Five alternative beverages and nonalcoholic drinks that give dry January a whole new meaning
Gone are the days where nonalcoholic applied only to soft drinks and lime n’ sodas. Today the term extends to creative cocktails, sleek pours of wine, and cold beers, reimagining what it means to “not drink.” While avoiding alcohol is by no means a new concept, the number of alcohol-free brands on the market increased by 15 percent from 2020 to 2021.
The growing demand has led to the opening of nonalcoholic bottle stores like Sèchey in Charleston. “We’re the only nonalcoholic bottle shop in the South,” says founder Emily Heintz. “We’re a destination for the new movement. We’re big on education. This is where you come in and learn. Someone can come get a shop tour, and taste and try different things at the tasting counter in the back of the store.” Some of the brands they carry offer alcohol replacements in the form of spirits and n/a wines. Others present imitation spirits meant to mix with the real deal for a low-ABV cocktail that you can sip worry free.
Whether you’re gearing up for dry January or looking to cut back, these nonalcoholic drinks and alternative brews offer delicious and refreshing ways to shake up your cup of cheer after the holidays.
Five Nonalcoholic Drinks for Dry January (or Any Time)
“Created by bartenders for bartenders” as their slogan goes, WithCo n/a mixers use a careful blend of botanicals and fresh juices to create flavors like Ginger Mule, Ellis Old Fashioned, and Hey Girl for rich, balanced flavor that makes cocktail assembly fast and consistently delicious. They market to the entire spectrum of imbibers, from those looking to mix with booze-free spirits or sparkling water to anyone wanting a classic cocktail.
Don’t let dry January stop you from toasting the New Year with a glass of bubbly. SipClean, a Jacksonville-based, women-owned business, offers sparkling wines in both white and rosé styles. They work with winemakers who remove the alcohol from West Coast cabernet sauvignon and French colombard wine though a gentle heating method that preserves the aromatics and flavors. The resulting low-sugar, low-cal beverages boast bright, polished flavor profiles, suitable for sipping straight or mixing as a French 75.
From the Big Easy comes Peychaud’s younger cousin who does sunrise yoga and is pure NoLa at heart. The various flavors of El Guapo’s bitters and syrups make them a good choice on the bar cart that’s catering to those drinking and those not. The chicory pecan bitters adds flare to a classic espresso martini while the holiday pie bitters can be heated with n/a bottle of red for a zero-proof mulled wine.
Born from the same brothers behind Burnt Church Distillery in Bluffton, South Carolina, comes Amethyst, a brand of vodka-inspired spirits, minus the spirit. As whiskey distillers first, the creators knew that a nonalcoholic product needed to preserve the flavor and mouthfeel of a traditional liquor. Try adding the lemon-cucumber-serrano to your favorite bloody mary mix for a little Lowcountry splash.
This women-owned company based in Louisville creates bourbon- and tequila-inspired products specifically for the cocktail lover who wants to avoid the hangover. Use the Kentucky 74 as a bourbon substitute in old fashioneds and manhattans, or go halfsies by mixing it with your favorite bourbon for a lower ABV drink that doesn’t compromise on flavor. Hosting a holiday party? Opt for easy bartending with the canned n/a cocktails that just need ice and garnishing.
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