australia?
|Regional advisor||Specific advice||Additional comments|
|NHS (UK)||No more than 14 UK Units a week||Spread drinks over >3 days. Wait 2 hours after drinking until breastfeeding|
|Australian Breastfeeding Association||Drink less than 2 Standard Drinks per day||Non in first month then wait 2 hours post drinking|
|ACOG (USA)||Drink less than 2 Standard Drinks per day||Wait at least 2 hrs after drinking until breastfeeding|
In general, alcohol free drinks are safe in breastfeeding. They have had their alcohol removed to a level below 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV) meaning it is not physiologically active. If you compare that to a glass of fresh orange juice with an ABV of 0.5%, you can see that an alcohol free drink has less than 10% the alcohol of orange juice.
As with pregnancy, this is an important topic so i’ve dedicated a full blog to alcohol and breastfeeding here
6. You can’t get drunk
A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% is the level you can’t legally drive as you are “drunk”. This is also the level, in the US, where you are legally intoxicated. Let’s start with this number and work out what you need to drink to have that level of alcohol in your blood.
Of course this topic overlaps with the previous section on drink driving. The BAC end point is the same but it’s worth taking some more time to understand what exactly would need to be drank in a certain timeframe to get there.
If you drank 2 standard drinks over an hour, you would probably get your blood alcohol concentration up at the 0.4% level. At this level, you will still feel some effects of the alcohol, despite being under the legal intoxication threshold.
I will use this for the calculations to come.
|1.5 Fl 0z Measure of Gin by ABV %||x2 US/Canadian Standard Drinks equivalent||Drinks needed for same alcohol volume|
|37.5% Regular Gin||2||2|
|1.2% Low alcohol Gin||0.064||62.5|
|0.5% Dealcoholised/Non alcoholic||0.0267||150|
|0.05% Alcohol free||0.00267||1500|
So you can see for a 0.5% gin you would need to consume x150 1.5 fl oz measures to have the equivalent of 2 standard gins.
This means you’d need to be drinking one measure every 24 seconds for an hour. Imagine drinking a gin with a mixer every 24 seconds!
The numbers are even more ludicrous for the alcohol free version. Its really not humanly possible to drink x10 the previous numbers.
For more information and a lot more science explained then check out my research on the topic.
7. It is Halal
Observant Muslims must not drink alcoholic drinks, these are considered Haram. Are the new breed of non alcoholic spirits allowed under Islamic Law? Is alcohol free gin halal?
As a general rule, alcohol free gins can be Halal. The spirit needs to be 0.0% ABV for the strict Islamic Law to deem it Halal.
Many of the major spirit brands, mostly the gins, are launching non alcoholic ranges. Not all non or low alcoholic spirits are 0.0% ABV, meaning it is critical to read the label.
The Prophet Mohammad says in the Quran “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden. He who drinks wine in this world and dies while he is addicted to it, not having repented, will not be given a drink in the Hereafter.”
This can be a very complex topic with many variations across the Islamic world. In general, any alcoholic drink or drink that can get a person intoxicated is banned or Haram but there is variation in thinking on this.
A conservative view would be any amount of an intoxicating liquid is banned, even a mouthful. The phrase “even a drop” is used.
Where there may be differing practice is if an alcohol is <0.5% ABV and labelled as “non alcoholic”, can this be Halal?
It’s basically impossible to get drunk drinking this strength of alcohol. The volume of liquid you would need to drink makes it nearly impossible.
I know Muslim friends of mine who are happy that this is non alcoholic and that they can drink it.
The stricter approach, and the approach taken for Halal Certification is to only drink a liquid if it is “alcohol free” with an ABV of <0.05%.
8. The juniper health benefits
Gin is made from at the super berry juniper. Juniper is jam packed with antioxidants which help regenerate your cells and keep them looking young.
Alcohol can age the skin directly and on its action on your liver so the alcohol free gins are purpose made to get you glowing!
Another study found that the essential oils in juniper berries may have some anti-aging properties. The main benefit would be to help keep wrinkles at bay.
Hayfever and Asthma
In some people, just drinking an alcoholic drink can trigger asthma or hayfever symptoms. In others, it’s only certain alcoholic drinks that cause the issue.
The alcoholic drinks most likely to trigger an asthma attack or flare hay fever symptoms are all the wines (red, white, rose and sparkling), cider and beer. This is because they often contain high levels of sulphites or histamine.
Gin contains NO sulphites and a very small amount of histamine making it the perfect alcoholic drink if you have hayfever, asthma, itchy throat or a runny nose.
Non alcoholic and alcohol free gin gets to advance this one further. It contains no sulphites and very low levels of histamine but has no or very low levels of alcohol. This makes it the perfect non alcoholic drink for asthmatics and hayfever sufferers, period.
For a full list of 9 surprising health benefits of non alcoholic gin, read my article on them here
9. You can fit in
Nobody wants any awkward social situations when you are the only one not drinking alcohol. Whether thats out at a bar or at a friends dinner party, you can set yourself apart by drinking coke whilst everyone else is having an alcoholic drink.
You may be abstaining because you are driving, have something to do or just don’t drink alcohol for any number of reasons.
However, if you want to feel more part of the party with a more adult type drink, then non alcoholic gins might be for you.
You can fit in in different ways as well. Say for instance you have a lot of kids at your house for a party and, probably rightly, you might not fit in if you are sipping a big gin and tonic whilst trying to look after them!
However there is no issues with drinking an alcohol free gin whilst you supervise.
10. Perfect for the elderly
Alcohol is not the the friend of the elderly. As you get older you are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. One of its main side effects with the elderly population is it can cause an already deteriorating balance to get worse. Having a fall can be the unintended consequence of a drink.
The elderly are also at increased risk due to the increased medication you can end up on. A lot of medications can interact with alcohol and effect your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk of falling.
If you fall as you get older, it has an increased risk of injury. This of course can be fractures or worse, a bleed in your head if you hit that.
Frailty fractures like breaking you neck of femur (hip) and proximal humerus (top of arm/shoulder) should be avoided at all costs as they come with a heavy morbidity and mortality.
Alcohol free gin can be the perfect substitution. It is packed with lots of flavour, able to enjoy gin on your own or with friends and family and no increased risk of a fall and possibly a hip fracture.
11. For building in alcohol free days
Data, evidence and recommendations constantly change, especially in the medical world.
Guidelines for alcohol consumption are no different. In the UK, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends “several” alcohol free days a week, i presume this means 2-3 at least. The Australian government have gone for 2 alcohol free days per week. The US government doesn’t recommend that you consume all your weekly alcohol allowance in one single binge, or in a couple of days.
So if you need to have alcohol free days but want a drink of gin, step forward the non alcoholic gins! You can choose from 0.0% alcohol free versions are just that, alcohol free.
I’ve written extensively about how these beers can’t get you drunk, how many you can still drink and drive and how little alcohol they have. The math is done for you!