Hold the alcohol, keep the flavour
Thankfully, abstinence doesn’t require sacrificing your taste for a good drink. Our palates have all evolved and become more discerning, after all. When looking for a sans substitute, we want some sort of similarity with the original product we’re initially drawn to, because taste is a big part of the appeal to beer, wine or cocktails. They ignite our taste buds and keep us guessing on specific aromas and flavours. That’s actually one of the many challenges of the alcohol-free industry: how do you stay true to the expected profile?
The alcohol "sensation"
Besides being responsible for the “heat” an obvious intoxicating property, alcohol also contributes to the drink texture, a certain roundness or fattiness if you will. When removed, your drink loses its texture and sometimes, its appeal. Hence the necessity to remain somewhat faithful to the nature of wine, beer and spirits by adding… sugar. Without this addition, these drinks would become too thin, bitter and rough.