thehas been on the rise for some time now, and according to the latest NielsenIQ study, there has been a 315% increase in online purchases of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks in the past year. Another study by Fact.MR, a market research company, predicts that by 2031, alcohol-free wine could represent a $ 4.5 billion industry.
Even while engaging in aor a “sober September” is nothing new, it begs the question: why more adults are getting sober or admission? According to Hilary Sheinbaum, journalist and author of The Dry Challenge, there are many reasons people say no to alcohol. “There are health benefits like better sleep, better digestion, more energy and weight loss… and some people are tired of having hangovers,” she says. Sheinbaum points out that there is plenty of research to support the dangers of alcohol use, and that Millennials and Gen Z have adopted more health-conscious (and less watered) lifestyles.
If you or a loved one are one of the many who have given the booty to alcohol this year – or even if you’re just going to be the designated driver for the holiday season – you’ll be happy to hear it. There are a variety of alcohol-free options you can bring to this year’s parties. Alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits have the flavor profiles of your favorite alcoholic beverages, without the buzz. I have researched and personally tested the taste of over 10 of these alcohol-free brands and delved into customer reviews to decide which taste is best and closest to the truth. Read on to find the best non-alcoholic drinks for your holiday season this year.
Athletic Brewing Company, a Connecticut brewing company specializing in alcohol-free craft beer, sent me three selections to try: Run Wild IPA, Free Wave Hazy IPA, and Upside Dawn Golden Ale. The brewing company also has its own stout beer and other limited edition beers. To develop its alcohol-free beer, Athletic Brewing uses just four ingredients: water, hops, yeast and barley. They also keep alcohol by volume (ABV) below 0.5% to meet the qualifications for a non-alcoholic beer.
To my surprise, Run Wild IPA and Free Wave Hazy IPA taste exactly the same as a traditional alcoholic IPA and have enough carbonation to pass too. The Upside Down Golden Ale is the only version of the three that is gluten free, but has the less carbonated and slightly darker taste that I prefer. I had friends who brewed their own beer and they found Athletic to be a solid choice for an alcohol-free IPA. I would recommend Athletic Brewing Company as a solid substitute for those who enjoy IPAs, but are trying to cut down on their alcohol intake.
If you are a sparkling wine drinker looking for an alcohol-free wine substitute, Semblance is about to become your go-to. Semblance is made from California chardonnay grapes and has a crunchy, dry flavor profile that almost resembles a sparkling wine. It is packaged in an elegant green bottle with a cap sealed in gold foil. I was so impressed with the presentation and taste that I wouldn’t have known the difference between the Semblance version and a real glass of Chardonnay. This sparkling drink is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
I was impressed with the packaging of the Free Spirits, as they deceptively resemble real bottles of bourbon, tequila, or gin. What is even more surprising is the realism of the smell of gin and bourbon when the bottles are opened. Bourbon, my favorite selection of the three, had the flavors and elements of real liquor (like a mild oak wood aroma, combined with vanilla and other spices).
Free Spirits follows a process called Distillate Reconstruction, which involves identifying the unique flavors and raw materials of each spirit, and then distilling those materials into natural and botanical extracts. The brand also infuses its alcohol-free spirits with B vitamins and amino acids to help improve your mood and make drinks more nutritious. Free Spirits can be served on their own or mixed with your favorite cocktail.
DRY Botanical Bubbly Reserve markets itself as a soda company that also makes soft drinks. Sodas come in cans, while non-alcoholic wines come in standard bottles and are available in pineapple and cranberry flavor. The brand also offers alcohol-free botanical bitters (aromatic, glossy / herbal, sweet and spicy) that can be used in your mocktails.
I got to try the alcohol-free dry botanical bitters and they were a pleasant surprise. My favorite was the Bright / Herbal flavor which was refreshing and tasted great on its own. Critics are also big fans of Bitters and Vanilla Bubbly Reserve. Some people compare the non-alcoholic vanilla drink to a less sweet version of Coca-Cola. DRY drinks are decent alternatives to have around that can be mixed with cocktails or enjoyed on their own.
