Move over Aperol, a new summer spritz has my heart (and it's non-alcoholic)

The idea of travelling across the country to spend a night in Cornwall to celebrate a *gasp* non-alcoholic spirit wasn’t at the top of my list of Fun Things To Do this summer, but turns out having a teetotal time can be a riot.

Seemingly suggesting I could do with a night or two off the juice, I was ushered to the fair north coasts of Cornwall to taste the delights of the recently relaunched tipple Wave Length (previously known as High Point) at the distillery’s Bodmin HQ.

In the hinterlands of Cornwall, tucked within those famously anxiety-inducingly winding, narrow roads is where Eddie Lofthouse has created a premium fermentation company; its flagship drop a delight served as a spritz over ice that now, evidently, threatens to replace Aperol as my spritz of choice if it continues acting like this.

Lofthouse is no newbie to the drinks game – he also owns Harbour, a UK premium craft brewery – but with Wave Length, he has a vision to take a stand for flavour and to become famous for making exceptional non-alcoholic fermented drinks.

Hey, you’ve got to take a stand for something, right?

Now as someone who reluctantly hurdles their way through Dry January, if only to feel obnoxiously smug, the idea of a non-alcoholic spirit with a bit of, well, spirit is enough to pique my attention.

Apart from the stalwart brands that’ve endured on the shelves, non-alc spirits are usually nothing more than a gin with no gin and nothing else in, and a soda water with four limes is usually my drink of choice for the first four weeks of the year.

Welcomed into Wave Length’s cellar door of sorts, which is open to the public, I soon learn the fermented non-alc aperitif (the first of its kind, mind) Ruby and the digestif named Amber has had a makeover that makes it kind of cool to go teetotal. Gone is the High Point label, Wave Length’s design is fresh and not out of place alongside hipster IPA cans, while the imported bottles have been replaced with those more sustainably sourced.

Out back, housed next to a family of adorably rogue pigs tended to by Lofthouse’s children, is an experimental fermentorium, suggesting more iterations of Wave Length are to come.

I dunked my head into barrels of all sorts used to infuse the various blends of Wave Length, from wood chips to botanics and dried orange peel, lined up in a cavernous warehouse alongside giant stainless steel vats brewing the next batch of claret concoction.

But you want to know what the drink actually tastes like, don’t you?

It’s got the same sort of zesty punch as the likes of Aperol, but with a smoother finish. You can down them much more easily, so good thing they’re non-alc. For fans of citrus, the grapefruit notes came through most prominent for me, however more seasoned palates taste lavender and hibiscus.

Luckily, I could down several iced spritzes of the stuff and still be able to venture into nearby Newquay or gorgeous Polzeath without needing a designated driver, and still feeling like no narc for eschewing an alcoholic bev in the process.

Wildly refreshing, the low-alc Ruby Spritz includes (if you wanted to take it up a notch) gin as well as sparkling wine, with some muddled strawberries for added berry loving.

Or you can simply pour over tonic water, add some ice and a pink grapefruit slice and pretend you’re on the Cornish coast and not looking out at an overcast and drizzly London summer…

Wavelength can be purchased from Amazon and here for £19.99 RRP.

A sobering journey of Cornwall

Where I ate:
Take the ferry over to Padstow for Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Bistro. Try the Halloumi Saganaki and, if it’s on the menu, Stein’s famous tronçon of turbot doused in rich hollandaise.

Where I stayed:
Atlantic – owned by Wave Length’s founder Eddie, the hotel is on the beachfront with beautiful vistas of the ocean and is the kind of beachy-chic dig you can get comfortable in.

How I got there:
Not a fan of a billion-hour train? If your budget allows, flying into Newquay is a cinch from Gatwick, with Polzeath an easy 35 minutes in the car from there.

Wave Length Cocktails

Wavelength Ruby Spritz (non-alcoholic)

  • 50ml Wavelength Ruby
  • 200ml tonic water
  • Ice
  • Pink grapefruit slice

Mix the Wavelength Ruby Aperitif with tonic water, poured over ice. Serve with a slice of pink grapefruit.

Wavelength Ruby Spritz (low-ABV)

  • 35ml Ruby Wavelength
  • 25ml London dry gin
  • 100ml sparkling wine
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • 4 fresh strawberries
  • Half a lime
  • Ice

Muddle the strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the Ruby Aperitif, a gin of your choice, freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar syrup and ice to the shaker. Shake well over ice. Using a double strainer, strain the cocktail into a chilled flute glass. Top with your favourite English sparkling wine or prosecco and serve with a strawberry wedge.

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