For those who enjoy the ritual of mixing up a cocktail or sipping wine while cooking dinner, Dry January can be a struggle—but there’s no doubt that the benefits of taking some time away from booze are many. While there are countless alcohol-free drinks available (we love the humble cup of tea or iced water) the options for those that mimic the flavors, styles and even the buzz that cocktails, beer and wine provide continue to increase in number and quality. The selection here are anything but sugar-filled, high-calorie cocktail imposters. From booze-free beer to botanical sodas, spirits crafted with adaptogens and more, these are sophisticated, delicious and healthy options.
Co-founded by master distiller Morgan Mclachlan, AMASS focuses on botanicals, be it in their spirits or body products. Their alcohol-free offering, Riverine Spirit ($35) contains 14 regional botanics including juniper, sumac, sorrel, mint and thyme. The light, citrus-forward, herbaceous drink—which is somewhat akin to gin—can be blended into cocktails, sipped neat or over ice with a little tonic. For residents of states where cannabis is legal, AMASS also offers the sublime Afterdream, made with a blend of THC, CBD and Delta-8 for a mellow feeling.
Featuring a Sparkling Rosé, Blanc Burgunder and Prickly Red, Studio Null’s The First Release ($85) is a trio of luscious grape-based, non-alcoholic wines. Studio Null sources delectable, high quality wines from Germany and Spain, then taps dealcoholization experts to distill the alcohol out prior to bottling. Each wine is complex, delicious and not too sweet. The Sparkling Rosé, crafted from a blend of Portugieser and Silvaner grapes, is the most celebratory of the three.
Acid League began by reimagining vinegar and have now released some of the most impressive non-alcoholic wines we have come across. Their Tasting Set ($73) includes Sauvage (made from green apples and Sauvignon Blanc grapes), Pastiche (lychees, pineapples, peaches and Gewurztraminer grapes), Zephyr (strawberries, rhubarb, apples and Sauvignon Blanc grapes) and Nightshade (cherries, cranberries and Sangiovese grapes). Each also incorporates various teas, as well as subtle but crucial spices and acidity—from paprika to sundried tomato vinegar. The result are layered, complex drinks—mimicking two whites, a rose and a red—that will please wine-drinkers who want to skip the alcohol.
Figlia founder Lily Geiger lost her father to alcoholism when she was 20 years old, and founded the company in order to encourage more inclusive and honest discourse surrounding alcohol. Made with all natural ingredients, the brand’s Fiore apertivo ($43) has no added sugars or preservatives. The sophisticated bitter, floral flavor comes courtesy of white grape juice concentrate, ginger, lemon, natural elderflower flavor, black currant juice concentrate, ginseng root, as well as extract of chamomile, rose and rosemary. Acting as a stand-in for the likes of Campari, Aperol or a vermouth, this drink can be used in many ways—and Figlia has several appetizing mocktail recipes on their website. The company also supports organizations Partnership to End Addiction and 1% for the Planet.
Pentire’s non-alcoholic, 100% plant-based spirits bottle the beauty of the North Cornwall coastline and its unique plant life. Their original formulation, Adrift ($36) utilizes these local plants—specifically, rock samphire, sage, lemon citrus and Cornish sea salt—for a crisp, herbaceous flavor. Serve it over ice with a seltzer or tonic and topped with lemon, rosemary or bay leaf—or in any number of other ways. No matter the style, this drink refreshes.
Gingergrass Adaptogenic Sparkling Water + Hemp
From DRAM comes an adaptogenic sparkling water ($49 for 12-pack) that can help reduce nausea, anxiety and inflammation thanks to 25mg of broad-spectrum CBD in each 12-ounce can—which is legal in all 50 states. With flavor from ginger root, amla berry, rhodiola root, Canadian chaga mushroom and lemon salt, the overall taste is herbaceous without being grassy. With no sugar added, this fizzy drink is also naturally vegan and gluten-free.
The hemp-infused non-alcoholic spirit Aplós ($48) aims to uplift with each sip. Every two-ounce pour of the complex beverage delivers 20mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract. The liquid is sugar-free and drawn from non-GMO components only. The luscious flavor profile—citrus first, followed by notes of rosemary—was formulated in collaboration with James Beard honoree Lynnette Marrero. It’s so fresh that each 500ml bottle only has a 60-day shelf life after opening. Aplós can be served on the rocks, where its brightness shines through, but it can also mix well (the brand offers recipes on their site).
