Virgin drinks have a crappy connotation. What, why?! Like we can’t get laid on a rum-less pina colada? Whether you’re trying to decrease your alcohol intake or are just in the mood for something yummy that won’t leave you hungover the next day, we’ve rounded up some booze-free bevvies that’ll hit the spot.
“Near beer” doesn’t have to taste bad. Zero-percent beer has come a long way since the O’Doul’s days. You may be surprised by what you find in the non-alcoholic (NA) section. Companies like Athletic Brewing, WellBeing Brewing, Surreal Brewing Company, Bravus, Partake, and Clausthaler all offer sans-alcohol suds. Heineken recently came out with their own NA beer, Heineken 0.0. If you are trying to avoid alcohol altogether, make sure to read the alcohol by volume (ABV) on the label, as “NA” beer can still contain less than 0.5% ABV. Ginger beer is another alternative for those who enjoy the taste of ginger. See Steady Drinker for a breakdown of the best lagers, pale ales and IPAs, stouts and dark beers, wheat beers, and sours.
You read that right! Uncork the possibilities of non-alcoholic wine. “Isn’t that just grape juice?” you ask. Actually, it’s real wine, just with the alcohol removed. LA-based Ariel Vineyards makes a cabernet sauvignon and a chardonnay for just $9 a bottle.
Sparkling oenophiles need not be left out. Toast to your health with TÖST, an all-natural, low calorie, dry blend of white tea, white cranberry, and ginger. For a more Champagne-like taste, try St Regis Sparkling Brut or Pierre Chavin Perle Blanc. There’s even a rosé, Pierre Chavin Perle Rose so you can #NAroseallday.
Seedlip pioneered distilled non-alcoholic spirits, and then they went the extra mile and made them sugar-free, with zero calories and no artificial flavors. So far, there are three varieties: The citrusy Grove 42; the aromatic, woodsy Spice 94; and herbaceous and floral Garden 108. They all pair nicely with soda or ginger ale and lime, but the site has mocktail recipes for everything from a "Minosa" to a "Panoma". For a more straightforward alternative, Ritual Zero Proof offers zero-proof whiskey and gin which can be substituted for the real thing in an old fashioned or martini.
Mocktail is an obnoxious word, but it will have to do until someone comes up with something more clever. Bar None sells a sangria, cider, spritz, and mule—try all four here. Curious Elixirs makes four “shaken not slurred” non-alcoholic libations. The Curious Elixir No 1 is meant to mimic a Negroni, while Curious No. 2 is described as “the spicy lovechild of the pineapple margarita and the Dark & Stormy.” The herbaceous Curious Elixir No. 3 has floral, cucumber, and lemon notes, with the added healthy boost of ashwagandha extract, but the limited edition No. 4 is what’s up. Made with blood orange, white grape juice, and nonalcoholic Prosecco, it’s the company’s take on classic Italian aperitifs like the Aperol spritz.
Kin Euphorics has come out with its own line of beverages designed to give you a buzz without the booze. Euphorics contain adaptogens and nootropics meant to “lift the mind and relax the body.” The Kin Spritz is a cute little can of citrusy-ginger deliciousness, while the High Rhode and Dream Light are meant to be used a mixer. The New York Times describes Kin’s concoctions, saying euphorics are to liquor what “CBD is to marijuana: a buzz-free buzz, vaguely akin to a CBD ‘body high’. (Imagine dropping an Advil with a mug of green tea in a warm bath.)”
Yet another category that could use rebranding is drinking vinegar, aka “shrubs”. The vinegar-based beverage has nothing to do with bushes as the nomenclature evokes. “Shrub” is derived from sharbah, the Arabic word for “a drink.” Fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar are combined for a sweet/tart flavor. It’s easy to make at home, or you can buy a brand like Horball’s, Mother Shrub, or Girl Meets Dirt. To enjoy, pour over ice and just add some soda water.
Similar to drinking vinegar, Som has a line of non-alcoholic cordials that use organic cane vinegar as its base. The concentrated fruit beverage is tart and sweet. Dilute with sparkling water on the rocks or add flavor to a mocktail. There are six flavors: pineapple, Thai basil, cranberry, tangerine, ginger, and berry. Try them all for $100.