A good cocktail does not have to be overly boozy.
A good cocktail does not have to be overly boozy.

The rise of low alcohol by volume drinks

By Megan Baadjies Time of article published Nov 15, 2018

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More social drinkers are becoming open to the idea of going on a night out and not getting sloshed.

This has led to bartenders having to cater for those who want to enjoy a drink with low alcohol volume.

Mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks are in, but sometimes taste buds long for the zing from your favourite spirit.

Low ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks mean you can spend lots of time at the bar, have more than one drink and not have to worry about being over the limit.

It also means you won’t wake up with a hangover.

Peter Good, co-owner of Mootee Bar in Johannesburg, says the low ABV is more than just a passing trend.

"Low ABV cocktails have been on the rise for five years.

"They are here to stay”, thanks to a rise in conscious consumers, innovative suppliers and knowledgeable bartenders.

"A good quality cocktail does not have to be overly boozy. Suppliers have also come to the game with several low to no ABV products."

Good says the recent rise in popularity in the categories of vermouth and sherry has seen the rise of drinks like vermouth and tonic and the essential sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing-drink, the Bamboo cocktail - a mix of vermouth, sherry and Angostura aromatic and orange bitters.

"Low ABV cocktails are by no means a new trend, it is a drink with an alcohol volume not exceeding 10%."

Adds Good’s business partner, Denzel Heath: "Gone are the days when a mocktail was dull."

Here's how you can make your own low ABV cocktails. 

The Rossa Fizz

Ingredients and method:

  • 2 orange segments
  • 2 teaspoons of Muscovado sugar (or alternatively, use plain sugar)
  • A splash of soda
  • Topped up with Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa
The Rossa Fizz

The Lemor Mix

Ingredients and method:

  • ½ oz /15 ml Strawberry syrup
  • 1 oz/30 ml Orange juice
  • Top with Sanpellegrino Limonata
The Lemor Mix

Rock Shandy 

The rock shandy is the cooler for when the days start getting a little warmer, with its light and bubbly effect, it makes the perfect refreshment … 

Glass: High ball/tall glass

Rock Shandy


  • ½ can soda water 
  • ½ can lemonade 
  • 4 - 6 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Garnish: Fresh lemon or lime wedge


  1. Build ingredients over ice, dash with Angostura aromatic bitters, stir, garnish with lime wedge and serve.

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