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Once upon a time, nonalcoholic drinks were relatively boring. If you were skipping the booze, you were stuck sipping sugary mocktails, saccharine sodas, or simply water. Thanks to a fantastic range of new nonalcoholic drinks producers, going dry has never been more exciting. Now, there are alcohol-free proseccos, hemp-infused drinks, and upscale sodas made from artisanal grapes.
Whether you’re sober or sober-curious, there are many benefits to stocking your home bar with no-proof options. In the NA world, there’s something for everyone: bottles for cocktail lovers, booze-free bubbly for mimosa fans, and zero-proof botanical spirits for those who like to sip.
Here are the best nonalcoholic drinks.
Best Overall: Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Bubbly Rosé
Even rosé season can shift to sober, thanks to this Canadian line of booze-free bubbles. Gruvi first released an excellent Prosecco riff a few years back, but this take on our favorite blush wine is particularly exciting. The semi-dry sparkling rosé is delicious sipped alone or mixed in a spritz with fresh juice. Think of it as the love child of rosé and soda. It has bright, effervescent bubbles packed in single-serving bottles, compact enough to haul to parks or elsewhere on the go. One 10-ounce bottle can be poured into two Champagne flutes and contains 0 percent alcohol with just 60 calories.
Gruvi really shines as an alternative to celebratory beverages. Toast to a new year or pour it in orange juice to keep your brunch mimosa tradition without the buzz. You can even squeeze in lemon juice with a few bitters for a nonalcoholic version of a French 75.
Best CBD: Recess Infused Sparkling Water Variety Pack
This CBD-infused sparkling water from Recess aims to uplift and refocus without overhyping your body. Plus, the matte pastel cans are incredibly chic. The line of artisanal sparkling water contains hemp and adaptogens, and each one is made with organic ingredients. We think it makes a great alternative to sweet sodas or midday coffees.
Currently, Recess offers six adaptogen-infused flavors, including blood orange, coconut lime, pomegranate hibiscus, blackberry chai, peach ginger, and black cherry. Each 12-ounce can contains about 30 calories, 4 to 6 grams of carbs, and less than 6 grams of sugar. One can contains 10 milligrams of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis compound.
Best Soda: DRY Non-Alcoholic Botanical Bubbly Sparkling Water
DRY Non-Alcoholic Botanical Sparkling Water is specifically crafted with the non-drinker in mind. The canned mocktail company highlights botanicals and flavors to create playful canned mixers, each made with just four simple ingredients, including cane sugar to sweeten. There are nine different flavors, such as cooling cucumber, tart Rainier cherry, vanilla, juniper berry, lavender, and more. All have a light, refreshing taste.
If you do plan on drinking, these drinks make great mixers, too. Simply add your favorite spirit—the cucumber flavor pairs well with gin, and the ginger option is great with whiskey. Keeping these on hand at home will please both drinkers and non-partakers.
Runner-Up, Best Soda: United Sodas of America Toasted Coconut 12-Pack
Gone are the days of sugary soda pops. United Sodas of America's pops are made from a fruit basket of organic flavorings. Launched by two Coca-Cola vets who wanted to give the saccharine soda of our childhood days an organic makeover, each can has 30 calories and is sweetened with organic, plant-based ingredients. Twelve different flavors suit every type of drinker, from strawberry basil and lemon verbena to sour blueberry and cherry.
Sip them alone or try mixing the flavors in a mocktail or cocktail. Test out a zero-proof bloody mary with the lemon verbena soda (add tomato juice and seasoning) or a berry mojito with the blueberry flavor. Just add a squeeze of lime and hint of mint.
Best Aperitif: Ghia Non-Alcoholic Apéritif
“Ghia is one of those products I think will become a bartender staple for nonalcoholic drinks,” says Derek Brown, spirits expert and the owner of D.C.’s The Columbia Room. The spirit-free aperitif is made with natural juice from the riesling grape and a selection of herbs, extracts, and botanicals. It’s one of the most complex nonalcoholic drinks on the market with layered, nuanced flavors of gentian root, yuzu juice, fig concentrate, elderflower, orange peel, ginger, and rosemary.
