So: the big question. What to drink when you’re not drinking?!

In this short Wine Blast Live, we share our favourite non-alcoholic concoction, one which goes some way to replicating the joy of wine. It’s based on Aecorn Bitter, which is made using (unfermented) English sparkling wine grapes mixed with botanicals, mixed with Fever Tree Aromatic tonic plus ice and orange.

We also share a few other options. Including ways to be ‘damp’ rather than dry – eg by choosing naturally lighter alcohol wines, and perhaps drinking a bit less of them too. Like Riesling, or Hunter Semillon, or a fabulous Sicilian Catarratto…(we couldn’t bring ourselves to do a whole episode of Wine Blast without some mention of proper wine!)

We touch on the evidence, which suggests a global trend towards increasing moderation on an ongoing basis rather than periods of abstinence. One of the reasons for this has to be the emergence of ambitious, high-quality non-alcoholic drinks over the last few years, a category which is growing fast (and includes the likes of Aecorn).

So: if you want a day off, our ‘Anti’ cocktail is a great option! Enjoy the pod.

ps and if anyone has any good tips on how to make a good cocktail garnish using orange peel, please help!


Get in touch!

Leave us a question, challenge or message with your own voice in seconds! Just hit record on SpeakPipe:

More on Dry Drinking

Here’s our full episode from Jan 2021 on Dry Drinking, with loads of facts & figures and recommendations – plus we share our intake diary!

Plus, here’s a link to that Wine Intelligence research we share in the podcast on the trend towards moderation.

The Anti – recipe

  • One double shot of Aecorn Bitter
  • Fever Tree Aromatic tonic water to taste – 250-300 ml works
  • Ice
  • Orange peel to garnish/drop in

Featured bottles

  • Aecorn Bitter, 50cl (£13-20, Amazon, Ocado)
  • Fever Tree Aromatic tonic (widely available)
  • Blurred Vines (£18.99 for 75cl, coming soon)
  • The Doctors’ Riesling 2019, New Zealand, 9% (£12.99, Dry Drinker)
  • M&S Hunter Valley Semillon 2017 (Tyrrells), Australia, 11% (sold out)
  • Fabrizio Vella Catarratto 2018, Sicily, 11% (sold out)


NB: Transcript is auto-generated by Headliner with some minimal editing – please excuse any mistakes!

Susie: Hello and welcome to Wine Blast Live, our short video podcast.

And in this one we’re going to be talking about non-alcoholic drinks, and making our favourite current non-alcoholic concoction.

Peter: Indeed.

But before we start, if you’ve got a wine question or challenge for us, please: we would love to hear from you.

Either leave a comment below on social media or on YouTube or leave us a voice message via the magic of SpeakPipe on our website, which is

And we would absolutely love to hear your favourite non-alcoholic options, too.

So remind me, why are we talking about something that isn’t wine, on Wine Blast?

Susie: That’s a very good question.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It does feel slightly like strange territory, but no, I mean, we did do a whole podcast on this, didn’t we?

Last year, last January?

Peter: It was called dry drinking, series 2.

Yeah. If you want to check that one out, there are loads of recommendations, facts and figures we we even shared our intake diary, which was a little bit scary.

Peter: We did which was a terrifying moment for any wine lover. You know, hard to go there, but good to do.

Susie: But no, I mean, I think I think we see this as the perfect complement to drinking nice wine.

Occasionally we all need the odd day off and we want to drink something good don’t we? Find the right product for us.

Peter: Absolutely and I think there’s been a huge amount of innovation and new brilliant products on the non-alcoholic front recently haven’t there?

Susie: Absolutely. I mean, even in the last year, the market has gone crazy hasn’t it?

Apparently a 30% uptick in sales and the market is now worth £200 million nearly, it’s a lot isn’t it?

Peter: It’s growing from a very small base as well.

Susie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But let’s think about it. We all hear Dry January, Sober October, even ‘NO’vember now.

Peter: See what they’ve done there…

Susie; It’s good isn’t it, amazing…

But I think, you know, in general, we’re feeling that people are moderating their drinking more than necessarily abstaining for a whole month, and that’s quite good.

