Last Thanksgiving, I decided to set out a few bottles of non-alcoholic wine alongside the usual spread of reds and whites that fuel our holiday conversations. My partner doesn’t drink, so my main goal was to keep something in his glass through the evening.
But my two bottles of sans-booze red (both from Proxies by Acid League) were the first bottles to empty. People were driving and wanted to pace themselves, my teenage cousins wanted to feel included, and other relatives just wanted to slow down on the drinking. The bottles were a big hit.
So what non-alcoholic bottles should you add to your table? Here are a few of my favorites of the month.
For Bitter or Worse
A few years back, Shelley Elkovich developed an ‘obscure neurological issue’ that axed wine from her life. So she set out to make boozeless replicas of her favorite drinks. Now, she runs a full line of still and sparkling digestif-style drinks, available in both full-sized bottles and petite cans.
The tart Saskatoon (made with white grape concentrate, saskatoon juice concentrate, and botanicals like bitter orange peel, rhubarb root, and douglas fir needles) drinks like a bold alpine amaro. I enjoy it on the rocks with a hit of citrus to balance out the bracing bitterness, or in a Negroni (I used Free Spirits Gin and Wilderton Botanical to round out the recipe). I appreciate the versatility of Elkovich’s products: they shine on their own as an after-dinner drink or in a manner of cocktails for the more intrepid non-alc drinker. $28
Oftentimes, I find non-alcoholic alternatives are overly sweet or hide subpar flavors behind a wave of bubbles. Kally does none of that. They offer petite cans of both sparkling and flat verjus-based sips. The berry fennel spritz is my favorite — lush and concentrated with strawberry and cherry flavors (and fresh flavors too – no saccharine, overtly-sugary flavors) cut with black tea and fennel. I could drink a million of them.
The spritz flavors (conveniently packaged in teeny cans) include orchard sage (with green tea extract, sage, apple juice, and elderflower) and vanilla smoke (blueberry juice, lapsang souchong, chamomile, vanilla bean). Next up, I’m keen to try their line of full-sized, verjus-esque sippers. $35
Sovi Chenin Blanc
Sovi was founded by two Napa wine industry vets who decided to step away from real wine but still wanted something elegant to drink. They started with easy, breezy cans and recently extended their product range into reserve bottlings, including a plush chenin blanc. It’s vibrant and creamy, perfect for popping on the table and pairing with everything. $34