If you’re into the dark and stormy, you’ll enjoy Lyre’s Dark ‘N Spicy Premix drinks. This drink comes in an 8-ounce red can and maintains its carbonation while you drink it. The well-balanced flavors are a blend of ginger, lime juice, cane sugar and spices. This drink was refreshing and not too sweet and definitely tasted like a holiday cocktail. Dark ‘N Spicy Premix drinks are limited edition, making them the perfect addition to your holiday season this year.
I’m not a heavy beer drinker, but have found that I enjoy a classic Samuel Adams seasonal beer. That being said, I was impressed with the Samuel Adams Just the Haze alcohol-free IPA beer, which was released earlier this year. It took two years to perfect Sam Adams’ alcohol-free IPA recipe.
The flavors that make up Just the Haze include a full-bodied infusion of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, tangerine and lime, and fruity notes of pineapple, guava, melon and peach.
It was one of the best non-alcoholic beers I have tried. Sam Adams Just the Haze is a drink that IPA lovers and those who aren’t normally beer drinkers alike can enjoy. The best part is you don’t have to worry about a buzz after a few.
Looking at the Three Spirit bottles, I was captivated by the clean and bewitching design and style. These alcohol-free spirits were developed by plant scientists, bartenders, herbalists, and artists, and you can certainly see every influence. The three different spirits available are called Livener, Social Elixir and Nightcap. When I tried them I couldn’t identify what they reminded me of as I have never tried anything like it. Each is unique in its own way and has different flavor profiles.
Livener is caffeinated and is the most invigorating of the three, made with green tea, guayusa, watermelon and berries. The social elixir is a darker, bittersweet blend of passionflower, yerba mate, cocoa, molasses and other spices. Nightcap is meant to sweeten you and contains valerian root, Canadian maple syrup, and lemon balm, among other herbs.
These are best used as blenders to complement other cocktails or can be consumed on their own, over ice. Reviewers seem to favor the Nightcap overall because of its mild flavor and because it relaxes them – great for unwinding at the end of a long day.
Sovi is a non-alcoholic wine company owned by a sommelier who has created his own blend of rosé and sparkling red. The red blend is made from several Spanish and French grape varieties from California. The rosé is dry but sparkling and maintains the carbonation which is the key to non-alcoholic drinks. The red blend is a dry, full-bodied red wine with hints of cherry, grapefruit and watermelon. These drinks didn’t arrive in time for me to taste them for the holidays, but reviewers love this wine alternative for the flavor and realism. A sommelier even relied on these alcohol-free wines (among other drinks) during her pregnancy.
Take part in the brewing
Partake Brewing’s alcohol-free beers are available in IPA, Dark Ale, Blonde Ale, Pale Ale and Red Ale. Beers are made from 0.3% blood alcohol and, depending on the brew, can contain up to 10 calories. I have tasted IPA, Red Ale, and Blonde Ale and all three are similar to the alcoholic versions that inspired them, but with less body and carbonation. My favorite was the lager – it’s ideal for the person who likes a light beer, but wants a non-alcoholic option without going overboard.
Lagunitas, best known for its IPAs, has its own line of alcohol-free beers that are sure to appeal to sober and curious beer lovers, including Hoppy Refresher and IPNA.
The Hoppy Refresher is clear and sparkling and is brewed from citra, equinox and century-old hops, and it has a fruity taste. It reminded me of a sweeter but refreshing flavored seltzer that could be enjoyed on its own or mixed with non-alcoholic cocktails.
IPNA is made from the same ingredients as the original Lagunitas IPA. Its ingredients include dry hops, mosaic, and citra, and its flavor profile has citrus and pine notes. It has less than 0.5% blood alcohol content and tastes exactly the same as a traditional IPA, which means that Lagunitas has stuck with its original product, but left out most of the alcohol. . If you are already a Lagunitas fan, you will appreciate this alcohol-free substitution.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.