Peter: Yeah. It is good. Apparently one in three of us wine drinkers are now actively moderating our consumption.

Susie: In general, not just in January or October.

Peter: Exactly: in general, especially being led by the under 35s.

And that’s from Wine Intelligence. So it must be true.

Susie: It must be.

Peter: I think a lot of this is led by the fact that there are, you know, some really really good products out there now for wine lovers to, you know, to drink and really, really enjoy.

You know, beer’s great. But something like this works really well.

Susie: Oh we love it, so this is our current favourite.

This is Aecorn Bitter, so it’s a very simple concoction, we call it the ‘Anti’ – ie ‘Aecorn and tonic’.

Anyway, we put in a double shot of the Aecorn Bitter.

We then put some ice and some lemon zest, not lemon – orange zest, orange zest and a bit of a fever tree Aromatic tonic.

Peter: We do, so this. It’s obviously based around, while you make this so elegantly throwing the ice in, and I’m going to talk you through it.

It’s based around Aecorn Bitter. Now, what’s nice about Aecorn bitter…

Susie: Tom Cruise eat your heart out.

Peter: The sister product is Seedlip, if you know that.

But it’s actually based on wine grapes, so this is grapes for English sparkling wine grown in Sussex, and they’re harvested quite early in the season around veraison, so they’re still quite unripe, but then they’re crushed and they’re blended with acorns.

Hence the name, and also other botanicals.

Susie: Weird that isn’t it but it obviously gives it a really nice bitter flavour.

Peter: Then you’ve got Italian orange. You’ve got grapefruit, bay leaf, Sancho Pepper, something called Quassia wood.

No idea what that is. Please write in. Tell us what it is.

English oak. So lots of stuff in there, and it’s a really nice bitter base.

Susie: And in terms of cost, this is about 15 to 20 quid from Ocado.

But you can get it cheaper on Amazon about 13 pounds.

Peter: It’s not cheap, for 50cl, £15 to 20 is quite a lot of money, even if you can’t get it cheaper on Amazon.

Susie: But then you are making quite a lot of drinks from it. You’re not going to drink it neat.

And then you add a bit of Fever Tree tonic, which, I don’t know, maybe about 50 p for a can.

Peter: Exactly. This was £1.80 for 500 ml. But important to say it’s the Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic.

Susie: So just let me talk you through it. There’s Jamaican pimento berries here. There’s Madagascan vanilla. Vanilla – I can’t speak can I?!

Peter: You can’t and you haven’t even been drinking! You need some wine.

Susie: Angostura bark is what I was trying to say.

Ginger, cardamom. So it’s got a lovely aromatic taste to it.

Peter: The ice is just for the sound and the orange rind garnish…please help!

If anyone can teach me how to do a proper orange rind garnish, send us in the video, teach us.

Susie: We’ve gone through a lot of oranges trying to make a decent garnish!

Peter: Another option is a product called Blurred Vines we’ve come across recently.

There’s two ‘wines’ we’ve got here. These are actually prototypes, they’re botanical drinks.

Susie: They’re non-alcoholic so they’re not wines are they.

Peter: They’re non-alcoholic. They use tea and fruit juice and ferments, they’re spritzy and flavoursome.

They’ll be coming out quite soon and they’re looking quite promising.

Susie: Obviously, the other option is to go for a low alcohol wine.

So one of the ones that we love is The Doctor’s Riesling, we’ve got it here, 9% alcohol from New Zealand.

It’s absolutely delicious.

Peter: Hunter Valley Semillon is another wine that’s naturally lower in alcohol, this one’s from M&S, absolutely delicious, very tangy, great for aging.

Susie: And then a kind of natural one that we’ve absolutely loved is the Fabrizio Vella Catarratto from Sicily.

That’s 11% alcohol

Peter: 11% alcohol but look at this colour! It’s amazing isn’t it, a naturally moderate wine, just check the label it’s all there.

Anyway, thank you for joining us.

Um, details are all on the show notes:

We’ll be back with more very, very soon.

But in the meantime, cheers!