June 21, 2024

More young adults are ditching the booze and embracing sober curiosity than ever these days. According to research from Gallup, Americans ages 18 to 34 are less likely to drink alcohol now than they were over the past two decades. I’m one of them. After participating in Dry January two years ago, I felt so good that I decided to keep the sober party going and commit to a booze-free lifestyle. 

“There is no amount of alcohol that is healthy,” says Derek Brown, author, NASM-certified wellness coach, and founder of Positive Damage, Inc. That doesn’t mean you can’t live a healthy life that incorporates alcohol: “It just means alcohol itself isn’t something that can convey health benefits,” he says. Luckily, there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on the market now — so saying goodbye to beer, wine, and liquor (even if it’s just for Dry January) doesn’t mean you can’t still sip something delicious with dinner or while you’re out at the bar. Ahead, I’m sharing my favorite NA drink options in every category, along with picks from a variety of industry experts. (FYI: Many non-alcoholic drinks contain trace amounts of alcohol — anything under 0.5% alcohol by volume, or ABV, is considered non-alcoholic.) Cheers!

Ghia Non-Alcoholic Apéritif

Foxtrot


Why We Like It: It’s bright, bitter, and slightly sweet, for the taste you come to expect from an Italian apéritif.

It’s Worth Noting: The brand’s founder, Melanie Masarin, was on Shark Tank in 2023. 

I’ve been drinking Ghia for a couple of years, and it really satisfies my cravings for an Italian apéritif. The company’s original bottled apéritif (they’ve expanded into other flavors and canned non-alcoholic cocktails) is truly delicious, IMHO. It’s made with pure ingredients, such as white grape juice concentrate, yuzu juice, lemon balm extract, elderflower extract, and plum concentrate, with 0% ABV. It captures that bitter taste you expect from an apéritif and is excellent when combined with seltzer (I like to do one part Ghia to three parts seltzer.) 

Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild Non-Alcoholic IPA

Amazon


Why We Like It: It tastes pretty damn close to a real craft IPA, according to reviews.  

It’s Worth Noting: In addition to this bestselling IPA, Athletic Brewing Company also offers NA witbier, golden ale, light beer, and more.

This is the brand that started the non-alcoholic beer craze in recent years. In fact, according to Nielsen market data, Athletic Brewing Company is the top-growing non-alcoholic beer brand on the market. This IPA has won numerous awards and gets high marks from reviewers for how close it tastes to real craft beer. It’s made with malted barley, oats, hops, wheat, and yeast, using the brand’s proprietary brewing method, and combines citrus, hoppy, and pine notes for an authentic IPA taste. 

Curious Elixirs No. 1 Booze-Free Cocktail

Curious Elixirs


Why We Like It: It’s the non-alcoholic version of a Negroni Sbagliato. 

It’s Worth Noting: It contains rhodiola, an adaptogen that may ease stress, and gentian, a root that can help fight inflammation. 

Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge, likes Curious Elixirs because it’s “easy to pop open a can or bottle for a single-person serving,” she says. “No need to mix, muddle, shake, or stir.” I’ve tried many of Curious Elixirs’ NA offerings, and the one I keep coming back to is the No.1: a bitter pomegranate cocktail that tastes like a Negroni Sbagliato (which is traditionally made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco). I like that the flavor is intense (no watered-down drink here!) and that all I have to do is pour it into a glass over ice to enjoy. 

Amazøn Partake Brewing Non-Alcoholic Craft Brew Pale Ale

Amazon


Why We Like It: It’s light and refreshing, making it incredibly drinkable, according to reviewers. 

It’s Worth Noting: Reviewers like that it’s low-carb (only 4 grams). For reference, regular beer has close to 13 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can.

Tawny Lara, co-founder of Parentheses, a new non-alcoholic botanical beverage company, says Partake is her favorite non-alcoholic beer brand, and the company’s pale ale is one of its bestsellers. This deep amber brew contains just four simple ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. It has crisp, citrus notes, thanks to orange zest and grapefruit, and there’s pine in there as well for a balanced brew that’s not too bitter. Just a heads up: As with other popular NA beers, this one contains less than 0.5% ABV.  

Drink Monday Gin

Monday


Why We Like It: This NA gin has a smooth taste and works perfectly as a gin replacement in classic cocktails. 

It’s Worth Noting: It’s handcrafted in small batches and free of sugar and gluten, with no trace amounts of alcohol (yep, this one’s 0% ABV!).

