Photography by Lyre’s Spirit Co.
New non-alcoholic alternatives are just as good as the real thing.
Dry January 2021 may well be the driest yet.
There’s been a pandemic-induced rise in alcohol consumption this past year. Women, in particular, reported a 41 percent increase in heavy drinking episodes, according to a RAND study.
Fortunately, Lyre’s Spirit Co., a new brand of non-alcoholic spirits, is here to help.
Unlike many non-alcoholic spirits, Lyre’s 12 products are designed to taste like the real thing.
CEO Mark Livings launched the Australia-based company in 2019. Naming the brand after the lyrebird, one of nature’s greatest mimics.
“We set about creating homages to the original spirit and wanted to get as close as possible,” Livings says. “Our thesis was, let’s keep closer than Diet Coke is to the original Coke, in a spirit form.”
Livings and his team, including Flavour Architect David Murphy (talk about a good job title), “went full science.” They reverse-engineered the spirits by isolating and creating essences and extracts.
To make the American malt they isolated the aromatic compounds found in bourbon barrels and blended them in. Giving the drink that immediately identifiable, barrel-aged, scent.
Lyre’s Apéritif Rosso won gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, against alcoholic competitors. “We got to the point,” Livings says, “where if you took someone off the street and said, ‘Tell us the difference between this and a Martini & Rossi Rosso,’ they would struggle to.”
Bartenders have taken to Lyre’s for just that reason.
Instead of having to create a mocktail off the top of their heads, they can mix a classic cocktail and know their customers will like it.
The brand has already partnered with some of the world’s top drinking establishments, such as Atlas Bar in Singapore and Trick Dog in San Francisco. They have also pioneered booze-free bar Getaway in Brooklyn.
“It’s been amazing to be part of the movement with people who are looking for more sophisticated options in the non-alcoholic space,” Livings says.
Next up for Lyre’s is an alcohol-free take on prosecco which comes to the U.S. this spring.
“Pregnant women are going, ‘Oh my god!’” Livings says with a laugh.
Ready to try the non-alcoholic drinks for yourself? You can try your hand at one of the many cocktail recipes on the company’s website. lyres.com
We love the espresso martini (pictured), while Livings is partial to the coffee Negroni. “It’s rich and dark and drips with excess for those cozy months,” he says.
Going dry never tasted so good.