As much as it goes against our international reputation, not drinking is fast becoming "a thing", and it's no longer the vestige of the pregnant, in recovery or on antibiotics. Pubs like The Bernard Shaw, The Square Ball, and MVP have led the way in Dublin for non-alcoholic drinks options you might actually want to drink (with the latter hosting "sober Sundays"), but while mocktails and 0% beer are nothing new to Dublin, non-alcoholic wine is (and we're not talking about the brutally sweet supermarket grape juice). Turns out the Germans have been making the stuff for over 70 years.
'Eins Zwei Zero' is a range of alcohol free Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from award-winning German winemaker Johannes Leitz, using new technology that allows the alcohol to be vacuum-distilled at low temperatures, allowing the wine to keep more of its wine-like characteristics. We're not going to say that non-alcoholic Riesling tastes exactly the same as regular Riesling, but it's a major step forward. Interest sufficiently piqued? Here's where to plan your next lunch or dinner when you're on the dry.
Coppinger Row serve the whole Eins Zwei Zero range, and the smell of their garlic mussels with chargrilled ciabatta wafting out of the restaurant has been known to draw zombie-like diners in off the street (guilty). Pair them with the Pinot Noir rosé on the terrace when the sun's shining for all the Mediterranean vibes with none of the associated tipsiness.
China Sichuan in Sandyford still feels like something of a secret outside food circles (or Sandyford), but those in the know make the journey for the waltip dumplings, ma po tofu, and man and wife beef slices. Food with any level of spice is notoriously hard to pair wine with, but the usual recommendation is something with a little sweetness to balance the heat. Try the sparkling Riesling with the chilli chicken - and you can drive home afterwards.
New Middle Eastern Foxrock spot Kerb wanted to serve a healthier take on the late night kebab, so everything from flatbreads to dips to falafel are made in house and ingredients are sourced locally. Sparkling Pinot Noir rosé and the mezze platter is a win.
Ananda head chef Karan Mittal's tasting menu is a journey through electrifying Indian flavours carried by some of the best Irish ingredients. After we had his roast Roscommon goat leg with fermented rice patties and three different chutneys we thought of little else for weeks, and the Leitz non-alcoholic Riesling would be the perfect accompaniment for the fruity, spicy flavours.
When Dylan McGrath's Shelbourne Social opened in Ballsbridge earlier this year it was the hot curd bread menu (as well as the sharing steak) that had everyone talking. Try the warm, buttery bread with chicken liver parfait, pickled grapes, crispy shallot and shaved foie gras with a glass of Pinot Noir rosé.
Crow Street's pre-theatre menu is one of the best deals in town with two courses for €19.95 and three for €24.95. Some of their popular dishes include buffalo mozzarella with beetroot, orange and pistachio pesto, and braised pork shoulder tostadas with cabbage, avocado & pineapple salsa, but we'd be going for the maple & bourbon glazed short rib of beef with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
You can also try the Eins Zwei alcohol-free wines in Beo Wine Bar, Pichet, Ely Wine Bar, 57 The Headline, Fade Street Social, Lao Chinese and Korean BBQ, Osteria 99 in Monkstown, The Green Hen, Sweeney's D3 and loads more places outside Dublin, like Two Cooks in Sallins.
If you're looking for a bottle to take home you can find it in practically every good specialist food and wine shop in the city, including Avoca, Lotts & Co, Redmonds in Ranelagh, Deveney's in Dundrum, Martins in Fairview, 64 Wine, The Vintry in Rathgar, Baggot Street Wines, Mortons in Ranelagh, Drinkstore in Stoneybatter, Blackrock Cellars, D-Six Harold's Cross, Donnybrook Fair, Thomas's in Foxrock, and McHugh's in Kilbarrack and on the Malahide Road. You can also order online from drinkstore.ie and wineonline.ie.
Leitz non-alcoholic wines are distributed in Ireland by Mackenway Wines.