Gift Guide: Alternative Cocktail Ingredients

No-ABV components that offer a good time

Interest in low- and no-ABV drinks is on the rise—and more people are making an effort to accommodate those looking for alternatives. There are plenty of ingredients on the market that abstain from alcohol but provide relaxation, alleviation or a good time. From THC- and CBD-infused components to a bottled euphoric and unexpectedly spicy salt, there’s bound to be a cocktail ingredient (a bubbly base, tangy afterthought or delectable syrup) that suites someone’s tastes and desired affects—and it’s likely to be on our list.

Cannabis-Infused Ginger Beer

Whether used as the base for a cannabis-heightened Moscow Mule or as a standalone drink, Magic Number’s cannabis-infused ginger beer ($16) is subtle enough, at only 3mg, for first-timers or for those looking for mild highs. The beer itself is made using only three ingredients: sustainably-grown Peruvian ginger, natural cane sugar and water. For the listed price, you’ll receive one 12 oz bottle; for availability, refer to the brand’s product locator page.

CBD-Infused Honey

Sourced from Bee Local in Portland, Oregon, Alto EssentialsCBD-infused honey ($19) (which is also available with THC) is dark, robust and incredibly high-end—and it contains the cannabinoid best known for soothing inflammation and stress. Use the honey as you normally would and reap the benefits of the 5mg serving of CBD.

Curious No. 1: Negroni

Curious Elixirs’ drinks are complex and nuanced takes on classic cocktails, without alcohol. This one ($35)—billed as something somewhere between a Negroni and an Old Fashioned—is herbaceous, bitter and boasts notes of pomegranate and orange peel. Plus, every bottle comes packed with an adaptogen blend designed to supply the body with antioxidants, increase and improve circulation and fight usual fatigue. In this lightly carbonated iteration, which comes packaged as eight cocktails in four bottles, there’s both gentian root and golden root extract.

THC-Infused Lemonade

Explicitly defined as potent, but dosed to be divvied out into 10mg shots, Colorado-based Keef Brand’s THC-infused lemonade ($17) is a sweet and summery addition to any virgin base. Whether it’s mixed into sparkling water (our preference) or into a complex mocktail, the lemon flavor tastes more like a lemon candy than artificial lemon flavoring. Plus, it grants a sizable dose of Vitamin C, B3, B6 and B12. To find it near you, refer to Keef Brands’ product locator page.

Pure 10 Dissolvable THC Powder

With 10 individual packets including 10mg of THC each, Ripple’s dissolvable powder ($28) is flavorless, and calorie-, sugar- and GMO-free. Thanks to technology developed by Stillwater Brands, the dose is fast-acting and free from unpleasant odors or tastes. It is a welcome addition to virgin bases—seltzers, smoothies, coffee, etc—and provides just enough of a high to afford relief. For availability refer to the brand’s product locator page.

High Rhode Euphoric

Crafted from a blend of nootropics, adaptogens and botanics, Kin Euphoric’s High Rhode ($39) is bottled bliss. Inside, there are eight servings, each meant to be prepared over ice, and then topped with soda and served with lime. Notes of Hibiscus, gentian and licorice are most noticeable on the palate. There’s no alcohol inside the euphoric, but it “helps to calm the body’s response to stress and supports the brain’s neurotransmitters for a bliss you can feel.”

CBD-Infused Pure Toothpicks

With both Spilanthes extract (aka the “toothache” plant, which is a detoxifying agent) and CBD, Pure Kana’s toothpicks ($29) offer “up to 50 minutes of oral CBD release” or 25mg in total. There’s also a citrusy flavor that invokes the salivary glands and increases absorption. Whether they act as part of a garnish for an elegant cannabis cocktail or are used on their own, they deliver a calming experience.

Destillare Basque Red Chili Salt

Rich, flavorful and undoubtedly spicy, Copper & Kings’ Destillare margarita salt ($8) is made from evaporated Pacific sea salt and Basque red chiles. The result is a textural ingredient that affords spiciness, a slight sweetness and unmatched complexity to any mixed drink.

Rosemary Grapefruit Hemp-Infused Beverage

Infused with 15mg of hemp-derived CBD, Aurora’s rosemary grapefruit-flavored elixir ($28) is soothing but ultra-subtle. It invokes a feeling of imbibing but it doesn’t inebriate or induce unsavory side effects. Piney but slightly sweet and citrusy, the beverage is delectable, effervescent and does well on its own or over ice. You’ll receive four bottles for the listed price.

THC-Infused Sparkling Seltzer

Infused with 10mg of water soluble THC distillate, Oh Hi’s pomegranate seltzer ($8) is tangy, juicy and fruit-forward. The concoction, made from all-natural ingredients, is refreshing and low in sugar (only five grams) and can be the bubbly base for any cannabis-focused cocktail. For availability near you, refer to the brand’s product locator page.


Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image by Heidi’s Bridge courtesy of Kin Euphorics