No matter where you are, there are advertisements for non-alcoholic drinks or cocktails. Maybe you are thinking of doing “Sober October” or “Dry January” this year or even just want a break from alcohol and wondered, which ones are the best non-alcoholic drinks?
To answer this question, I assembled some close family and friends and played mixologist for the day. The primary focus of the day was on pre-made drinks, non-alcoholic spirits, and a few sparkling wines thrown in for fun. While some products worked well on their own, we found that sometimes they simply were better when combined with other elements.
Here are the products we tried, the recipes we made, and overall feedback.
Bitters Based Cocktails
The first category of beverages we explored included a variety pack from Hella Cocktails. You can consume these pre-made bitters and soda mixes either on their own or combined with other elements to make lovely mocktails. Below are some of the non-alcoholic alternatives we put together.
Hella Cocktail Lemon Lime with Mint
I love mojitos, and this has a similar taste profile. It is a little bitter, but overall, our taste crew found it refreshing. With zero sugars, this one is guilt-free!
- ½ can of the Hella Cocktail Lemon Lime
- 2oz tonic water
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 5-8 slightly muddled mint leaves (to taste- FYI if you muddle them too much, you might find the drink becomes more bitter)
On its own, this Bittersweet Spritz has a few hints of cinnamon with a slightly woody, bitter finish. However, adding the orange, nutmeg, and optional basil, created a beverage that is perfect for that transition from summer into fall. It is refreshing enough on those late summer days with flavors that hint at the fall that is soon to follow. Please note, 6 ounces of this product contains 10.5 grams of added cane sugar.
- ½ can of the Hella Cocktail Bittersweet Spritz
- 1-2 oz of orange juice
- Sprinkle of nutmeg
- 1-2 basil leaves
This combination is delightful as a stand-alone beverage, but we liked it even more with a bit of lemon and basil. This is a zero-sugar option.
- ½ can of Hella Cocktail Ginger & Turmeric
- Slice of lemon
- 2 basil leaves
This Classic Dry Aromatic can stand on its own. We simply added orange for garnish!
- ½ can of the Hella Cocktail Dry Aromatic
- Orange slice, twist or both
Pre-made & Functional Beverages
Beverages in this grouping are ready to drink but are often better with just a little twist. Some products also contain functional ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or adaptogenic herbs designed to support energy or relaxation.
This lime-filled, slightly spicey margarita is a pleasant non-alcoholic alternative. Although it has 7 grams of added cane sugar, it is not terribly sweet. We made this cocktail with the Mindful Margarita as our base and added lime and jalapeno.
- 1 can of Mindful Margarita
- 2 slices of lime (squeezed, cuts the spice of the jalapeno)
- Jalapeno slice or two
We had a good time playing with this beverage! The Moment beverages come in a variety of flavors and are enhanced with botanicals and adaptogens. Our sample beverage had blueberries, ginger, jasmine tea, l-theanine, and ashwagandha. Please note, while these have no sugar, they contain erythritol (a sugar alcohol) that some people cannot tolerate. This floral beverage pops when we added a little muddled basil and lemon to it. Try it plain with just a twist of lemon:
Or with 2 oz lemon juice and muddled basil:
This functional beverage is infused with hints of orange, hibiscus, licorice root, ginger, and mood-enhancing elements such as GABA, l-theanine, phenylethylamine, Rhodiola, and l-tyrosine. It also has some B-vitamins such as niacin, B6, and folate as well as 50 mg of caffeine. The sugar per serving is lower at 6 grams total; 3 grams added.
The beauty of this drink is that you can consume it with just a twist of orange added to it. Given the caffeine content, watch when you consume it, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.
These elixirs are booze-free, ready-made cocktails. They come in a variety of flavors and have zero added sugars. Like Kin and Moment, some flavors have adaptogens added to them. Our group sampled Elixirs 1-4 and liked them all. Here are a few of the comments of each:
Curious Elixir No 1- The pomegranate shines through with a dry, crisp finish.
Curious Elixir No 2– Refreshing with a slight margarita-type feel to it. If you add a salt rim, it opens the flavors up.
Curious Elixir 3- Nice and fruity; the grape juice and lemon are well balanced.
Curious Elixir 4- The orange flavor in this elixir takes center stage, with a bit more bitter finish.
I first encountered a non-alcoholic Seedlip spirit drink at the Westin in Napa Valley in August 2018. After a day of trying different wines, I was looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to sip on outside near the fireplace while visiting with friends. The bartender had the most delicious drink with cucumber, lime, mint, and Garden 108. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt to try other cocktails made with Seedlip. In my local Frederick area, I found one restaurant that had one, but it really didn’t “wow” as the one I’d originally had in Napa. So what do you do? You get a sampler and make your own! Here are a few that we tried based on recipes on the Seedlip site:
Pretty and refreshing, we opted to use sparkling cranberry juice to cut the sugar content down.
Garden 108 Blackberry Rosemary Refresher
This non-alcoholic cocktail is refreshing with a minerally lemony finish.
- 2 oz
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 3 oz blackberry lemonade seltzer
- Squeeze of lemon
- Rosemary sprig
The gentle infusion of the spices compliments to the grapefruit base of this cocktail well.
Spice 94 w. Bitters
We combined two of our test drinks together by creating a mocktail of Seedlip and the Hella Bitters Bittersweet Spritz :
- 2 oz- Hella Bitters Bittersweet Spritz
- 2 oz- Tonic water
- 2 oz- Spice 94
- ½ oz Simple syrup
- Orange Zest
- Sprinkle of cardamon and nutmeg
Alcohol-Free Sparkling Wines
As someone who enjoys the taste of wine, finding a good tasting alcohol-free option is like the holy grail of alcohol-free drinks for me. There are many options out there, but we tried both the Surely Rose and Semblance sparkling Chardonnay during our group taste test this time around (hint there may be more taste tests in our future!).
One of the first things I should share with anyone looking at these as a wine replacement is that you should not expect them to taste just like your favorite rose or chardonnay but without the alcohol; they will not. While some might enjoy drinking them by themselves, we found them better as the foundation for a non-alcoholic mimosa.
*Please note that some of the products listed above are infused with adaptogenic herbs and other ingredients which may be contraindicated with some medications and medical conditions. If you are taking any medication or are pregnant, could become pregnant, are breastfeeding, are under the age of 18, or are unsure if these beverages are for you, please consult your doctor before consuming.
** I received no compensation for the review of these products.