What a year 2020 has been. In times of isolation (you have been isolating, right?) there were two popular activities to ride out the pandemic. The first is video games, which offer an easy escape into other worlds.
The other: drinking.
A survey published in May by Milieu Insight said that 45 percent of people living in Singapore interviewed said that they have been spending more than usual on alcohol. And while we don't have the stats, we're pretty sure that there was plenty of drinking during the year-end holidays.
But it's that period of "new year, new you" and all that jazz. Maybe you're tired of blacking out so much and finding someone else's blood on your person; maybe you want to 'reset' your temple so you cut out all the things that ails you—sugar; alcohol; cocaine. Thus, Dry January, where you abstain from everything alcohol-related.
Still, going teetotal doesn't help, especially when you're at the bar to socialise. When people find out that you don't think, they give you the same look that's usually reserved for people who a) aren't animal lovers b) do not want to have children c) eschew social media. There is an awkwardness. Like, we're Social Distancing Officers or something. (WE ARE NOT, OKAY? WE JUST LIKE WEARING RED POLO TEES.)
While we're unable to help those who fall in anti-animals-babies-Facebook categories, there is a way to feel included: simply hold a beverage in your hand.
But there are only so many Shirley Temples or Virgin [insert alcoholic cocktail here] you can order. So, why not go with the following?
Fancy a non-alcoholic aperitif? Homegrown brand, Melati, is one such drink that's inspired by Asian remedies. Taking cues from Indonesian Jamu recipes, Chinese medicines and Ayurvedic practices, Melati is made from 26 healing botanicals that increases blood flow, detoxify your liver, infuses your body with vitamins.
Only made from the good stuff, ingredients include raw cacao, ginger, sencha, red Kampot pepper and hibiscus. Melati uses cold extraction to pull out the botanicals individually for up to six weeks before the drink is blended. Made in batches of 500, the minimal output means for a quality product. Sure, it's called an aperitif but you can still have it during your meal. Have it on its own or mix it up with tonic water.
The name "Lyre" is named after the lyrebird, an Australian bird that is able to mimic natural and artificial sounds from its environment. But "Lyre" can also be a homophone for "liar" and its those two definitions that describe Lyre's range of non-alcoholic spirits.
Don't expect any distillation process in the creation of Lyre's line. Instead, the blending of natural essences produce the likes of Lyre's Dry London Spirit, which is a gin replacement or the American Malt, which is a bourbon replacement or the Italian Orange, which is a Campari replacement. If you've noticed, Lyre's can't legally or accurately call its products after the original. (Maybe it can go the Virgil Abloh route and put quotes around name of the drink.)
Our favourite from Lyre is the Coffee Originale, which is, of course, a coffee liqueur. It fakes the alcohol content but not the caffeine intake.
Holding the title of, "the world's first distilled Non Alcoholic Spirits", Seedlip was, probably, the first non-alcoholic brand we were familiar with when the rise for teetotalism started to pick up. Its entire line consists of three flavour profiles: "Spice 94" (peas and garden herbs), "Garden 108" (spices, citrus peels and barks) and "Grove 42" (citrus and spices). It's more expensive than the others on this list but, if you're interested, go for the brand's Garden 108 to start with.
You can buy Melati, Lyre's and Seedlip at places like Temple Cellars and Little Farms but for your one-stop shop, try Free Spirits. Its's Singapore's first alcohol-free bottle online shop.