World’s first ‘nommelier’ service help diners pair dishes with booze-free drinks

The world's first 'nommelier' service has been launched to help diners match dishes with the perfect non-alcoholic drinks.

A twist on the traditional sommelier, whose focus is usually on finding the ideal wine to complement a meal, the nommelier service has been created by Heineken to enhance the dining experience for non-boozers or, this month, those doing Dry January.

It comes after the number of No and Low serves increased fourfold over the past five years.

The NoLo category has witnessed a surge in growth and popularity thanks to a greater range of options.

And now, Heineken has responded by introducing the first nommelier service, curating the first alcohol-free pairing menu.

Rather than a tedious glass of tap water or a soda, diners can now discover plenty of alcohol-free alternatives, with some specialist help.

Beer and wine experts Ben MacFarland and Tom Sandham, otherwise known as The Thinking Drinkers, are switching codes to become the first nommeliers for the first dining experience of its kind in London and Edinburgh.

Ben and Tom have developed a surprise three-course menu for diners that will see some of the duo’s favourite NoLo options paired with culinary delights specially prepared for our mindful drinking foodies.

The nommelier NoLo Flight Menu is being hosted at Hemingway’s in Edinburgh on January 16 and The Ship Tavern in Holborn, London, on January 19.

There are a limited number of complimentary tickets available, with every diner treated to a gin and tonic aperitif and a three-course dining menu with wine, beer and cider pairings personally selected and presented by Ben and Tom.

The move follows research that found as many as 13 million Brits are currently moderating their alcohol intake.

And it’s the younger generation leading the charge – the data shows that 50% of 18 – 24-year-olds are trying to moderate their alcohol intake, an increase of 9% compared to five years ago.

Ben said: “One of the joys of eating out is having a great drink with a well-cooked meal. So, for those embarking on a new year's resolution to change their alcohol consumption, a glass of water or cola simply isn’t going to cut it with seafood, steak or a spicy dish.

"Yet, these days, with the wealth of NoLo options available, there's no reason to compromise or give in to temptation – or indeed feel that you're missing out.

"We have put together some of our personal favourite NoLo pairings to help prove that alcohol isn't always an essential ingredient to a great gastronomic experience.”

Tom said: “Until a few years ago the NoLo options available were really limited and frankly not up to scratch, so it's great we're starting to see better and tastier alternatives.

"January is a tough month for everyone, we all need a boost, and the NoLo Flight is a great way for people to discover alcohol-free options and still socialise in a pub. From January and beyond, they can enjoy a drink and stay on track with any efforts to bring a bit of balance to their lives.”

People can apply for a pair of tickets by registering here. Winners will be notified on Friday January 13 on email.

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