Here are six good-tasting options to sip when you're taking a break from booze.
If you've committed to Dry January this year—or you're just cutting back on alcohol indefinitely—you might be feeling a teeny bit anxious about the adjustment, and understandably so. But luckily for anyone who's abstaining, there are now a number of tasty bottled non-alcoholic drinks out there to replace your usual beer, wine, or cocktail. Think lightly-carbonated "elixirs," alcohol-free craft pale ale, even an award-winning chardonnay. We can thank the sober curious movement for these fun new options: Trend reports show that people of all ages (especially millennials) are drinking less to get a taste of what life is like off the sauce. You'll find some of these bottles in bars, but you can also stock them at home, and take them along to parties. (If you're into mixology, check out my favorite mocktail recipes, all packed with antioxidants!)
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health's contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a private practice performance nutritionist who has consulted for five professional sports teams.
This brand offers four lightly-carbonated options bottled in dark glass. Made from combinations of organic fruit, veggie juices, herbs, and spices, each elixir is complex, smooth, and bitter. Curious suggests serving the beverages over ice, along with a garnish of orange or lime wheel, but I enjoying sipping them chilled, straight from the bottle. While the drinks don’t contain any added sugar, Nos. 1 and 2 aren’t low-carb. One serving (half a bottle) provides 11-19 grams of carb. For carb watchers, No. 3 contains just 3 grams per serving.
Tost is an award-winning, alcohol-free champagne. An 8-ounce serving contains 45 calories from 11 grams of carb. With hints of peach and citrus and notes of pineapple and mango, it’s not overly sweet, and it has the dryness of champagne. Tost is essentially carbonated white tea and juice, but the fancy bottles and bubbles make it seem truly special. And it provides less caffeine than a decaf coffee at just 3.5 mg per cup.
This craft non-alcoholic beer comes in a can that’s tough to distinguish from the real deal. Available in blonde, IPA, stout, and pale, it even spills suds when you crack it open. Partake is made in Canada by a man who had to give up alcohol due to a medical condition, but missed his beer. It's made with similar ingredients, but minus the step that produces a beer’s usual alcohol content. For example, the blonde contains water, barley, hops, and yeast, and provides just 11 calories per can. Note: Partake contains some alcohol at 0.3%. The average beer is 4-5% alcohol, and kombucha is 0.5-2%.
Made from upcycled grapes and grape skins, O.Vine is a convincing wine doppelganger. It’s even sold in varietals, including cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. The brand describes the beverage as "wine grape infused water." Another award winner, it contains just 20 calories per 8 ounces with 5 g of carb, compared to about 120 calories and 4 g of carb in a smaller 5-ounce pour of traditional wine. It’s also preservative- and sulfite-free, and provides grape-derived antioxidants. I appreciate the elegant looking bottle, as well as the ease of the screw top.
Sold in long neck glass bottles, Mocktails mimic four popular cocktails, which you can guess from their names: Mockarita, Mockscow Mule, Mockapolitan, and Sansgria. Made with filtered water, non-GMO sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and additives like flowers and bitter orange, they contain 18-23 grams of carb per serving and about 80 calories. Want to get creative? The website provides a number of recipes for transforming the base drinks into other concoctions. For example, you can use the Mockscow Mule to make a Scottish Lemonade Whiskey Sour. For a refreshing slushie, you can also blend them with frozen fruit, a cool way to fit in an extra serving of produce.
This brand’s pretty glass bottles come in three varieties: Garden 108, Spice 94, Grove 42. The clear beverages are meant to be used in the same way as liquor—you can down a shot, or combine them with other ingredients to craft cocktails. The company’s website suggests recipes for yummy combinations like a watermelon sour and espresso martini. In addition to being non-alcoholic, Seedlip drinks provide zero calories, and no sweeteners or artificial flavors. The Grove 42, for example, is made from water, natural botanicals, extracts of orange, blood orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger, and lemongrass, with potassium sorbate and citric acid as preservatives.