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Low-ABV Spirits Can Help You Recreate the 3-Martini Lunch

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You can make the Martini with vodka or gin. It was shaken or stirred. Ice-cold, served up, or frosty on a large rock. Olives? Absolutely. Lemon twist? Yes! Yes!

They’re even lower ABV recently, thanks to a new class of low-proof vodkas, gins, and other spirits that make martinis seem surprisingly tasteful.

Although there is no consensus on what constitutes a lower alcohol spirit, it is possible to have anywhere from 10% to 30% ABV. Think of your favorite spirits, but at a lower altitude. The Keel Vodka of Rhode Island is only 23.7% ABV. Canada’s 18.8% has gins and vodkas at 18.8% ABV. Perth Low Alcohol Spirit makes a 10% ABV Gin(ish) in England.

Comedian-slash DJ Jilly Hendrix launched body in 2022. It is 30% ABV, 25% lower than Grey Goose or Ketel One, and weighs at just 30%. Simon Sebbah is the beverage director at the trendy New York City bar and restaurant St Theo’s.

Hendrix says, “I’ve been out a lot all my life, and I have gotten to the place where I want a drink, but not the effects of strong liquor.” Body’s effects are similar to wine’s — it gives off a slow, creeping buzz rather than the stand-up-and-sway results of full-proof Martinis.

She’s seen her target audience as a broad range of people since she launched: young adults between 25 and 34 who want to succeed in the workforce, socially conscious consumers who drink less, and Hendrix’s friends, many of which are hesitant about the idea of being woken up hungry to become a parent.

Hendrix recently stated that she celebrated her birthday by drinking three Body martinis during the party. She laughs, “It would have been a different evening if I had three regular martinis.” These spirits don’t change your behavior. They replace it with less alcohol. People are trying to live in a way that makes them feel good.

Significant brands are eager to capitalize on this trend, similar to the rise in espresso martinis or hard seltzers. Grey Goose has recently launched a 30% ABV s vodka line infused with different fruits and botanicals. Ketel One now offers vodka and botanical infusions with lower octane.

Ruben Rolon is the head bartender at Le Jardinier, a Michelin-starred restaurant. Although some may lack the full-proof equivalents’ bodies, the flavors are still vibrant. They are almost nostalgic; they retain a spark that reminds them of full-proof drinks.

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