Best buys | CEDER’S alcohol-free ‘gin’

Best buys

CEDER’S alcohol-free ‘gin’

I’ve been a bit sceptical about the alcohol-free gin category - or alt-gin, as I gather we must now call it - but this couple of products from a South African and Swedish husband and wife team trading as CEDER’S (which apparently has to be written in capital letters) are really quite impressive

There are two versions: Ceder’s Classic (sorry, Ceder's I really can't do all these caps) which is similar in style to a London dry gin and Ceder’s Crisp - juniper combined with citrus, cucumber and camomile - which has a dominant cucumber note.

The botanicals for the drinks, which include Buchu and Rooibos, are sourced from the Cederberg mountains of South Africa, blended with Swedish water and bottled in Sweden. They’re a bit cheaper to try than market leader Seedlip though still comparatively expensive at £20 a 50cl bottle - in Sainsbury's only at the moment. (Seedlip charges around £25-28 for 70cl though you can find it for less.) Interestingly the product has been taken on and distributed by Pernod Ricard, a sign of how seriously the drinks multi-nationals are taking the alcohol-free category.

The only downside is that if you dilute them as recommended (which I did with Fevertree naturally light tonic water) you don’t get much flavour of the base ‘spirit’. I would personally go for 1:2 Ceder's to tonic rather than 1:3 which again bumps up the cost. They recommend serving the classic with lemon and rosemary and the Crisp with cucumber and mint.

Incidentally Sainsbury’s is reporting a significant increase in sales of alcohol-free drinks over the past year, with no-alcohol wine in particular seeing a +42% increase. From a pretty low base, I suspect but there's no doubt demand is growing.

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