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Hot Tip: How to Improve Non-Alcoholic Red Wine

A secret to improving the flavor and mouthfeel of a non-alcoholic red wine

Non-alcoholic wines have a pretty bad rap for being overly sweet and "grape juice-like." And for good reason: there are a lot of awful ones out there, and it's very challenging to find an alcohol-free red that has a similar flavor and body to the real deal. I've found a couple reds I enjoy, like this Leitz Zero Pinot Noir or Noughty Syrah. But they are still a ways off from tricking me into thinking I'm having a "real" glass of vino in the evenings.

And then a hero comes along... All the Bitter non-alcoholic bitters. Several people recommended a few dashes of this in my wine to improve the complexity of the taste and structure. I gave it a try and here's what I found out.

Bitters and non-alcoholic wine review
Bitters and non-alcoholic wine review

First, I tasted the Aromatic bitters from All the Bitter on a spoon and was blown away by the flavor profile. Bold and spicy, loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The deep, earthy tones were excellent. I threw several dashes in, gave my wine a swirl and took a sip.

I was amazed. The intense spice and earthiness counteracted some of the sweetness of the wine, without diluting it. But it was more than that... the bitters actually changed the mouthfeel of the wine to emulate a tannin. Wine inherently has some bitterness to it, and adding a little extra bitters "bite" really complemented the glass.

I messaged a bit with the founders of All the Bitter, Ian and Carly, and they said the alcohol-free Aromatic bitters tone down sweetness and add earthy complexity to reds, while the New Orleans bitters lend nice fruity and tart undertones plus bright anise spice. They also recommended adding Orange bitters to a glass of non-alcoholic white wine. The amount depends on the wine and your preferences, so start with a dash and you can add anywhere from 1-5 drops per glass.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. I promise, you won't be sorry!

Watch me sample this bitters in my glass of wine on Instagram.


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