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I'm a teetotaler so I tried viral non-alcoholic alternatives to get a “kick” for my 40th birthday – the £17 rosé was bitter and a £2.25 beer won

I've never really cared about drinking.

While I was at university, chugging down Snakebites—a strange concoction of cider and lager—I tried my best to fit in, but a night of drinking never ended well.

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Sarah tested six non-alcoholic, adaptogenic drinksCredit: Delivered
Gillian Anderson founded G Spot Drinks with the slogan "Experience what pleasure feels like"

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Gillian Anderson founded G Spot Drinks with the slogan “Taste what pleasure feels like”Photo credit: Getty
Susanna Reid is one of the famous faces who doesn't drink, while Tom Holland went so far as to call giving up alcohol the best decision he ever made.

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Susanna Reid is one of the famous faces who doesn't drink, while Tom Holland went so far as to call giving up alcohol the best decision he ever made.Photo credit: Rex

While my friends thought nothing of drinking a bottle of wine before the drink, I found myself lying in bed completely drunk after my one attempt to do the same.

And don't mention the hangovers – they were brutal and I was always scared of them. Then when I had kids, it just didn't seem worth dealing with them and headaches anymore.

As I got older, I no longer enjoyed the all-nighters, but instead enjoyed a refined glass or two of wine with dinner.

But I never had cravings for strong things and knew that I would not miss this vice.

So much so – and call me a bore – I recently made the decision to become abstinent.

And I'm not the only one who has made this decision – Davina McCall, Susanna Reid and Tom Holland are also well-known teetotalers. The Spider-Man actor even said that giving up alcohol was “the best thing I ever did”.

In fact, 8.4 million people in the UK describe themselves as teetotallers, with one in five under-25s falling into this category – the highest number ever recorded for this age group.

But there is one thing I miss about drinking: the kick I used to get after a few glasses of the strong stuff.

It has made me feel more confident and comfortable in social situations, something that soft drinks simply cannot achieve and have never attempted to do.

That is, until now.

There are more and more non-alcoholic alternatives on the market that claim to be able to produce the desired alcohol intoxication.

They contain adaptogens – various plants and herbs – that relax the body, reduce stress and even “cheer you up” before a long night.

I tried six different drinks that claim to do all of the above – all without a hangover.

And since I just turned 40, what better time to loosen up a bit?

G-SPOT

Gillian Anderson's G-Spot Series

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Gillian Anderson's G-Spot SeriesPhoto credit: G Spot

First up is G Spot – the soft drink range from television actress Gillian Anderson, which, according to the website, is “filled to the brim with life-enhancing adaptogens”.

They are low in calories (the red berry version contains only 32 calories per can), caffeine-free and contain no added sugar.

I tried the product called 'Lift' which costs £3 a can and is made from red berries and Sarawak peppercorns.

It is supposed to “lift your mood, sip by sip” and promises to “let you be yourself.” It sounds too good to be true.

It also contains juniper, coriander, angelica, cordyceps, maca root extract, bacopa and vitamins B3, B6, B2, B5, B1.

I really didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

After just a quarter of a can I could feel the buzz coming on, and after the first drink I could definitely notice a noticeable difference.

I felt calmer, more relaxed and had more confidence in myself. It tasted a little sweet but had a pleasant aftertaste.

For me, however, the effects of the drink did not last long enough – only about half an hour – unlike real alcohol, which leaves that intoxicating feeling much longer.

BUZZ RATING – 4/5

  • G Spot, Lift, Red Berry and Sarawak, £3 – Buy here

Soothe the G-spot

We tried two of the G-spot drinks - Lift and Soothe (pictured) - the latter being a blend of red apple and sage

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We tried two of the G-spot drinks – Lift and Soothe (pictured) – the latter being a blend of red apple and sagePhoto credit: G SPOT Drinks

Next came the ‘G Spot Soothe’ option – scarlet apple and sage flavours, packed with ‘adaptogens and nootropics’, all for £3 each.

This one is supposed to promote a Zen state – but I'm afraid I just couldn't get over the taste.

The sage overpowers all other flavors and I felt like I was drinking an unpleasant herbal mixture.

I tried to hold out to get the full effect and actually felt a slight tingling sensation after just a few sips, but I just couldn't drink the whole can so I poured it down the drain.

BUZZ RATING – 1/5

  • G Spot, Soothe, Scarlet Apple and Sage, £3 – Buy here

THREE-SPIRIT SPARKS

Spark by Three Spirit Blurred Vines is touted as an alternative to sparkling rosé - "floral, lively and richly sparkling"

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Spark by Three Spirit Blurred Vines is touted as an alternative to sparkling rosé – “floral, lively and plenty of tang”

This non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling rosé is made from “fine, rare cold brewed teas, British fruits and innovative ferments”.

