Part 3 of Drycraft’s Ultimate Guide to Enhancing Your NA Wine
Non-alcoholic wines can be a great alternative, but sometimes they can lack the complexity and depth of traditional wines. The good news is, with a few simple tips, you can enhance the taste of your non-alcoholic wine and make it more enjoyable. In this series, we'll cover seven ways to take your non-alcoholic wine to the next level. From adjusting serving temperatures to adding carbonation, we'll explore various techniques to improve the taste and texture of your wine.
Experimenting with Flavors
In this section, we will explore some tips and tricks to adjust the flavor profile of your non-alcoholic wines and address common flavor issues such as sweetness and lack of complexity. Adding a splash of vermouth or non-alcoholic spirits, a pinch of salt, or even a dash of fish sauce can enhance the taste and aroma of your wine. In this section, we'll explore our favorite tried and true tricks to help you create a unique and satisfying experience with your non-alcoholic wines.
Back when we were drinking normal wine, some of our favorites were the funky Cotes Du Rhone wines that sometimes sommeliers described as having the essence of stinky socks, leather or tobacco. Not the most appetizing, but it usually meant there was some earthiness that set it apart from the juicy, fruit forward wines. Since non-alcoholic wines typically are more fruit forward, adding some of these extreme flavors can typically balance it out.
Melati is a great option for adding complexity to your non-alcoholic wines. The Classic Melati has an earthy and floral taste with hints of chocolate, making it a perfect addition to red wines. It's also a great option for those who want to add some sweetness to their drink without using sugar. Just add a few drops to your non-alcoholic wine, and you'll have a new depth of flavor that will keep you coming back for more. Overall, Melati is an excellent choice for those looking to elevate their non-alcoholic wine game.
Yondu is a plant-based seasoning that brings a complex, savory umami taste to any dish. Like a vegan dashi, it is made from fermented vegetables and soybeans and so it’s a versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of foods to enhance its flavor profile. Some producers like Acid League and Non are adding a japanese seaweed called Kombu in their recipes to up the umami and salinity in their drinks. Yondu brings something similar in liquid form so that you can simply add a couple drops to your glass to add depth and richness to beverages, providing an extra layer of flavor that elevates the drinking experience. Plus, it's a great option for those who follow a plant-based or vegan diet, offering a delicious alternative to traditional umami seasonings.
Red Boat Fish Sauce
Red Boat fish sauce is a popular condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine, known for its salty and complex flavor profile. While it is typically used in cooking, it can also be added to non-alcoholic red wine to bring out its natural flavors. The saltiness of the fish sauce can help balance out the sweetness of the wine, while also adding a layer of complexity to its taste. It is important to use high-quality fish sauce, such as Red Boat, and only use 1-2 drops to ensure that it does not overpower the wine with an overly fishy taste. Overall, adding a touch of Red Boat fish sauce to non-alcoholic red wine can create a unique and delicious drinking experience.
Other Flavor Enhancers
If funkiness isn’t what you go for, there are still plenty of ways to enhance their flavor profile without adding actual alcohol. One way is by using complementary NA products that can add minerality, fruit essence, and herbal qualities without turning it into a full on wine cocktail. By adding just a few drops of these other products, you can create a complex and well-rounded taste that's similar to traditional wines. Here are a few of our favorites!
For Fruit & Minerality:
Roots Divino makes both an aperitif bianco and an aperitif rosso. These are different that the other aperitifs you might find in that they aren’t super intensely bitter. Instead because they create vermouths that are enhanced with wormwood and other herbs, they lend a subtle fruitiness and anise flavor that can add some interesting notes to the wine. Plus since they are also wine based to begin with, the flavors don’t seem too out of place.
For Floral Notes:
Katy Perry’s De Soi is easy to hate on, but the products are surprisingly tasty. The Champignon Dreams varietal can add earthy, mushroom notes to non-alcoholic wine. While that may not seem like a traditional flavor, it really just translates to earthiness. Made with shiitake mushrooms and adaptogenic herbs, this elixir has a unique flavor profile that can add a subtle, yet complex layer to your beverage. Its herbal qualities can also complement the fruit essences and minerality of the wine, creating a well-balanced and nuanced taste. Meanwhile, De Soi's Purple Lune varietal is a versatile ingredient that can add a range of flavors to non-alcoholic wine. The unique blend of blueberry, juniper berry, and lavender creates a fruity and floral profile that can complement a variety of non-alcoholic wines. The blueberry adds a subtle sweetness and tartness, while the juniper berry provides an herbal and slightly piney taste. The lavender adds a floral note, which can contribute to a more complex and intriguing flavor profile. Adding a splash of Champignon Dreams or Purple Lune to your non-alcoholic wine can elevate its flavor and bring a touch of culinary sophistication to your glass.
For Additional Bitterness:
Bittersweet Aperitivo is a non-alcoholic bittersweet mixer that can add complexity and bitterness to non-alcoholic wine. It is made with a blend of botanicals and herbs, including gentian root, rhubarb, and orange peel, which give it a unique and complex flavor profile. The bitter notes of this aperitivo can enhance the natural fruitiness of non-alcoholic wine, while also adding an herbal and slightly floral quality. It can also help to balance out any overly sweet or one-dimensional flavors in the wine. When using Bittersweet Aperitivo in non-alcoholic wine, start with a small amount and adjust to taste, as it can be quite potent.
For Just Plain Minerality:
Pentire Seaward is a non-alcoholic spirit that is infused with a variety of botanicals sourced from the Cornish coast. Its unique flavor profile, which includes samphire, sage, and sea fennel, adds a subtle minerality to cocktails and mocktails. When added to non-alcoholic wine, Pentire Seaward can bring a refreshing, seaside taste that mimics the natural salinity of the ocean. The combination of herbal and marine notes in this non-alcoholic spirit make it an ideal ingredient for adding complexity and depth to non-alcoholic white wines, without adding any alcohol content. Of course, you can also add a pinch of sea salt as well, but it won't come with as much complexity as the Pentire.
The Bottom Line
Don't be afraid to experiment. Try adding a couple drops of something new here and there to enhance your non-alcoholic wine and you might find something unique that works for you. Test your flavor combo with a glass first. If you find a flavor combo doesn't quite work, it's not the end of the world—turn it into a wine cocktail and mask the flavor or just dump it out. You can always try a new flavor combo for your next glass!
Check back soon for the next article in this series for how to ensure you're getting the most out of your non-alcoholic wine!