alternatives to alcohol

New options for booze-free drinking

When we were first quitting drinking, we missed cocktails the most. Something about fixing a greyhound with fresh grapefruit juice, or mixing a hot toddy with lemon, whiskey and honey felt glamorous and out of the ordinary. By contrast, water, sparkling water, or even flavored sparkling water sometimes felt,… well, boring.

But new and tempting drinks are coming to market that actually can feel like a cocktail. They are bitter, or spicy, or sweet and mysterious, and taste anything but boring (and no, we are not selling these beverages or getting paid to do so!). Here are options we know of:

  1. Seedlip. We can personally vouch for this one, which we found at a specialty goods store in our neighborhood. Treat it like gin. The spice one is great mixed with apple or pear juice, and the garden one is great with tonic water or soda and lime. It’s the first thing we tried that actually felt like a cocktail. Buy it online here.

  2. Curious Elixirs. We can also personally vouch for this one. We’ve tried #1 and #2, and #3 is on the way. You can figure out which one you’ll like best based on what your favorite cocktail. Buy it online here.

  3. High quality mixers. There are a few of these, like Dry Soda, which was started by a mom who wanted something exciting to drink when she wasn’t having cocktails and wine. They have unique flavors like lavender, rainier cherry and vanilla. Find a place to buy them here. There are also companies like Top Note and Fever Tree making high quality tonic and ginger beer, Fentiman’s making really unique flavors of ginger beer (with crushed lime!) and tonic water (like rhubharb).

  4. Belvoir Fruit Farms Organic Elderflower & Rose Lemonade. This sparkling drink was recommended to us by a store clerk who saw us buying Martinelli’s (another awesome alcoholic champagne substitute!). Really unique flavor.

  5. CBD tea. CBD, now nationally legal in the US, is one of the two main compounds in marijuana. It is non-psychoactive, which is why it is more broadly legal than its counterpart, THC. It has a calming effect and there are several CBD oils and teas you can mix with water to make a relaxing drink.

We hope you enjoy these ideas, and share your own! And if you’re looking for more suggestions, try the “Mocktails” exercise in Drinker’s Helper. Download it here.