As the year draws to a close, many are prepping for their New Years soirees, which — in many cases — involve copious amounts of alcohol. Conversely, many others are planning on partaking in "Dry January," which marks an entire month of sobriety.
As Salon Food has previously reported, the no (or low) alcohol movement is most certainly picking up speed. While attending an event while sober used to be potential pressure or trigger for some, it's become incredibly simple to merely order a nonalcoholic beer or enjoy a spirit-free libation at many bars or restaurants. Heck, I even saw a few dealcoholized bottles of wine at a Christmas party a few weeks back.
Clearly, this is no fad. Abstaining from alcoholic — for whatever reason — is becoming more in vogue. This is evidenced in the sheer breadth of products now available, many of which are being produced by young, new companies. No matter if you're in the mood for wine, beer, spirits, sparkling wine or something else altogether, there's a delicious option for everyone.
The other cool thing about nonalcoholic drinks? You can sip on them at any time. They make a great addition to your repertoire of beverages to enjoy, no matter if you're attending a rollicking jamboree, cuddled on the couch or simply working at your desk.
As noted on MONDAY's bottle, "a cultural shift is underway. A mindset toward self-care staying sharp, and living without compromise. A movement that refuses to choose between good health and great taste. Whether you don't drink alcohol or are just sober curious, Monday is here to help you cheers with delicious drinks."
And that about sums it all up.
So no matter if you're book-ending your Dry January with a riotous, liquor-filled New Years Eve and February or you plan on remaining "dry" for the bulk of 2023, here's a list of terrific alcohol-free libations to enjoy whenever you're feeling thirsty.
Smelling, tasting and feeling uncannily like beer, Visitor is the real deal. It truly transported me back to the Solo cup-ridden townhouses of my glorious college days.
Their website states "Visitor is a crisp, clean, lightly hopped non-alcoholic beer. It's also gluten-reduced." It also notes that "Visitor contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is the widely accepted limit for non-alcoholic beverages" and that the flavor has "slightly fruity aromas and a subtle note of toasted malt." And I can certainly testify to that.
Jukes is a London-based company that produces a myriad of products, including including sparkling beverages in cans, as well as "cordialities" which can be mixed with water, sparkling water or tonic. Named after the founder Matthew Jukes, each of their drinks contain organic apple cider vinegar. They have eight numbered drinks, each with a different personality and flavor profile, but all tied together by the Jukes ethos and philosophy. The products are all alcohol-free, as well as vegan, gluten free and halal, according to their website.
Bright and bubbly, Jukes' many flavors and products pair especially well with foods, as noted according to the company. The pairings are superb! Any of the options are a lovely choice.
An Italian-produced dry red wine, this is a fantastic "table wine." It's made with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grapes, with "fruits of the forest and hints of spice on the nose," as noted by this Boisson product page.
The company began working with specialty Italian foods before beginning to explore the alcohol-free realm, exploring dealcoholized wines which go through a "reverse Osmosis natural filtration system removing the alcohol," according to the website. The wines have no chemical additives or natural flavores and are vegan.
This 0.0 Classic Italian Rosso also has "accompanying mineral undertones on the palate," and pairs beautifully with various foods, from grilled proteins to pasta dishes. It'd also be excellent in red wine reductions or drizzles.
According to their website, Sovi produces "distinctive wines sourced directly from growers, gently distilled to remove the alcohol."
"So whether you are the DD, the marathon runner, the early riser, the parent-afraid-of-a-hangover, or the water-between-wines friend, grab a glass and enjoy," said the company.
Based in California, Sovi was founded by a husband-and-wife team. Their Chenin Blanc is subtle and understated, with floral undertones. The product page notes that it "has notes of honeydew melon, pear and Meyer Lemon ... with crisp acidity." It's made with grapes from a single vineyard in Clarksburg, California and is fermented in stainless steel before being aged for a year.They also sell bottled Reserve Red, as well as cans of sparkling white, red blend and sparkling rose.
Mocktail Club produces "premium crafted non-alcoholic cocktails made with natural ingredients and flavors," according to their packaging. Their Manhattan Berry flavor is tart and complex, while also being downright delicious and refreshing. It's a lightly sparkling beverage made with blackberry, pear shrub and ginger. A percentage of their sales also goes to clean water access support.
They also sell Capri Spritz (with pomegranate cranberry shrub and lemongrass), Bombay Fire (with pomegranate, tea, agave and chili) and Havana Twist (with lime, cucumber and mint shrub with cardamom), as noted by their website. Delicious!
Starla's website notes that the brand's products were "created for wine lovers wishing to nix the spirits, but savor the experience. Our trio of premium varietals are delicious for sipping, socializing, and pairing." Their alcohol removed wines include a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc and a sparkling rose. Each product is 0.50% alcohol by volume. The red blend is terrific, with a soft lavender note and a floral aftertaste that makes it impossible to have just one sip.
Their "about" page says that the company was founded to be "undeniably feminine, high stylized, and lifestyle-focused," stating that "Starla represents the inner star in all of us and the brand imagery tells the story of how luminous your life can be on your terms, without alcohol."
According to their website, "TÖST was created to fill the immense space when the consumer is looking for more than a sparkling water when they are not drinking alcohol."
I adored the sparkling rose with white tea, ginger and elderberry flavor, which truly convinced me I was drinking "real" champagne. Effervescent, refreshing, bright and tart, it encapsulated every positive aspect of champagne or sparkling wine, which I've always loved. They also sell "all-natural, delicious, dry, sparkling, alcohol-free beverages with white tea, white cranberry and ginger," as noted by their website. Both are sold in 750-milliliter sizes and TÖST also sells "singles," which are smaller bottles that come in 4-packs. Perfect for sharing!
