January is upon us, or—as some people know it—Dry January, that time when millions of people across the globe choose to abstain from alcohol after a month of holiday parties and copious drinking.
There’s no shortage of options for nonalcoholic beverages, including mainstays like sparking water, juice, tea and sodas. But in recent years, zero-proof distilled spirits, N/A beers and wines, and mocktails have come to improve an industry segment that was once dominated by a tiny handful of nonalcoholic beers.
According to the 2023 Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report, 57% of global consumers are planning to follow Dry January or its fall counterpart Sober October this year, and 40% say they plan to drink more nonalcoholic and low-ABV options throughout the year. This is made easier with so many viable products on the market these days.
One of the most exciting N/A categories belongs to aperitif- and digestif-style drinks, from spritz alternatives to bitter amari. Figlia Fiore is a refreshing, effervescent bottle with notes of bitter orange and clove. It’s great over ice or mixed with soda. Ghia makes a trio of Mediterranean-inspired canned cocktails with a white grape juice base, from Ghia Soda (a bittersweet aperitif with notes of yuzu and gentian) to Ghia Ginger and Lime and Salt, which marries the crisp and savory notes of its namesakes.
Casamara Club Alta bills itself as the “original leisure soda” and is a botanical soft drink that channels the Negroni but with a spritzy citrus bite. And St. Agrestis makes a Phony Negroni bottled cocktail that’s well-balanced and resembles the real thing in color and flavor. The list continues.
Two favorites of late come from Martini & Rossi, who last year introduced Floreale and Vibrante, a couple of nonalcoholic wine-based aperitivos, to its portfolio. Floreale is light and floral, infused with the flavors of artemisia and Roman chamomile. Vibrante is citrusy, with notes of artemisia and bergamot. Both botanical drinks pair well with tonic, and the brand suggests pouring a 50/50 mix of aperitif with tonic over plenty of ice and garnishing your glass with an orange slice.
For anyone who wants to reduce their consumption without abstaining entirely, Martini & Rossi has released a Spritz Mindfully kit that pairs Floreale and Vibrante nonalcoholic aperitivos with prosecco, club soda, tonic and oranges. It even includes a couple of balloon glasses and the book, “The Good Spirited Host: Your Guide to Mindful Hosting and Cocktails.”
Break that out at your next gathering, or whenever you want to slow down from a full-proof cocktail.