Alcohol-free, but with a bite

Drinks firm puts non-alcoholic mixes in the spotlight

NON-alcoholic cocktails were the topic of the day when fruit purée producer, Funkin, held its first Innovation Lab event.

During the event, bartenders heard from Alistair Kelsey, of London bars firm Mr Lyan, and Ericka Duffy, who works with Edinburgh bars such as Bramble, as they discussed how cocktail techniques can be used for making non-alcoholic cocktails and which ingredients can be combined to mimic alcohol in order to produce drinks with the depth of flavour, mouth-feel and character that is present in alcoholic drinks.

Funkin ‘innovation champion’ and bartender Aiste Valiukaite was also at the event, creating three signature low or no-alcohol serves using ingredients made by the company.

Funkin is targeting the non-alcoholic segment, which it said is in growth as consumers are increasingly mindful of what they drink on a night out.

Andrew King, Funkin’s managing director, cited CGA figures which revealed 40% of cocktail drinkers will choose to not drink on a night out or for a portion of a night out.

He said: “Consumers don’t want to default to juice if they are not drinking.  We need to provide these customers with great-tasting, non-alcoholic cocktails, and Funkin is ideally-situated to do so by collaborating with its bartending network on this topic.

“Non-alcoholic cocktails should be an industry-wide initiative.

“While some bars are executing these extremely well, others are taking a bit longer to maximise on the sales opportunity.”

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Aiste Valiukaite’s suggested serves:


Coocoo’s Call

75ml seasoned cucumber juice
15ml dill water
15ml Funkin beetroot shrub
20ml Verju

Method: combine all of the ingredients in an ISI carbonator and carbonate using two CO2 chargers.  Serve over crushed ice in a julep tin.  Garnish with cucumber and tarragon.

Dim Light

30ml Italicus liqueur
25ml lime juice
15ml ginger syrup
Tarragon and thyme leaves
Sparkling water

Method: build the ingredients in a wine glass with cubed ice and top up with sparkling water. Garnish with thyme leaves.