During Dry July, I’m not sure if I miss the Alcohol or the ritual of a drink around 5pm. My Cold water- swim pal Colleen Champ mentioned NON- the new Zero-Alcohol wine – I found it at Piss and Vinegar on Enmore Road.
This about NON from Broadsheet.
Australia’s top restaurants are now putting just as much thought into non-alcoholic drink pairings as their wine matches. Melbourne label Non is making bottled, booze-free drinks of that calibre, and they’re now available in some of the country’s best venues.
NSW native William Wade, like many chefs, wanted to work at the world-class Noma in Copenhagen. So he hit up chef/co-owner René Redzepi on Instagram, and soon found himself in the Noma kitchen. There he was in 2015 – juicing for the non-alcoholic drinks pairing, one of the first of its kind. And he hated it. “It was so fucking tedious,” Wade tells Broadsheet.
But four years later he’s building on that foundation for his just-launched venture, Non – with business partner Aaron Trotman – a zero-alcohol wine alternative made in Melbourne that channels the boundary-pushing non-alcoholic drinks pairings gaining traction in restaurants worldwide.
Those doing it best in Australia include Attica in Melbourne, Biota Dining in Bowral and Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney.
Trotman had the idea; Wade had the know-how. They met serendipitously through Wade’s brother (who runs psychedelic ayahuasca retreats – Trotman’s done a few). The question was: could they create a restaurant-calibre beverage, bottle it so it’s ready-to-drink, and market it successfully?
More of us are drinking less, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “But there aren’t a lot of refined, complex alternatives [to alcohol],” Trotman says. Lemon, lime and bitters no longer cuts it for the savviest teetotallers (and Dry July-ers). Non-alcoholic booze is on the uptick, though.
UK-made Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit, has “done the heavy lifting”, says Wade. “Any good bar or restaurant has a bottle.” There are also homegrown versions such as Brunswick Aces’s gin-without-the-gin, and non-alcoholic craft beer by Indigenous-owned Queensland brewer, Sobah. But Non is in a category of its own – “So we can do whatever the fuck we want”, says Wade.
Technically it’s a tisane (an infusion of dried fruits, herbs and spices in hot water), which – despite the emergence of kombuchas, shrubs and sodas on bar menus – we haven’t seen pitched as a non-alcoholic wine alternative before.
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