Not Drinking? We Have the Libation You Seek

Dry January. Detox. Sober-curious. Thirsty. Whyever you choose to eschew alcohol this month (or forever), we support you. While drinking zero proof used to be a boring way to belly up to the bar, an awareness has dawned. Artistry and culinary craftiness now play a huge role in the bevy of alcohol-free wines, cocktails, mixers, and functional beverage alternatives on the market today, including those mixed at worldwide bars. Barkeepers have made it a priority to prove that “mocktails” are not fake cocktails, but actually an alternative libation as pleasing as any crafted concoction or fermented glass of grape juice. As sommelier and mixologist Mercedes Cowper of the Willard InterContinental Washington D.C.’s Round Robin Bar says: “The most important aspect of a zero-proof cocktail program is that the same amount of thought and intention put into creating the alcoholic cocktails—or wine—goes into the non-alcoholic options; a zero-proof program shouldn’t be an afterthought.” Here are a few to swill and enjoy.

De Soi

With evocative names such as Golden Hour and Champignon Dreams, Katy Perry’s beyond cool adaptogenic libations are bold, balanced and free of alcohol and its potentially nasty side effects. With a girly vibe, these aperitifs use nontraditional ingredients like reishi mushroom and ashwagandha to provide great taste and a Zen-like chill. 

French Bloom

Launched last year for the holidays, utterly delicious, and beloved by oenophiles in search of a break, fabulously chic French Bloom took the world by storm. Low-calorie with no sugars, pregnancy-friendly, and totally that bubbly rosé we crave for celebration and soiree time, the delightful zero-alcohol, ultra-premium cuvée is so good it can be found in 18 countries and in key luxury bars such as The Carlyle Hotel, Beverly Hills Hotel, and Ritz Paris. At $40 a bottle, the glam, woman-owned label has been highly lauded. A panel of experts in a blind tasting chose it as the “World’s Best Alcohol-Free Sparkling” in the 2022 World’s Best Sparkling Awards.

Surely Red Wine

Oh, red wine lovers—we hear you. It’s been hard to find an alcohol-free wine with gravitas and rouge élan. Enter Surely, envisioned by viticulture expert and winemaker extraordinaire Jess Smith, craft beverage developer Michael Colangelo, and founder & CEO Ryan Hanson to fuse organics, flavor chemistry, mixology, and wine making into a liquid destined to redefine non-alcoholic reds. The trio more than succeeded with a stellar, dealcoholized wine sure to be a pioneer for the future. Complex and mimicking the texture of traditional red wine, Surely consists of a proprietary blend of organic teas, botanicals, and other natural ingredients that ultimately recreate everything we love about the traditional red-wine-drinking experience—sans the alcohol. Try it with pasta Bolognese. Note: Surely also produces a range of sparkling varieties.

Maison Bloom

Not about adaptogenic mushrooms or fruity flavors, Maison Bloom brings a “dance of flavor and finesse” with their groundbreaking, cannabinoid-powered experience drink. Transcending the genre, this fun and tasty beverage offers a new kind of healthy high, ideal for California Sober types and all with a penchant for giggling. Artistry and science combine to ensure a safe balance of THC, CBD, and a realm of floral compounds found in this elevated elixir. Buzzy, made in California, Maison Bloom comes in a variety of flavors, including watermelon and pink peppercorn; peach and wild honeysuckle; lemon, cucumber and sweet basil; and strawberry Provençal and lemongrass. Website.

Martini & Rossi’s Floreale and Vibrante

Armaro fans love a slow sip in a moody bar after dinner—not to mention an Aperol spritz at dusk. But when not drinking, you don’t have to give that up. Martini & Rossi’s master blenders have craftedFloreale and Vibrante  (SRP $19.99 per bottle) to provide that aperitivo (or digestif) opportunity with zero alcohol. Without sacrificing high quality ingredients, the storied brand has woven floral and citrus flavors into these divine blenders. Try a Floreale Spritz or Vibrante & Tonic.

Jukes Cordialites

By Johnny Stephens

Plant-based and astonishingly tasty, Jukes uses apple vinegar as its hero ingredient to bring the world a healthy alternative sure to light up the teetotaler’s life. With lower cholesterol and divine flavors, this garden-derived drink was created by Matthew Jukes, a renowned wine aficionado, who wanted to bring the world something that was gastronomically on par with wine. The range of non-alcoholic cordials includes a canned sparkling collection and a small box format tasting box (concentrate)

Betty Buzz 

Sparkling lemon-lime, ginger beer, and Meyer lemon club soda are just a few of the flavors zero alcohol seekers can toy with when they indulge in Betty Buzz. Founded by Blake Lively in the belief that “what we drink should be held to the same standard as what we eat,” the company uses extremely high quality, very clean ingredients to achieve profoundly flavored sippers and mixers that take zero drinkers to another realm. The portfolio’s tonic water won “Tonic of the Year” at the 2022 NY International Spirits Competition. (Note: Their new line of pre-mixed (with alcohol) cocktails, Betty Booze, launched recently.)