Views: 0 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-03-18 Origin: Site
What is Low-Alcohol Wine, Beer and Cocktails?
What exactly do we mean when we say low-alcohol, though? It depends on the drink and, in some cases, the drinker.
For wine, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) defines low as under 11%, medium from 11–14% and high as over 14% abv. But there’s no set standard for what constitutes “low” in spirits, cocktails or beer.
Session beers are lighter beers that have a quality U.K. drinkers call “moreish” . For him, session beers have 2.5–4.5% abv compared to the 5% in average mass-market American lagers.
At 4.5%, you can have full beer flavor, but avoid moving things along too quickly. A stout is a traditional session; it tastes substantial, but only has about 3.8% abv. Fifteen years ago, the average craft beer fan wasn’t interested in session beers; they seemed to offer ‘less bang for the buck,’ just like kabinett Rieslings at 8% in the wine world.
In cocktails, there are no official regulations around abv. Many popular cocktails, like Gin & Tonics and Moscow Mules, are close to 10% abv, since they’re mostly mixer with just one shot of alcohol. His canned Paloma, a mix of grapefruit soda and tequila, is 10.6% abv. He notes that the Scotch highball, a popular Japanese cocktail currently making the rounds at hip U.S. bars, also tends to clock in around 10 or 11% abv.
An “upside down” drink is another way bartenders lower the proof in a classic cocktail. Instead of building a Manhattan with two parts rye and one part sweet vermouth, some flip the proportions and use two parts vermouth. It’s the same idea behind the 50-50 martini, made with equal parts gin, white vermouth and orange bitters. Because most gins have circa 80 to 94% abv, and vermouths clock in at 15 to 18% abv, this lowers the overall alcohol level of the drink.
You see a lot of industry people ordering their martinis that way. It’s delicious when you have a great vermouth and a great gin.
Even the meaning of the word “spirit” is in flux. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists 14 meanings for the noun spirit, including distilled alcohol. And those meanings have expanded in the past few years, as more and more non-alcoholic distilled spirits like Seedlip have come onto the market.
“What defines a spirit?” says Geyan Surendran, head of research for Three Spirit, a line of zero-proof functional aperitifs. “In Europe, the E.U. legislates that a spirit is anything over 15% alcohol derived by distillation.” But, in Russia and the U.K., a spirit is typically 37.5% alcohol. And in the U.S., a spirit is at least 40% abv.
While Three Spirit doesn’t include a drop of alcohol, it’s classified as a spirit by the International Wine and Spirit Competition. The functional drink still offers a head change thanks to a range of botanicals including schisandra berry, rhodiola rosea and tulsi. Others in the space, like Aplos and Artet, use CBD.