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Non-alcoholic drinks shouldn't be boring

Zari Rooibos Refresher. Picture: Instagram

Zari Rooibos Refresher. Picture: Instagram

Published Jul 16, 2018


Have you ever ordered a non-alcoholic drink at a fancy restaurant and found that the best thing on offer is a soft drink?

Maybe you’re the designated driver, you’re pregnant or you simply don’t drink alcohol for religious or health reasons.

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Whatever your reason, you shouldn’t be limited to boring fizzy drinks in a can while the rest of your dinner party enjoys exquisite wine out of the finest glasses.

As more people become health-conscious, South Africa and the rest of the world have seen a growing demand for non-alcoholic drinks - whether it’s beer, gin or bubbly.

Local entrepreneurs and business partners Shareen Parker and Silvana Dantu have spotted this trend and are “disrupting the non-alcoholic market” with their brand of sparkling grape juice, Zari Sparkling Grape

“There is a movement towards alcohol-free,” Dantu says.

“People don’t get drunk on street corners anymore... so they want an alternative, but want it to be elegant.”

Then, of course, there is the Muslim market, which Dantu describes as notably emergent.

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“Globally, the halaal economy is worth $20 trillion,” she says.

In 2007, she set up a visitor’s centre at Cape Town Stadium, which saw more than 40000 visitors visit in preparation for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

“I noticed a number of our visitors are from the Middle East and China and the majority of them don’t consume alcohol.

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“This could be for health or religious reason, but we also know there is an emerging middle class from India, Dubai and Qatar.

“Their young people want to go to clubs and visit the best restaurants, but they want to be catered for,” she says.

While wine-makers have always been producing grape juice, Dantu says there was no quality non-alcoholic bubbly on the shelves.

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“You can’t go to a fancy function or wedding and have a fizzy drink and not an elegant drink in a glass,” she says.

“Zari is a sophisticated alternative to alcoholic bubbly, so you can still party with your friends without the alcohol.”

Made with 100% Cape Muscat seedless grapes, Zari comes in Noble Ruby Red and Royale Gold White. 

They are in the process of producing a Brut, which will be available next month.

Non-alcoholic drinks don't have to be boring Picture: Instagram (zarigrape)

The name is inspired by the gold and silver thread woven through Middle Eastern silk, which is called zari.

“It’s synonymous with quality and integrity so it’s a metaphor for us. It’s the most elegant brand,” she says.

Available in a cork bubbly and screw cap, this drink fits any occasion and even the kids can enjoy it.

Dantu also shared a few tips on ways to enjoy and how to prepare the 0% alcohol bubbly.

If you’re hosting a fun gathering at home, you want to do it out of an elegant glass, Dantu says.

- Dress your glass with a sprig of mint, a cut of lemon or a twirl of orange peel.

- Put your glass in the fridge to keep it cold,

- Add some salt or caster sugar around the edges.

Silvana’s tips for pairing:


- For a kids party: pair with nougat, chocolate brownies and caramel fudge.

- Charcuterie boards: take it up a level and pair it with biltong or salted cashew nuts. You can also add cold meat and cheeses. Blue cheese is particularly good with Zari because it’s quite sweet.

- High Tea: pair it with cakes - cheesecakes, caramel cake and fudge.

- Food: curry, peanut and satay sauce, chicken.

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