‘Tis the season for excess. Dinners are long and full of holiday indulgences: mashed potatoes with extra butter, gratuitous amounts of desserts and often ever-filling wine glasses.
If you need a break from all of the above, the non-alcoholic market is full of creative new entrants.
This is largely driven by demand. In 2022, sales of no- and low-alcohol beverages grew by more than 7% in volume across 10 key global markets, surpassing $11 billion in market value. This is up from $8 billion shown in 2018, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
The following new-to-market drinks make a very strong case for skipping the alcohol or taking a few drinks off. All offer the full flavor of a regular-proof drink and do a fine job of showcasing the direction the non-alcoholic space is heading.
One of my biggest qualms with the non-alcoholic space is the usability of the products. Many brands offer elegant non-alcoholic spirit dupes, but if I don’t have a decade of bartending experience under my belt, how do I know what to do with them? Often, the non-alcoholic whiskey or vodka sit untouched in my liquor cabinet.
Enter Tilden, a line of pre-mixed non-alcoholic cocktails. Instead of riffing off classic alcoholic drinks (does anyone really want a non-alcoholic rum-and-coke?) the brand focuses on inventive drinks, like the citrus driven Lacewing, made with cucumber, basil, lychee, and Szechuan. Just open the bottle, pour it over ice, and you’re ready to sip.
Cut Above Cocktail Kits
If you are in the mood for mixing, Cut Above’s bottles of zero-alcohol tequilas and mezcals are easy swaps in your favorite agave drinks. Is moderation your New Year’s resolution? Cut Above are keen advocates of cutting the alcohol — splitting the base of your cocktail with have real spirit and half zero-alcohol, lessening the punch of the cocktail but retaining all the flavors.
If you rather have someone else do the cocktail making, Cut Above also has a range of cocktail kits including a Paloma kit stocked with mezcal or agave blanc, a bottle of Ficks Paloma mix, dried grapefruit garnishes and coasters.
St. Agrestis Phony Mezcal Negroni
A few years back, Brooklyn distillery St Agrestis released a ‘phony’ negroni: a single-serve bottle of the Italian classic that offered the beloved bittersweetness of the regular-proof version and none of the hangover. The distillery is back with a “mezcal” spiked version of the negroni, swapping out gin for the smokey-vegetal notes of the agave spirit while still capturing the oomph and depth.
Also recently added to their line-up: a non-alcoholic amaro, made with the same botanicals as their regular-proof amaro but carbonated and served in individual portions. Think of it as a ready-to-drink amaro highball.