It contains plenty of schisandra berries, guayusa and cayenne pepper – all of which provide a natural caffeine rush that induces “euphoric feelings and focus.”

I expected it to taste like a nice, subtle pink, but I was wrong.

I opened up more, chatted more confidently and my inhibitions almost disappeared.

Sarah Bull

The scent was almost sour and bitter, so much so that it actually took my breath away… for all the wrong reasons.

I think it could be a good option if you're a fan of herbal teas – it definitely tastes along those lines – and if you don't consider it a non-alcoholic wine alternative.

BUZZ RATING – 1/5

Three Spirit Blurred Vines, Spark, £16.99 – Buy here

THREE-SPIRIT FOODS

Three Spirit's Livener can be used with mixers to create delicious cocktails - we added kiwi to ours for a lemony kick

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Three Spirit's Livener can be used with mixers to create delicious cocktails – we added kiwi to ours for a lemony kickPhoto credit: Three Spirit

I've had much more success with Three Spirit's Livener, which you can use with a blender.

I combined it with tonic water and lots of ice and I really liked the combination.

This contains “guayusa, guava leaves and schisandra” as well as “strong aromas of bold berries, bright fragrances and spiciness”.

It was the most flavorful drink in my opinion and didn't have that herbal taste that I didn't like in many other options.

Although it is recommended to add grapefruit, I didn't have any, so I put in a kiwi instead, which gave the drink a lemony kick.

I had two drinks before dinner and could definitely feel the effects when I sat down to eat.

The warmth of the drink reached my stomach and gave me a pleasant warm feeling and also a boost of confidence.

I definitely see a lot of potential in Livener, you could use it to conjure up some delicious mocktails and there won't be a hangover the next day either.

BUZZ RATING – 4/5

  • Three Spirit, Livener, £24.99 – Buy here

SENITA RED

Sentia Red was similar to Livener.

Sentia Red is a non-alcoholic spirit that can also be mixed. We find that its warming properties make it more suitable for winter than summer.

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Sentia Red is a non-alcoholic spirit that can also be mixed. We find that its warming properties make it more suitable for winter than summer.Photo credit: sentia

Sentia is based on a “revolutionary formula designed to boost your mental performance by harnessing the power of GABA levels in your brain – the secret behind alcohol’s wide appeal.”

I mixed it with a non-alcoholic apple spritzer drink, which gave it a fruity note, and added ice again.

Not only did it have this herbal taste, the aftertaste was also strange.

However, it felt warm, which would probably be more pleasant in winter than summer.

And although it took a little longer for the effect to become noticeable, it eventually occurred.

I was more talkative, more confident and my inhibitions had almost disappeared.

BUZZ RATING – 3/5

My verdict

I had no idea if these alternatives could recreate the feeling I got from alcohol.

However, since I was heavily pregnant when I turned 30, I was determined not to celebrate my 40th birthday without drinking a glass of wine.

So it was the best time to try out some of the newest drinks on the market – especially given the growing trend of abstaining from alcohol and maintaining an abstinent lifestyle.

Things didn't start off well when I realized that many of these drinks contain herbs and plants instead of alcohol – and I'm not a fan of that “herbal taste.”

There are always drinks that you like and those that you don't like so much. That was the case with this taste test.

Unfortunately, some of them with the strong herbal taste turned my stomach, but others were so good that I would definitely buy them again.

Sentia Red and Three Spirits Livener all cost over £20 a bottle, but if you use them like a spirit – with a mixer – the price is quite acceptable.

G Spot costs £3 per can, making it a good alternative to canned alcopops.

Of all the beers I've tried, Unwind is definitely my favorite, but of course it's not for you if you don't like the taste of regular lager.

And although the price of £27 for 12 bottles may seem high at first glance, at £2.25 per bottle it is actually much more reasonable.

COLLIDER UNWIND

Collider's lager alternative Unwind came top of our taste tests and also costs £2.25 a bottle.

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Collider's lager alternative Unwind came top of our taste tests and also costs £2.25 a bottle.Photo credit: Collider

Most recently, I tried Collider’s beer alternative – the non-alcoholic nootropic lager Unwind.

This was the only alcoholic beer alternative I tried, but it was one of the best drinks I tested.

According to the website, Unwind has “a bright golden hue with a white head and features a blend of floral hops and citrus zest, underlined by biscuit malt.”

I couldn't wait to open the bottle.

And what I liked most was how much it tasted like regular beer.

When I had half finished the bottle, I felt a humming sound that continued for a while.

If you're looking for something to enjoy with friends who drink alcohol, this is a really good option.

BUZZ RATING – 5/5

  • Collider, Unwind, £27 for 12 bottles – Buy here