While Ireland might be known for its drinking culture, things are starting to change.
It has been reported that more than 19 per cent of the population doesn't drink any alcohol. Lately, we've seen a massive rise in the popularity of non-alcoholic spirits, like Seedlip and Silk Tree, as well as the recent opening of The Virgin Mary Bar, the country's first alcohol-free bar.
This current surge in the non-alcoholic trend is likely to do with the population's newfound obsession with health and wellness. As Ireland becomes more and more focused on a healthy lifestyle, it's probable that the non-alcoholic trend will continue to grow, which is why we're excited to see a range of alcohol-free drinks pairings available at some of the country's best restaurants, including Liath and Aimsir.
The hottest non-alcoholic pairings right now are centred around juices and kombuchas. Pioneered by Michelin-starred restaurant Noma in Denmark, juice pairings can now be seen at restaurants around the world like Eleven Madison Park in New York, Momofuku Seibo in Australia and Clove Club in London.
Maaemo in Norway is also well-known for its inventive juice pairings, which focus on local flavours that compliment the restaurant's menu. It was here that Majken Bech-Bailey, front of house manager and one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind Aimsir in Celbridge, honed her craft before bringing an innovative juice pairing to the newly opened restaurant.
To find out more about her innovative juice pairings, we spoke to Majken about the non-alcoholic trend sweeping the nation.
When I worked in Denmark, we served homemade juices as we saw more and more people come in that didn't drink. I also saw that lots of pregnant women come to amazing restaurants to eat to celebrate before they have the baby, so it was good to be able to offer them something delicious.
"When we opened Aimsir, we knew that if people weren't staying at Cliff At Lyons, then they would have to drive, so we knew we wanted to offer a non-alcoholic pairing. I had free reign because it's my own place, so I really got the opportunity to be more experimental and it has been so freeing.
With non-alcoholic pairings, the opportunities are endless. I added hops into one of our drinks to give it a fresh beer-like feeling. It doesn't take much to do great juices and I like to do a little bit of everything.
Our alcohol-free pairings are really quite popular, about a quarter of our guests order them every night. It really excites me to see people want to try it which allows me to showcase what juice can be. It’s not just a juice, a lot of work and thought goes into it. I look at the juice the same way as I do the wine, so we can show people the whole flavour profile of fruit throughout the juices."
This article was originally published by our sister site, Food&Wine
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