You want to relax and enjoy the last days of summer with something that isn’t alcoholic? The world of non-alcoholic beverages has seen a significant transformation.
Scientists, mixologists, and crafters have gone far beyond sugary “fake wines” or watery beers without alcohol. There are now many zero-proof beverages that can be used as a substitute for other drinks, but instead feel like they are a separate category of sophisticated drink options.
Since years, there has been a growing interest in a sober lifestyle. This led to the rise of mocktails as well as alcohol-free bars. __S.6__
You don’t have to be sober, sober-curious or pregnant.
Here’s a small selection of the latest:
No & Low is an online marketplace for non-alcoholic beverages, founded by brothers Massimo and Louis Borrelli in October 2020. They noticed a growing market, and were amazed by the passion and expertise of those who made alcohol-free products.
Louis Borrelli identified three main buckets for non-alcoholic beverages, which reflect the reasons people choose them.
There are brands that attempt to imitate alcohols such as rum or gin. These brands are aimed at people who want to replace their evening drink with something more refreshing.
The second is that companies are not trying to create a substitute for gin per se but rather “a similar, but different drinking experience with different flavor profiles.” Many of these beverages are intended to mimic some of the characteristics of alcoholic beverages.
Borrelli says that third, there are drinks that are their own thing and can often provide health or functional benefits. These beverages, like Rock Grace wines, don’t aim to imitate the alcoholic experience but rather create a new kind of experience.
Borelli points out that these choices are low in calories because they do not contain alcohol.
Sparkling wines, in particular, have made great strides since the sweet days. TOST makes a rose version with white tea, ginger, and elderberry, and a crisp, almost peachy, slightly tart bubbly with white tea, cranberry and ginger.
Thompson & Scott’s Noughty line includes an organic, sparkling, alcohol-free chardonnay, as well as a sparkling rose from southern Spain made from 100% organic Tempranillo grapes.
Woodland’s sparkling drinks are kombucha-tea based; their Woodland Honey Wine is described as “mead with a modern twist,” a honey wine with a blend of kombucha tea and wild Norwegian ingredients.
Rock Grace describes its alcohol-free wines as “infused with beauty and wellness benefits and crystal energy.” Like many other non-alcoholic spirit and wine makers, Rock Grace is promoting a lifestyle along with it products.
Verjus is an entirely new category. Verjus can be translated from French as “green juice”. It is a sweet, acidic beverage made from unripe, young grapes. Wolffer Estate and Fusion make notable versions, with Fusion making both a red and a white.
Proteau is a zero-proof botanical drink with two varieties: Ludlow Red, with a base of blackberry juice, and Rivington Spritz, with champagne vinegar and strawberry juice as the central flavors. Wilfred is trying to reinvent the spritz with a non-alcoholic aperitif that was inspired by Aperol.
Seedlip, launched in 2015 by Ben Branson, was considered a milestone in the alcohol-free spirit world; their high-quality products were embraced by consumers, bartenders and restaurateurs.
Ritual makes a collection of zero-proof, zero-calorie liquor alternatives, including rum, tequila, gin and whiskey. The simple bottles show the flavor profiles of their rum alternative. It promises to have notes of star anise and molasses.
Three Spirit refers to their drinks, intended to be mixed into non-alcoholic cocktails, as “botanical alchemy,” featuring plants meant for particular purposes. You may be interested in knowing more about Livener, which contains guayusa (and schizandra). Livener contains guayusa and schizandra (you may want to look these up — I had to!)
Pentire also makes botanical, non-alcoholic spirits which don’t fall into traditional booze categories. Seaward is a seaweed that boasts bright, zesty, and verdant flavors. It contains ingredients such as sea rosemary, sea buckhorn, and pink grapefruit.
Bax Botanics offers variations like Sea Buckhorn and Verbena, with verbena, mint, fennel and citrus.
These drinks can be mixed with club soda, tonic, or mixed into cocktails.
Bars and restaurants are also investing more effort in non-alcoholic products. Along with booze-free bars, there are places like Boisson, a store sells only non-alcoholic products; they opened their first store in New York City last February and since then have opened two more.
Europe and the U.K. have been leading the way in the development of high-quality, non-alcoholic beverages. Borrelli stated that there were only 15 to 20 non-alcoholic brands available three years ago. “Now there are around 200 active players and more coming.”