Dry January? Not for me. I prefer to give the new year a fighting chance of happiness by generally drinking less but better. Cutting out the joy of gentle tippling in this deep freeze of a month seems at best kinky to me, so how about lifting the month of moodiness with the occasional bright white to fight off the gloom? And remember, many of these beauties are a little lower in alcohol. To pick the best of these virtuous delicacies, look to regions that have historically produced wines lower in alcohol.
Germany is a prime candidate, and top of your list should be bbr.com with its Mosel Riesling Kabinett by Selbach-Oster (9.5%) £10.25. Fruity and off-dry, it’s wine’s answer to the tea-cake – ideally suited for a late-afternoon pick-me-up.
From the same stockist, Moscato d’Asti, Marcarini (5%), £13.50 is proper sherbet pudding, stunningly sweet and effervescent, a wine that paints a rainbow across the greyest day.
English wine producer Hush Heath has moved into sparkling apple fizz – its Sparkling Apple Rosé Wine and Sparkling Apple Wine are both £15 from hushheath.com and 8%.
My favourite low-alcohol option is beer. Big Drop Brew is my top pick with four to choose from, all under 0.5%: stout, pale ale, spiced ale and lager, available from wisebartender.co.uk for £2.49.
On the high street, M&S Southwold Pale Ale (0.5%) is £1.60, or its Czech Pilsner is £1.50 (0.5%). For zero-alcohol options, Fever Tree’s range continues to impress – try the ginger beer, or have a look at boroughwines.co.uk for an exciting range of options such as Lurvills Delight Botanical Blend, Lavender Spice for £1.95.
But best of all, mix tomato juice with Bloody Ben’s spice mix, below, for maximum flavour impact. And raise your glass proudly, declaiming virtus deliciis, which is Latin for ‘virtue in deliciousness’