When you're off full-fat alcohol, perhaps wanting a little more taste and a little less booze, we have the classic-with-a-twist cocktail alternatives. After all, on a summer's evening, there are few things more tempting than a refreshing cocktail. Whether at a barbecue, lounging in the garden or luxuriating in a long evening at the beach, you might well be tempted to knock back a conventional cocktail or four. Only to feel it the next morning. Luckily the high-style low-alcohol cocktail, with some help from the experts at Decem, is here to help. All of Decem's meticulously crafted low-alcohol spirits are made in England with natural ingredients. Read on for our take on Decem plus nine irresistible low alcohol cocktail recipes using the brand's spirits.
While I love a classic Negroni or vodka tonic, I've been trying to lower my alcohol intake, simply for the sake of improved overall health and not-so-nasty hangovers. I'm not ready to swear off the booze completely, so a low alcohol option suits me perfectly – which is where Decem comes in.
I'm a fan of bitter cocktails (see my above profession of Negroni obsession), so I ordered a bottle of the brand's Aperitif – which is formulated to create a "lip smacking bitterness". It's made using a special combination of botanicals, including wormwood, rowan berries, burdock root and fennel, which are macerated for two days before being blended with real fruit juices.
I was impressed with the decidedly contemporary branding and sleek glass bottle, which elevated my drinks trolley's aesthetic immediately. But it was the taste that most excited me. Decem recommends serving a 50 ml serve of chilled Aperitif with ice, 100 ml of sparkling wine and a dash of soda water – so that's exactly what I did. The result was a complex, refreshing flavour without the usual overpowering taste of alcohol that's all too common in classic alcoholic cocktails. The bitterness was certainly there, but it was nicely balanced out thanks to the addition of tart strawberry and sweet grape.
I intended on enjoying my Decem cocktail as a single pre-dinner drink, but proceeded to have three. The best part? I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy the next morning.
Low alcohol cocktail recipes
Key here is Decem's Spiced Blend, made with Caribbean rums - then, with added spice and other natural flavours, steeped for two days, with alcohol cut back to 10%, just a quarter of most premium rums. To enjoy yours: squeeze the juice of two lime wedges into a favourite highball glass, drop two more lime wedges into the glass, add loads of ice. Pour in 50 ml Decem Spiced Blend, stir in 100 ml cola. Sit back, sip and think of the tropics.
Another way that Decem's Spiced Blend adds new a take on an old classic. To make two: fill a shaker with ice, add 150 ml Decem Spiced Blend, 25 ml lime juice and 25 ml ginger syrup. Shake vigorously with as much style as you can muster, until the mixture is well chilled. Strain into appropriate glasses - we'll leave that bit to you - and the finishing touch: garnish with a cube of ginger on a cocktail stick.
Every summer party needs a mojito, yes? Decem's Spiced Blend means more flavour, less knockout kick. For your first pair, take a cocktail shaker and add a quartered lime, eight pineapple chunks, 12 leaves of mint and a tablespoon of demerara sugar. Shake a little. Add crushed ice and give it a proper shake. Pour into highball glasses and top up with a little pineapple juice. Garnish? Pineapple wedges and a finishing sprig of mint.
Here we're using Decem's London Dry, made with botanical ingredients, steeped and distilled: full of flavour and just 10% alcohol. For two Tom Collins cocktails: heat equal parts sugar and water to create a sugar syrup. Cool. Fill highball glasses with ice, add 50 ml Decem London Dry to each, then 25 ml lemon juice and 25 ml sugar syrup. Stir. Add soda water to taste - 125 ml is ideal. Recommended garnish: lemon slice and a cherry.
Often over-looked, a delightful summer option. To make two: first make a sugar syrup by heating equal parts sugar and water. Set aside to cool. Take a shaker, add 120 ml Decem London Dry, 60 ml lime juice, 40 ml of the cooled sugar syrup and then top up with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into dainty coupe glasses - any others will do, of course - and garnish each with a thin slice of lime, cut to fit over the rim of the glass.
No longer will your third Martini have you on the floor. Taste is paramount here, as you'd expect. For two: fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Add 150ml Decem London Dry, 25 ml dry white vermouth and 50 ml olive brine. Stir until your mix is chilled. Strain into martini glasses. Garnish with olives on a cocktail stick.
Time to reach for Decem's Aperitif, crafted from botanicals, with tart strawberry and grape adding notes of dry fruitiness, 10% alcohol by volume. For two Garibaldis: take a pair of highball glasses and fill with ice. Pour 50 ml Decem Aperitif into each. Top with 150 ml orange juice to taste. Stir a little. Serve with orange wedge on top.
Sheer liquid indulgence. To make two: fill a large mixing glass with ice. Add 50 ml Decem Aperitif and 50 ml sweet red vermouth. Stir gently until the glass feels cold to the touch. Strain into your best Champagne flutes and top up with a dash of Champagne - or other sparkle - in each. Drop a strawberry slice in each glass for a bubbling finish.
Something a little different and, Decem tell us, more than a little tasty. In each highball glass: add 330 ml low alcohol premium lager to 50 ml Decem Aperitif. Stir briefly and gently to mix. Serve to general delight.