Can a 0% alcohol tonic made from the plants and herbs of a botanical garden really get you ‘drunk’ and leave you with no hangover the next day?
This is the extraordinary claim from the creators of SENTIA, a new non-alcoholic drink that mimics the feeling of drinking a few pints by tricking the brain’s internal chemistry.
So does it work? How drunk can you leave it? And is it really nice to drink?
To find out the answers to these all-important questions, we sent two rosy-cheeked and hopefully cheerful MailOnline reporters to sample the concoction and deliver their verdict.
There’s nothing like a hard day at the office for Phil taking a SENTIA in the name of science.
Kitty struck a slightly more refined pose as she sampled a SENTIA mixed with ginger beer.
SENTIA black (pictured here) is launching next month and has around a dozen botanicals. The drink is marketed as a non-alcoholic alternative that actually gets you drunk through clever chemistry.
But first, what is SENTIA? And how, in theory, does she put you in a drunken state without using the time-tested alcohol?
A brief glance at the back of the bottle of SENTIA, which is just under £30, reveals a dozen more ingredients than your normal drink.
The endless list includes: magnolia, sage, orange peel, star anise, ginseng, black cardamom, thyme, cinnamon, gotu kola, rosemary, Nigerian ginger, ginkgo, wormwood, and more.
This label also features a warning common to many of the drinks it seeks to emulate, do not consume if pregnant or nursing.
To serve, the creators of SENTIA recommend drinking it neat or mixed with a soda or ginger ale.
The exact miracle ingredient that mimics alcohol is a closely guarded secret by former government drug czar Professor David Nutt and his team at GABA Labs.
But how it works is in the name of the manufacturer.
After we got our drinks, we had both reporters walk down the line to see if there were any drunken wobbles.
And here are the consequences, Phi; did not report any hangover symptoms at all
And Kitty was also not nursing the acetaminophen the next day, and reported no ill effects either.
British neuropsychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt is the mastermind behind SENTIA and said he wanted to create a drink that mimicked the fun and social aspects of alcohol, without the evils.
SENTIA’s potent concoction activates a neurotransmitter in the brain called gaba, just like a few shots of tequila, glasses of wine, or bottles of beer.
While you may not know the name, you’ll recognize the effect, gaba receptors help relax the brain.
It is precisely for this reason that you feel more sociable, light up a bubbly after a few drinks.
But SENTIA, unlike alcohol, stops at the two or three drink mark and doesn’t accumulate other chemicals in the body that lead to hangovers and bad life decisions at office parties.
It also doesn’t carry any of the long-term health problems that regular, heavy drinking can bring, such as cancer, liver problems, and obesity.
The creators of SENTIA say that this is the overall mission of their work, to make a drink capable of mimicking the positive aspects of alcohol, without the well-established harms.
To put it to the test, we tested the drink on two MailOnline who were more than willing to spend part of their workday trying to get drunk.
How did you know?
PHIL JOSSE, VIDEO REPORTER
‘I mean I’ve had worse,’ he said after taking his first sip.
Trying it straight up, without any of the recommended mixers, he said, ‘It’s a little spicy, like really spicy.
“It tastes weird on its own, there’s like a burn there, but it’s not an alcohol burn, it’s a spicy burn.”
But Phil enjoyed it more when it was mixed. And he added, ‘Oh, that’s good.
“The ginger beer really complements the peppery flavor of the spirit, it’s actually quite nice.”
KITTY LAWSON, NEWS REPORTER
“I enjoyed it when it was diluted with other things,” he said.
But Kitty described the concoction on its own as “quite vile”.
got you drunk?
“I already feel a little dizzy,” he said.
‘I can definitely feel a bit of a buzz, my ride home should be interesting (giggles).
We’ll see if I get home or not.
After an hour, Kitty said she started to feel like she was having a few drinks: “I’m feeling the effects a little more than I was.”
“I have a bit of a headache and I definitely feel like it’s gone to my head a bit, but I feel fine, maybe just a little tipsy.”
But three hours later she said that this had largely passed: “I feel quite relaxed and quite sleepy, although I did notice on the way home that I felt like I had a little to drink, I felt a little drunk, but that’s enough.” long gone.
And they had a hangover the next day?
“I feel good, I don’t have a hangover, so that’s good,” he said.
‘I definitely wasn’t drunk. Maybe he was a little dizzy like he’d had a couple of drinks.
“I feel great, no hangover signs at all,” he said.
What is SENTIA and how does it work?
Here we answer all your questions about SENTIA, the non-alcoholic tonic that aims to ‘get you drunk’.
What is FEEL?
It is a drink that can be consumed alone or alone.
What’s in there?
Water and about a dozen botanicals. But it does not contain chemicals or, more importantly, ethanol.
So how do you get drunk?
Technically speaking, it doesn’t. Being drunk is solely a consequence of the actual alcohol.
SENTIA just copies some of the same chemistry that replicates that ‘drunk’ feeling.
The mix of ingredients effectively activates some of the same neurotransmitters that alcohol activates.
These are called gaba receptors and when activated they help you relax, making you a bit more cheerful and sociable.
This, say the creators of the drinks, is what motivated them to do SENTIA: to give consumers the positive social aspects of alcohol without the harm.
Speaking of those damages, will SENTIA give me a hangover?
No. The drink does not contain some of the other aspects of alcohol that can make your body feel bad the next day.
Also, it does not increase the risk of cancer or liver disease in the same way that regular or excessive alcohol consumption does.
It’s significantly more expensive than a regular drink, currently retailing at £29.99 for 200ml, around eight drinks.
It is available on the SENTIA 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?
Like alcohol, it should not be consumed by pregnant or lactating women, as well as by people under 18 years of age.
Can I drive after drinking it?
The manufacturers recommend that people “be aware of any effects they experience and act responsibly” after drinking SENTIA when it comes to driving.
Will it make me a better dancer?
It could certainly make you think that you are a better dancer.