South Africans have seen many drinks trends come and go over the past few years. There was the heyday of craft beer, the classic G&T came back into style in a big way, and then the pink wine revolution saw rosé take the spotlight. But the latest drinking trend in South Africa takes a more sober-curious approach. No longer content with boring old soft drinks; the tee-totalling social butterflies have emerged from their cocoon as more discerning consumers with sophisticated tastes. Health-conscious consumers have a hunger for more innovative alcohol-free drink options, and the popularity of non-alcoholic spirits has indeed soared.
But, while most brands have dipped their toe into the pool of non-alcoholic spirits with the launch of an alcohol-free gin alternative, one brand is taking no prisoners by offering something for everyone. With an impressive range of 18 alcohol-free classic spirits, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits isn’t messing around.
The range includes favourites like American Malt (for Bourbon lovers), Dry London Spirit (a gin alternative), Spiced Cane Spirit (a spiced rum-like spirit), and Italian Spritz (an Aperol Spritz alternative) — giving consumers the ability to craft 90% of the world’s best-selling cocktails using absolutely no alcohol at all. With its wide range of spirit options, Lyre’s set out to replicate the most popular spirits globally in a non-alcoholic format, as close to the original premium volume spirit as possible. What’s more; the spirits in the range are also vegan, gluten-free, and ultra-low in calories.
Created by entrepreneurs Mark Livings and Carl Hartmann in 2019 Lyre’s has fast become the world’s most awarded non-alcoholic spirits brand. Not just a brand for pregnant women, designated drivers, and teetotallers; Lyre’s is determined to become a brand that you reach for whenever you’re in the mood for a social drink with friends and family. Besides the obvious health benefits associated with giving up drinking alcohol, Lyre’s is also about enabling people to stay in the social loop, and entertain guests, no matter their drinks preferences.
A taste of Lyre’s
Of course, I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, so I tried a few sober tipples from the range, including Lyre’s Pink London Spirit, Orange Sec, Coffee Originale, and White Cane Spirit. The first thing you notice about Lyre’s spirits is the flavour. While many non-alcoholic spirits leave little to be desired on the flavour front, Lyre’s has succeeded in replicating those familiar flavour profiles we have all come to love about our favourite spirits. I’m not sure how they’ve done it (the only logical explanation seems to be witchcraft) but I’m here for it!
The spirits in this range have distinctive premium flavour profiles that truly set them apart from the competition. It is these delicious flavours that make Lyre’s an easy swap, for the original alcoholic ingredient in all your cocktails and mixes. You won’t be reaching for the soft drinks at the braai with this stuff around, that’s for sure! What’s more, the familiar booze-style packaging (which will fit right in with the alcoholic bottles of gin, rum, and the like on the party table), also means you don’t have to draw attention to your low or no-alcohol decisions at a social gathering.
Sampling the Lyre’s range
The Lyre’s Pink London spirit is a brilliant alternative to floral-flavoured pink gins and offers one of the best true-to-taste experiences in a non-alcoholic gin I have tasted thus far. I used this Lyre’s spirit to make classic G&Ts with both sugar-free and traditional tonic water, and it paired beautifully with both. If you’re after a low-calorie, alcohol-free gin alternative you can enjoy at your next ladies’ lunch, then look no further. Non-alcoholic gins can be a tough sell, many of the options out there fail to replicate that ultra-dry, juniper berry-laden taste we all love so much about gin, but the Lyre’s Pink London spirit delivers a generous juniper-focused finish that will have your taste buds fooled.
The spirit is crafted with characters of juniper, rose, cherry, red berry and blackberry and has a floral rose petal like aroma to delight the senses with every sip. This delicious gin-like spirit can be enjoyed with a traditional tonic but also pairs well with lemonade or grapefruit soda for a refreshing daytime cocktail.
For white rum fans, the Lyre’s White Cane Spirit has been crafted to capture the essence of a gently aged white rum with flavours of oak, sugar cane, marzipan, orange, coconut and a delicate peppery finish. It’s beyond delicious when mixed with fresh lime, mint and a dash of soda water to create a Mojito mocktail.
This spirit is ideal for making non-alcoholic versions of your favourite white rum-based cocktails and is loads of fun to play around with! The spirit has a dry, crisp finish without being too overwhelming and is a great option for making fruity drinks for poolside sipping.
Ideal for winter nightcaps, Lyre’s Coffee Originale is a coffee liqueur lover’s dream come true. This unique spirit has been crafted to capture the essence of a rich and vinous coffee liqueur and does an excellent job of mimicking the real thing. Flavours of espresso, spice, caramel and toasted nuts are enhanced by a generous classic vanilla finish, for a truly exceptional sipping experience.
Enjoy it on the rocks, with a mixer, or add a tot or two to your favourite coffee drink or milkshake. For a sensational alcohol-free Espresso Martini, simply shake it up with Lyre’s White Cane, cold drip coffee and vanilla.
If you consider yourself a bit of a mixologist and want to play around behind the bar, then Lyre’s Orange Sec will allow you to do just that. The perfect zero-alcohol dupe for Triple Sec, this classic spirit has been crafted to capture the essence of an orange liqueur and is a must for crafting mocktails at home.
In this contemporary spirit, the freshness of orange is balanced wonderfully with the fruit’s natural sweetness. The generously flavoured Orange Sec offers a soft finish that lends itself well to whipping up all sorts of classic cocktails. Cocktails with Lyre’s Orange Sec are made easy when matching with other Lyre’s spirits. For example; for a Lyre’s Mai Tai simply mix it with White Cane Spirit and Dark Cane Spirit.
Where to find Lyre’s in South Africa
Lyre’s has launched an online store in South Africa with 13 non-alcoholic spirits available at R400 per 750ml bottle. Bottles can be bought separately or in cocktail sets for hours of mixology fun. The range currently available in South Africa offers plenty to discover for dark and white spirit fans alike.
Check out the full Lyres range here.