Best buys |  Jukes Cordiality 6

Best buys

Jukes Cordiality 6

Of all the alcohol-free products I’ve tasted recently - and I’ve tried a lot - this is the most ingenious. It’s not a full-size bottle for a start but a smart looking box of phials - 9 of them - each containing 30 ml of a concentrated cordial you dilute 10 to 1 (or to taste) with still or sparkling water or tonic.

The base is cider vinegar and brown sugar then there are other fruits to give them the character of a red or white wine respectively - appropriately enough as Matthew Jukes is a well known wine writer.

I must say he’s got pretty near to nailing the red wine alternative (6) which is based on blackcurrants raspberries, strawberries and plums - classic descriptors for a red wine. I prefer it at room temperature though than, as suggested, over ice and with still water rather than tonic which makes it too sweet for my taste. It also looks pretty good in a large wine glass.

The white wine lookalike (1) which tastes to me of yellow plums and apricots is based, according to the label, on peach, cucumber, plum, apple and pineapple. This does taste good over ice though again I prefer it with water than with tonic. It's a nice drink but less 'winey' than the red.

I'm impressed that the ingredients are natural - and natural-tasting too - and if you're watching your weight, at 18 calories per 100ml (diluted), it's reassuringly low in calories too.

The downside is the cost of £35 a box (from Matthew's website) although if each phial serves 2 you would actually get 18 servings out of it which works out at £1.95 a glass. Cheaper than going to a wine bar - and it would make a very nice gift to help a non-drinker through dry January.

I received the two gift boxes as a free sample.

For more ideas for alcohol-free drinks check out my new book How to Drink Without Drinking.

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