As we enter the second full week of the new year, maybe that means you’re checking off dry January days as well. Many people decide to abstain from alcohol during the month, but it should also be noted that many people decide not to drink for various reasons throughout the year.
“What’s most interesting is that if you talk to non-alcoholic spirits manufacturers, they’ll tell you that half of their customers sometimes drink…but one of the blessings of this modern age is that you can now decide to have a non-alcoholic cocktail that doesn’t taste like a sugary, non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri,” says contributor Jeanette Hurt.
So whether you’re taking a month off or just don’t fancy an alcoholic drink, Hurt has some tips and drink suggestions to try.
- Chill all your ingredients“Ice has an important role in alcoholic cocktails – it balances things out and eventually melts and sweetens the alcohol. If you use ice in a mocktail, you’re just going to dilute it.”
- Enhance your flavors“It doesn’t hurt with soft drinks to add a tiny bit of saline solution if you want to wake him up, or a bit of bitters.” Hurt notes that most bitters have a bit of an alcoholic base similar to flavorings like vanilla extract, but non-alcoholic bitters are also on the market.
- Keep balance in mind and play with ingredients“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! And if you think of certain cocktails you like, how do you imitate them? Your taste buds should guide what you drink, whether it’s alcoholic or not.”
Whether you’re craving a bitter, sweet or sour soft drink, here are some of Hurt’s suggestions:
Juniper by Boundless Beverages
Junipre is the brainchild of Guy Rehorst of Great Lakes Distillery who sought to make a quality tasting gin without the spirits. More than a year of research and testing has resulted in his new company’s first product, Boundless Beverages, which will be dedicated to alcohol-free options.
“[Rehorst’s] The goal when he did this was to make a spiritless gin that could be used in martinis and still taste great,” Hurt says. “Junipre tastes really good just with club soda. It’s got a bit of a kick, it’s not sweet, and it’s got a lot of the same botanicals in the Rehorst Gin…and it’s very well balanced.”
Additional botanicals have also been added to Junipre, including chili to mimic the burn you feel when drinking alcohol.
Gentian by Top Note Tonic
“Gentiana is their special bartending version. It’s a tonic water made from gentian root and it’s basically to mimic the bitter sodas from Italy,” says Hurt. “Mary Pellettieri, who is the owner of [Top Note] who created this, she wanted something that could be an appetizer on its own if you didn’t want to drink.”
READ: Top Note Tonic is just getting started in the world of no-proof and low-proof drinks
“What I like about Ghia is that it’s actually made from a base of vinifera grape juice. It takes riesling grapes and…then adds botanicals, including the root of gentian, which gives it a bit of that bitter kick. It’s not too sweet and it’s balanced.”
If you’re looking for something ready to go, there’s also a ready-in-a-bottle blender version.
Crisp & Crude is an alcohol-free cocktail based on botanical terpenes extracted from hemp.
“It’s CBD oil extracts, basically. The woman who started this, because she couldn’t drink, was making cocktails using different types of terpene extracts and she said it gave her a little bit of that extra burn or that extra ‘punch.’ but there was still no alcohol,” Hurt says.
These mocktails range from a mango margarita with jalapeño to a lime-raspberry ginger beer and more. “What I like about them, aside from the name, which I think is fantastic, is that they’re not very sweet. They’re very well balanced,” says Hurt. “There is still some sugar content and they have more traditional-type cocktail flavor in their lineup.”
“[These] the cocktails are worth trying if you’re looking for something balanced and ready to drink from a can or pour into a glass.”