I recently shared my experience embarking on a Sober October. Now that I’m on the other side, I can report how nice of a break it was from drinking. I never slept better and felt sooo clear-headed (which was especially important given all the travel I did last month). While I admittedly didn’t start until October 3… and only made it until October 19, it was still a win to clock 2+ weeks without alcohol. Plus, I saved quite a bit of money in the process.
What surprised me during this time was how many bars and restaurants catered to a zero-proof and sober crowd. I found that most with a detailed beverage list had 2-3 mocktails or alternatives on the menu and could easily whip something up if I didn’t see anything listed that was up my alley. A far departure from the O’Douls era I remember back in the day.
Featured image by Joann Pai for our interview with Rebekah Peppler
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The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks To Sip This Season
If any of you are considering a lighter alcohol holiday season or completely going sober, we’ve rounded up six favorites. There are so many options on the market between canned mocktails and non-alcoholic beer, not to mention larger beverage companies like Tanqueray producing zero-proof options as well. We’re curious to hear what your favorites are, too. Drop us a comment below!
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Sparkling Water With Bitters
Most bars and restaurants will have bitters on hand (angostura). If you’re lucky, they might make their own in-house which makes the options a little more fun. I love sparkling water or soda water with bitters. It’s super tasty and refreshing.
Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason
For the at-home mocktail, look no further than Julia Bainbridge’s book. My pal Phil Speer gifted me this last year and it’s chock-full of some really great zero-proof and easy-to-make recipes. Especially perfect if you’re hosting and want to cater to those who aren’t drinking.
Infused with adaptogens and nootropics, Kin is a “daily brain care ritual designed to help you connect to your center and find better balance.” A non-alcoholic drink focused on helping calm the brain and relax—yes, please. You can find these by the can or as a pre-mix at specialty convenience stores and cafés. Use their store locator to find a stockist near you.
I first tried Ghia in the middle of 2020 and couldn’t believe I was actually drinking a non-alcoholic beverage. Their mix topped with a splash of sparkling water tastes like the perfect summer spritz. They also have a fun selection of mixes or ready-to-drink cans with fun flavors inspired by the Mediterranean. I was happy to see this one around several bars and retailers.
Seedlip was one of the earlier non-alcoholic spirits I tried, but within the past few months, I’ve seen it offered at bars, restaurants, and served at many events from baby showers to product launches. If you’re used to a gin and tonic or a vodka soda, give this one a try. Their variety pack of flavors lets you experiment a bit with a good soda water or sparkling water. I’ve found this everywhere from Liquor stores, Anthropologie, and Williams Sonoma.
Considering this is the official non-alcoholic beer sponsor of the IRONMAN races, it should come as no surprise that any kind of workout studio/café hybrid with a beverage offering would carry this product. And while I’m not much of a beer drinker outside of a sporting event, I couldn’t taste the difference. It’s THAT good.
While most celebrities are going all-in on the tequila game, Katy Perry went the apértif (and apoptogenic) route utilizing botanicals to emulate a spritz. While most beverage companies rely on synthetic ingredients for taste, De Soi uses fruit juices and mushrooms for flavor (and function).
This wouldn’t be a list of the best non-alcoholic drinks without mentioning my favorite, the Negroni. Lyre’s makes an entire set of non-alcoholic spirits dedicated to the Negroni lover, plus an entire range of booze-free options.
Bonus! Low-ABV Options
It can feel intimidating to cut out alcohol completely—totally get it. If you’re looking for a cleaner taste and a more enjoyable drinking experience (re: zero hangovers), consider the options below. Both choices are solid in-betweens that retain the flavor minus the harmful effects of consuming alcohol in abundance.