The world of very low alcohol drinks is a strange hinterland, an unloved section of the world of booze which pleases neither the boozer nor the abstainer. All manner of crimes are committed in the name of reducing the alcoholic content of That Which The Good Lord Intended To Be Booze.

For this first faltering step into our advent of alcohol, we choose to point at a drink which you might expect to be alcohol-free but which slips a drop of the good stuff in for good measure (at least some of the way to good measure anyway).

Fentiman’s ginger beer, then. It’s been brewed to a rockist-tastic original recipe since forever, listed in the Domesday book, identified as the source of an unsightly stain on the Magna Carta. And so on. Apparently its characteristic ginger `burn’ comes as a result of the same fermentation process which puts a mighty maximum of 0.5% alcohol in the mix.

My instinct is to dismiss this quid-a-bottle stuff with an airy wave in favour of something which looks more modern and brightly-coloured and poppy, and comes in at half the price. Look at the front page of their website: “Unlike other soft drink manufacturers, none of our beverages are ‘style’, they are
always the real thing!” It’s the kind of language which causes me to rile up something chronic. I mean, the whole Authentic Victorian Beverage thing is so hopelessly contrived, not to mention tired. And here it is: it pains me to say it but this stuff tastes fantastic. Really actually very gingery spicy, lovely.

I’m too mean to shell out regularly for Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. Most days I’ll happily stick to my cans of DG Old Jamaica: maybe a bit of its style will rub off on me. But for a treat, a taste sensation, Fentimans is just the thing. And it has booze. And it’s nearly Christmas.