Optimist Botanicals Smokey Spirit
Beverage brand Optimist Botanicals specializes in distilled, non-alcoholic spirits. Their Smokey ($35) iteration—available now in 500ml bottles—employs clove, ginger, sage, bergamot, cinnamon leaf, habanero and angelica root to replicate the experience of sipping an ultra-smooth, subtle mezcal. A suggested serving entails mixing one part Smokey and two parts sparkling (tonic or club). We found, though, that mixing equal parts proves even more pleasant on the palate.
Grapefruit Rosemary Social Tonic
Cann’s cannabis-infused “social” tonics offer a gentle buzz from a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio. Even if one were to drink the entire six-pack ($24), just 12 milligrams would be consumed—a relatively standard dose for edibles. Our favorite iteration, the smooth and citrusy Grapefruit Rosemary flavor, goes down with a slight viscosity and pleasant carbonation. Of course, that’s all without the residual impact of alcoholic drinks.
A warm, zesty drink, bonbuz’s slowburn ($40) builds on the brand’s original ingredients and adds ginger, blood orange, grapefruit and jalapeño. The spicy concoction leaves a little heat and tingle that spicy margarita enthusiasts will enjoy. With five calories per serving, it’s free of booze, gluten and sugar.
Lightwave Canned Drink
From Kin Euphorics, Lightwave combines unexpected ingredients (adaptogens, nootropics and botanicals) for a surprisingly smooth drink. Within the concoction ($27 for four), there’s apple juice, birch bark extract, allulose, lime juice, vanilla extract, American oak extract, smoked salt and more. The various ingredients work together to improve clarity and focus, as well as reduce stress.
Salcombe Distilling Co’s New London Light
Salcombe Distilling Co‘s refreshing alcohol-free spirit New London Light ($35), aka NLL, is born from the distillate of three botanicals: Macedonian juniper berries, ginger and habanero capsicum. The South Devon, England-based brand then incorporates 15 additional components—ranging from citrus and cardamom to sage. Every ingredient is all-natural (and there’s no added sugar) and the resulting liquid is aromatic, zesty and smooth from start to finish. It can be served any way—neat, on the rocks or as a replacement for gin in a cocktail.
We attended the online launch of Suntory All-Free ($20 for a six-pack), as we were eager to see if the Japanese brand could maintain its commitment to quality and replicate the success it has seen with whisky, gin and vodka. To our delight, the sparkling malt-and-hops beverage (as they refer to it) delivers lasting effervescence and crisp, albeit light, flavor.
Curious Elixir No. 2
A zesty bottled mocktail, Curious Elixer No. 2 ($35 for four bottles, each containing two servings) boasts notes of ginger and pineapple balanced with the bitterness of the Mayan herb damiana. Aromatic and spicy, this sugar-free drink is reminiscent of the classic Dark ‘n’ Stormy and can be sipped from the bottle or served over ice.
Ghia Non-Alcoholic Apéritif
Packed with citrus and floral flavors, Ghia ($33) comprises riesling white grape juice, yuzu and fig, along with extract of orange peel, elderflower, ginger, rosemary and lemon balm. With no alcohol or added sugars, the apéritif remains tasty and herbaceous—and packs quite a potent punch. Mix it with seltzer water and serve over ice for a simple sipper, or take a look at their website for more involved concoctions.
Sparkling Social Tonic Variety Pack
After family members were hospitalized for alcoholism, Evan Quinn and George Youmans founded Hiyo, an alcohol alternative. Hiyo’s health-focused sparkling tonics ($40) provide delectable flavors and mood-boosting, organic adaptogens, all grounded by light carbonation. Throughout their variations (which include peach mango, watermelon lime and blackberry lemon), these refreshing beverages feature a slew of beneficial botanicals, like ashwagandha to regulate cortisol levels and relieve stress, lion’s mane to fuel brain health and mental clarity and l-theanine to enhance focus and improve sleep. These herbs, in addition to others, make Hiyo a well-rounded and beneficial drink of choice.
Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image courtesy of Kin Euphorics