The Duchess is a brand of non-alcoholic gin and tonic. I know right? That makes no sense. It’s not just alcohol free – it’s also sugar free. Created for the “conscious consumer”, The Duchess blends re-distilled juniper berries with botanically infused tonic water. Basically it tastes like a gin and tonic thanks to the juniper and orange peel, all spice, cardamom and cloves. The important questions are: 1) is it any good and 2) does it taste like gin?
Opening this involves no wax seal which is a nice change. In the bottle it smells a bit like sweets – you know when you’ve been eating Tangfastics and the sugar gets a bit wet? Like that. Drinking it, that’s sort of how it tastes. Considering it is sugar free, it tastes like sweets yet also manages to be quite bitter at the back of your throat. I’d say it tastes like a bad gin and tonic, reminiscent of the days when I thought BritVic was an acceptable mixer. After a few mouthfuls, I’m kind of over the fake sweetness. I don’t think I could drink this on a night out, or really in any situation. Perhaps I’m too used to sugary drinks, or a proper gin and tonic, but this is not my bag. Even ignoring the alcohol free part – it’s just not very nice to drink. Give me a standard lemonade any day.
If you want to try The Duchess, I’d recommend moving to their native South Africa. If that’s a bit tricky, it is stocked by The Gin Kiosk for £6 for four bottles – although it is currently out of stock. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.