A 0% alcohol tonic made with a botanical garden’s worth of plants and herbs, can you really get “drunk” and hangover the next day?
This is an extraordinary claim made by the makers of SENTIA. It’s a new non-alcoholic beverage that tricks your brain’s internal chemistry into mimicking the feeling of drinking a few pints.
So does it work? How long can you stay tipsy? And is it actually fun to drink?
To find out the answers to these all-important questions, we asked two rosy-cheeked and hopefully hilarious MailOnline reporters to test the concoctions and deliver the verdict.
Nothing beats a tough day at the office for Phil, who brought down SENTIA in the name of science.
Kitty strikes a slightly sophisticated pose as she savors the sentia mixed with ginger beer.
Sentia Black (pictured here) is due out next month and contains about 10 botanical ingredients.Marketed as an alcohol-free alternative, the drink is actually intoxicating thanks to its clever chemistry.
First, what is Sentia? And how, in theory, can one get in a drunken state without using the well-established alcohol?
A quick glance at the back of a SENTIA bottle, which costs just £30, reveals about a dozen more ingredients than a typical drink.
The endless list includes magnolia, sage, orange peel, star anise, ginseng, black cardamom, thyme, cinnamon, pennywort, rosemary, Nigerian ginger, ginkgo biloba, wormwood and more.
The label also includes warnings common to many of the drinks it tries to emulate, and should not be consumed if pregnant or nursing.
The manufacturer of Sentia recommends drinking it straight or mixing it with soda or ginger ale for servings.
The exact miracle ingredient that emulates alcohol is a closely guarded secret by former government drug lord Professor David Nutt and his team at the GABA Lab.
But how it works is in the manufacturer’s name.
After downing our drinks, we had both reporters in line to see if there was a drunken wobble
And here’s the aftermath, Phi.No hangover symptoms reported at all
And Kitty wasn’t nursing paracetamol the next day either.Also, no adverse effects have been reported
British neuropsychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt, the mastermind behind SENTIA, said he wanted to create a drink that mimics the sociable and fun aspects of alcohol without the disease.
SENTIA’s powerful formula activates the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, much like drinking a few shots of tequila, a glass of wine or a bottle of lager.
You may not know the name by which you can recognize its effects, but GABA receptors help your brain relax.
I feel more sociable and light the bubbles after a few drinks for exactly this reason.
But unlike alcohol, SENTIA doesn’t build up your body with hangovers at office parties or other chemicals that interfere with your life choices, stopping at just a few drinks.
Also, there are no long-term health problems associated with regular and excessive alcohol consumption, such as cancer, liver problems, and obesity.
The creators of SENTIA say the general mission of their work is to create a drink that can mimic the positive aspects of alcohol without causing established harm.
To test it out, I tried a drink with two MailOnline enthusiasts trying to get drunk part of the job.
how was the taste?
PHIL JOSSE, VIDEO REPORTER
After taking his first sip, he said.
After testing it directly without the recommended mixer, he said:
“It tastes weird on its own. It looks like it’s burnt, but it’s not alcohol, it’s peppery.”
But Phil had the most fun when he mixed it up. He added:
“Ginger beer brings out the pepperiness of the spirit. It’s actually pretty good.”
Kitty Lawson, news reporter
“I enjoyed it when I diluted it with something else,” she said.
However, Kitty explained that the concoction itself was “very despicable”.
did it get you drunk?
“I’m already feeling a little bloated,” he said.
“I can certainly feel a bit of a topic. My commute home should be interesting (laughter).
“Let’s see if we can go home”
After an hour, Kitty said it started feeling like having a few drinks.
“I have a little headache, I feel like I have a little headache. But I feel fine. I might be a little tipsy.”
But after 3 hours she said it was all but gone.
And were they hungover the next day?
“I feel fine. I don’t have a hangover, so that’s fine,” he said.
“I certainly wasn’t drunk. I might have been a little excited, as if I had had a few drinks.
“I don’t have any hangover symptoms at all and I feel really good,” she said.
What is SENTIA and how does it work?
We’re here to answer all your questions about SENTIA, a zero alcohol tonic that claims to get you “intoxicated”.
What is Sentia?
It is a drink that can be drunk as it is or straight.
what’s in it
water and about a dozen plants. But it does not contain chemicals and more importantly ethanol.
So how do you get drunk?
Technically speaking, it doesn’t. Being drunk is simply the result of actual alcohol.
SENTIA simply copied some of the same chemistry that recreates that “tips” feeling.
The mixture of ingredients effectively activates some of the same neurotransmitters as alcohol.
These are called GABA receptors and when triggered, they help you relax and make you a little more cheerful and gregarious.
The beverage maker says this motivated him to create SENTIA, offering the positive social aspects of alcohol without harming consumers.
Speaking of those harms, does SENTIA give me a hangover?
No, this drink does not contain other aspects of alcohol that can wreak havoc on your body the next day.
Additionally, it does not increase the risk of cancer or liver disease like regular or excessive alcohol consumption does.
Are there any drawbacks?
Much more expensive than regular tips, currently at £29.99 for 200ml, about 8 servings.
It is available on SENTIA’s website, Amazon, and will be available in other stores in 2023.
Who made SENTIA?
SENTIA is the brainchild of British neuropsychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt and GABA Labs.
Anything else I should know?
As with alcohol, it should not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women or persons under the age of 18.
Can I drive after drinking?
The manufacturer recommends that people “be aware of any effects you experience and act responsibly” regarding driving after taking Sentia.
Will it make me a better dancer?
It certainly might make you think you’re a better dancer.