This spirit-free drink is inspired by Mediterranian dinners. Sip it after supper, preferably with a seaside sunset—if only on your TV. The storied, thoughtfully designed bottle will sit pretty on your home bar.
Best Versatile: Fluère Non-Alcoholic Distilled Spirit
Crafted in the Netherlands, Fluère replicates the world’s most storied alcoholic spirits, from gin and whiskey to a smoky mezcal. By mimicking the distilling techniques of spirits makers, the company is able to create a drink that tastes just like a real spirit; if you’re a cocktail fan looking for a nonalcoholic beverage, this option is for you.
Fluère’s original flavor is an excellent alternative to gin or vodka, with elegant notes of juniper and lime peel. Try it poured with tonic water and a squeeze of citrus.
"The floral blend of botanicals is gentle and easy to approach," says Domenico Di Bucchianico, formerly of the Ritz Hotel London and creator of the cocktail blog and learning platform Dedycated. "It opens up with ginger, black pepper, and a bit of chili, leading to a long and persistent aftertaste of botanicals that are typical of gin."
Best Mocktail: Curious Elixirs No. 1 Booze-Free Cocktail
Hudson Valley-based Curious Elixirs creates restorative, nonalcoholic cocktails, each packaged in charming single-serve bottles. These elixirs check off multiple other boxes, too: They're gluten-, dairy-, GMO-, and nut-free, and fair trade.
This company swings for the fences by replicating flavors of classic cocktails using organic juices, spices, herbs, roots, and barks. No. 1 is a take on the Negroni, made using pomegranate and rhodiola extracts. Another good one, No. 3, combines lemon, cucumber, alpine herbs, and ashwagandha to mimic the flavors of a cucumber Collins. Old-fashioned fans will love No. 5, made with elderberry and ginger.
Best Sipper: Proteau Zero-Proof Botanical Drinks, Set of 2
Proteau is the brainchild of award-winning bartender John deBary, who cut his teeth running the bar program at Momofuku and New York’s PDT. After wondering why the nonalcoholic world felt lacking, he spent years studying and playing with the flavors of different kinds of vinegar and botanicals before he landed on the recipe for Proteau, a new zero-proof botanical beverage.
Proteau’s first release, Ludlow, is incredibly elegant, made with complex layers of fig vinegar, blackberries, rose flower, roasted dandelion root, chrysanthemum, and blackberry juice. Sip it neat as a nightcap or chill it down with a few ice cubes.
The second release, Rivington Spritz, is a more refreshing, albeit tart take on the no-ABV aperitif, made with hibiscus, chamomile, strawberry, and Champagne vinegar. The 750-milliliter bottle of Ludlow contains 30 calories per serving and has no added sugar. Rivington Spritz, available in the same size, has 20 calories per serving.
What to Look for in a Nonalcoholic Drink
Many of these drinks will have sugar in them because of the way they're made. If you're concerned about sugar and other ingredients, check the label. You might be pleasantly surprised at how little the amount of sugar is in some of these drinks. Explore and find one that fits your parameters.
You want something that your taste buds are going to enjoy. There's nothing like that refreshing taste of mint, or berries, bursting in your mouth. Whatever makes your taste buds happy should top your list of nonalcoholic beverages to buy.
Watch out for the number of calories that are in some of these nonalcoholic drinks, as they can creep up on you. Check labels for calorie content.
What nonalcoholic drink can you order when at a bar or restaurant?
The all-famous, very recognizable, Shirley Temple, pops into our mind first, then others like an Arnold Palmer, Roy Rogers, or club soda. You can also order one of your favorite alcoholic drinks as a mocktail.
Do nonalcoholic drinks need to be refrigerated?
These drinks can be stored in your pantry. It is not necessary to refrigerate them unless they have been opened.
Do nonalcoholic drinks expire?
Yes, some do, while others don't. Make sure you check for an expiration date. Nonalcoholic wines tend to have a shorter shelf life. Just be cognizant of any expiration dates for whatever of these drinks you get.
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Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. She is based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III qualification.