The Monday bottles say "free of alcohol, full of spirit," which really encompasses the ethos of the nonalcoholic "movement," if you will.
The company sells award-winning whiskey, mezcal and gin. In their FAQ page, Monday writes: "Yes, we contain between 0.3-0.5% ABV. This is on par with the alcohol content found in a ripe banana, about 2-3x less than the bun on a typical burger, and up to 7x less alcohol than the soy sauce on your poke bowl."
Who knew? You learn something every day.
All of their zero-alcohol products can be sipped or stirred in cocktails or with different pairings. When it comes to their gin, the website notes that "strong juniper throughout is accompanied by notes of bitter lemon, grapefruit with a hint of coriander. Finishes long with complexity and heat that develops over time."
The gin is zero carbs, no sugar, made from natural ingredients, vegan, gluten-free and keto. Win-win!
Perhaps most importantly? Their gin tastes fantastic and just like "the real thing."
DRY's spiced pear botanical bubbly has one of the most appealing aromas of any beverage I've consumed, with a full, robust effervescence. As the packaging notes, the beverages are perfect to "toast. pair. mix." Their Lavender 76 is also a fantastic option.
Operating since 2005, the companies' beverages have been sold at high-end restaurants throughout California, "establishing the first movement of zero-proof in the early 2000's," according to their website, before expanding even further ever since. They even released "The Guide To Zero-Proof Cocktails" in November 2020 and they currently sell botanical bubblies, bitters and sodas.
"Lyre's was created to change the way the world drinks and give freedom of choice," according to the company's website. "We've all encountered social situations where we would like to enjoy a drink, but for one reason or another, a non-alcoholic option is a good choice. The unique Lyre's range of premium non-alcoholic variants contain the same natural essences, extracts and distillates that match the aroma, taste and appearance you find within time tested classics."
They produce a "Classic Grande," an award-winning drink that is similar to a classic champagne or Prosecco. It comes in bottles or cans and is flavored with green apple, pear, peach and red apple. Beyond this, Lyre's has an amazing breadth of products, from their "classic Grande" to Italian Spritz (pretend you're at The White Lotus), American Malt, Dry London Spirit, Amaretti, Agave Blanco Spirit and many more.
Their Highland Malt is amazingly complex, with deep, sharp flavors, "evoking notes of the finest grains, toffees, peat and oaks," according to the bottle. My brother, who is home for the holidays, especially enjoyed the Classico!
According to BARE's homepage, "the ritual of raising a glass is sacred but the decision whether or not to imbibe shouldn't leave anyone out." BARE — which states that they produce premium non-alcoholic cocktails, "no mock, no virgin" — sell Modern Classic Gin, Bourbon Whiskey and Reposado Style Tequila.
I really enjoyed their tequila, which had such a forward, clean flavor that was really bright and forward. The website states that "non-alcoholic flavored expression with notes of agave, serrano, fresh-cut grass. It can be used for making low and/or non-alcoholic cocktails where tequila would normally be used." It's sensational.
Perhaps the most unique product on the list, this "active botanical drink" lives up to the words on the bottle — and then some: "Energizing. Juicy. Fiery. Non-alcoholic."
It also contains caffeine and less than .5% ABV. The flavor is bright, vegetal and herbal, with a peppery, sharp finish.
It can be enjoyed on its own or enjoyed with seltzer, tonic, or still water over ice. The bottle notes "a fierce, fiery elixir powdered by guayusa, schizandra and energizing plants used for centuries in remedies and potions. Lifted by vibrant berries, bright aromatics and heat for a lively, euphoric feeling."
Think of it as a mix between a natural energy drink and a potent nonalcoholic beverage. It is so wholly original; you won't be able to stop sharing it with friends, family and loved ones.
Avec produces a line of thoughtful, creative mixers, using real ingredients and "dramatically less sugar than other mixers," as per their website. With flavors like yuzu and lime, grapefruit and pomelo, ginger and hibiscus and pomegranate, there's an option for everyone. Their website also offers some wonderful drink recipes and suggestions, too — both with and without alcohol.
Also, they don't need to be mixed with anything! They're delicious enjoyed all on their own. I found the hibiscus and pomegranate to be especially refreshing and tart.
Spiritless produces a Kentucky spiced non-alcoholic cinnamon whiskey, which is deemed a "distilled non-alcoholic spirit for whiskey cocktails," according to the packaging (which also has a "less is yes" moniker on the top of the bottle). The flavor is rounded, festive and rich, with that trademark burn towards the back of your throat after each sip.
Boisson, which calls itself "your neighborhood dry drinks & mixology shop," states "Kentucky 74 SPICED is made using our proprietary reverse distillation process and delivers a premium-quality cinnamon whiskey that's strong enough to stand on its own but smooth enough for your craft cocktail."
The product also has notes of vanilla and baking spices in addition to the cinnamon and can be enjoyed in any of your favorite whiskey cocktails — or just straight out of the bottle. In addition their award-winning whiskeys, they also produce tequilas.
Truthfully, I'm not a huge wine guy, but I might be if all wines tasted like this. It is everything that white wine should be and more. The Eins Zwei Chardonnay is fruity, light and crisp; I found it really terrific in a thirst quenching type of way. It's a really fantastic product.
"A golden hue accompanies a dry palate with fresh fruit and clean citrus at the forefront," Boisson states. "Expect a pleasantly long aftertaste."
Made in the Pfalz region of Germany, the product uses Chardonnay grapes which are "grown, harvested, and fermented before undergoing delicate vacuum distillation to remove alcohol and preserve classic wine-like characteristics. Vinous qualities are delicately upheld in a clean, fruit-forward palate and gentle acidity," according to the company.
Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.