Which Zero Proof Mocktail Brands are Best?Nov 24, 2020
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If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your overall wellness, you may have considered cutting alcohol out of your diet. Whether you try a one-month challenge like “Dry January” or “Sober September,” or you make a more permanent decision to abstain, you may find that nixing beer, wine, and spirits helps you focus on your health goals and feel more clear-headed.
Luckily, another new trend can help with that: the emergence of mocktail brands that can help satisfy your cocktail cravings, without the actual booze.
In big markets like New York City, there’s even been a swift uptick in bars opening that offer only non-alcoholic mocktails to cater to the “sober curious” (another teetotaling trend) and anyone else looking to avoid alcohol.
In that spirit — pun intended — we decided to look at some of the most popular mocktail brands and non-alcoholic beverages for those who want to feel healthier without giving up on the social component of sipping cocktails with friends.
How Are Mocktail Brands Made?
While non-alcoholic beers have been around for a while, the most recent push is toward zero-alcohol spirits. These alcohol-free concoctions mimic the taste and character of certain spirits in traditionally alcoholic drinks.
These concoctions may either be “dealcoholized” — i.e., the alcohol is removed — or made with botanicals, herb extracts, spices, and other plant-based flavorings to create a non-alcoholic substitute for gin, vodka, or rum in mixed drinks.
Just keep in mind these may lack the specific bite and characteristic taste of your favorite alcoholic drink, so your mocktail mileage may vary. And unless you live in a big city, many of these alcohol-free beverages are not readily available at local brick-and-mortar stores (yet) — so the list below includes products and brands that can be ordered online.
If you’re looking to cut back on alcohol — but not ready to give up the fun and flavor of mixed drinks — here are a few mocktail brands to look into.
1. Seedlip Garden 108
Billed as the “world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits,” Seedlip offers three main products — Spice 94, Grove 42, and Garden 108 — that offer shades of that cocktail-sipping experience.
Garden 108 is most similar to a gin, and is made with botanicals sourced from peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary, thyme, and hops. It has no calories, sugar sweeteners, or artificial flavor.
We mixed it into a Seedlip and Tonic mocktail as recommended: ice, 2 oz Garden 108, tonic, and a snap pea garnish. (Keep in mind tonic water has around 2.7 grams of sugar per fluid ounce. To reduce calories and sugar, swap it for seltzer instead.) This made for a uniquely refreshing drink, and one of our favorites of the bunch. The taste was clean and clear, floral and herbal — definitely a great mocktail to sip on in the spring as the earth begins to turn green again.
Get it here.
2. Ritual Whiskey Alternative
Whiskey drinkers are notoriously picky about what they choose to sip on, but even the most discerning drinkers would probably find this botanical stand-in to be a delight. Made from plant ingredients — including hemp, toasted spices, green peppercorns, and capsicum — it only contains 10 calories per serving.
We tried it on the rocks in a highball glass first. The first sip was a bit underwhelming, with notes of watered-down caramel — but, like a true delicious whiskey, it gets better as it goes down. The immediate aftertaste imparts a peppery burn and a robust burst of oaky and vanilla notes that makes it a solid and welcome whiskey analogue. That flavor profile also works well in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, mixed up the traditional ways.
Get it here.
3. Kin High Rhode
Not really advertised as “spirits,” Kin products are described more as a type of elixir. Along with hibiscus and licorice, Kin High Rhode also contains adaptogens like Rhodiola rosea which are believed to help the body’s resistance to stress. One serving contains just 6 calories and no sugar.
The suggested Kin Citron recipe features ice and 2 oz High Rhode with citrus bitters, 1 oz grapefruit soda, sparkling water, and an orange slice. (Like tonic water, grapefruit soda has around 3 grams of sugar per fluid ounce, so swap it for grapefruit-infused flavored seltzer if you’re trying to limit your sugar intake.) We found this mocktail to be refreshing and a little tart, with a lot of floral notes and some hints of spice that made it tasty on a chilly night.
One important note: Because Kin products contain herbs and compounds with medicinal properties, the company recommends starting with a single serving and increasing slowly. If you have any health conditions, or take any medications, talk to your doctor about the ingredients in Kin drinks.
Get it here.
4. Ritual Gin Alternative
Gin is one of the most focused-on spirits for an alcohol-free alternative, since it’s is already distilled with botanicals like juniper and citrus. Ritual’s version — made with juniper, angelica root, lemongrass, and pine — is one of the best analogues and has zero calories per serving.
We made a mocktail called the G&T 2.0, which consisted of ice, 2 oz Ritual, 2 oz tonic water, and lime juice. (Again, you may want to substitute seltzer for tonic to reduce the calories and sugar.) It came out with nice hints of the typical gin botanicals — though it was a bit heavy on the pine flavoring — and also gave a slight alcohol-like burn, making it taste the most like a traditional cocktail.
Get it here.
This dark brown beverage is marketed as a rum alternative. We concocted a mocktail modeled on a Dark and Stormy recipe, which included ice and 2 oz of Ronsin topped with ginger beer and a lime. While it doesn’t quite stack up to the Caribbean cocktail staple, Ronsin offers the sweetness of rum, with woody notes and caramel and molasses flavors.
Keep in mind ginger beer contains around 4.8 grams of sugar per 100 mL serving (around three ounces), and Ronsin itself contains 11 grams of sugar per 100 mL serving — so this mocktail is only for those with a serious sweet tooth. Opt for flavored seltzer instead if you’re watching your calories and sugar.
Get it here.