This was the first non-alcoholic spirit I tried two years ago, and I was really impressed with how close to actual gin it tasted. This London Dry-style NA gin has a strong juniper flavor, with more subtle hints of bitter lemon, grapefruit, and coriander in the formula as well. It’s best when served with flavored tonics or seltzer, but you can also use it to replicate classic gin cocktails without the booze. Personally, I like to use it to make non-alcoholic gin and tonics, pairing it with Fever Tree Tonic Water. 

Amazon CleanCo Clean V Non-Alcoholic Vodka Alternative

Amazon


Why We Like It: It has a clean apple flavor that plays well with seltzer for a refreshing NA drink. 

It’s Worth Noting: CleanCo adds no sugars or sweeteners and instead uses natural flavors.

Another non-alcoholic spirit I keep on my bar cart is this apple vodka alternative with less than 0.5% ABV. It’s super crisp, with a warm spiced apple flavor and a subtle hint of cinnamon. I usually keep it simple and pair it with a seltzer and a lime wedge so the apple flavor can really shine. This is one of my winter go-tos. 

Better Rhodes Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Rosé

Better Rhodes


Why We Like It: The gorgeous label and pretty pink hue make it an ideal gift for a non-drinker. 

It’s Worth Noting: All of Freixenet’s NA wines are produced in the Penedès region of Spain, the most famous wine region in Catalonia.

Sheinbaum is also a fan of this non-alcoholic sparkling pink wine. “This is my go-to for gifting right now, and always around Valentine’s Day,” she says. “It’s fresh and fruit-forward.” She also highlights the gorgeous label and the NA wine’s Instagramability. “It’s fun to photograph in a glass if I’m being honest,” she says. This alcohol-removed wine is made from grapes from the Penedès region in Spain, known for its wines. It has the perfect combination of floral and fruity flavors.

Giesen Non-Alcoholic Riesling

Boisson


Why We Like It: It’s citrusy and floral, just like real Riesling. 

It’s Worth Noting: This alcohol-removed wine is made by a New Zealand winery that produces both real wines and NA wines. 

“Giesen’s alcohol-removed still wines are the best-tasting and comparable to wines with alcohol,” says Sheinbaum, who counts the brand’s Riesling as her current NA white wine favorite. This wine is light, crisp, and refreshing, with notes of lime, citrus blossom, and elderflower. Trust me: I’ve enjoyed quite a few bottles of this one myself, and it goes down easy! Just note that because it’s made with dealcoholized wine, it does contain a small amount of alcohol (less than 0.5% ABV). 

Boisson Proxies Drink Pink Salt Non-Alcoholic Wine Proxy

Boisson


Why We Like It: It’s completely free of alcohol and has a balanced blend of fruity, peppery, and salty notes. 

It’s Worth Noting: Proxies designs all of its wine alternatives to be paired with specific foods and says Pink Salt goes best with seafood.

Proxies’ non-alcoholic “wines” are different from the above mentioned on this list. They’re not made with de-alcoholized wine. Instead, they contain a blend of juices, teas, spices, and bitters to mimic the flavor and feel of wine, all while being completely free of alcohol (there are no traces of alcohol here like there are in your typical NA wine). Pink Salt is a unique twist on rosé. It’s blended with Pinot Blanc grapes, verjus (the pressed juice of unripened grapes), peach concentrate, lemon juice, strawberry vinegar, fermented sage, and a blend of teas and other flavors, such as Sichuan peppercorn, rhubarb, and sea salt. 

Kally Orchard Sage

Kally


Why We Like It: It has a unique flavor that pairs well with many different types of food. 

It’s Worth Noting: Because Kally’s products are made with entirely alcohol-free ingredients, it doesn’t contain any trace amounts of alcohol.

Adjacent to non-alcoholic wine is a category of drinks known as “verjus.” Verjus is made by pressing unripe wine grapes that have been harvested early in the growing season. The herbaceous and tangy taste means I constantly reach for Kally Orchard Sage (plus, it pairs particularly well with seafood and pasta, two of my favorite food groups). It’s made from a blend of filtered water, Chardonnay verjus, organic apple juice concentrate, organic elderflower extract, organic decaffeinated green tea extract, and organic sage extract. Bonus: It’s completely alcohol-free if that’s a concern for you. 

Grüvi Non-Alcoholic Sangria

Grüvi


Why We Like It: It reminds us of summer in a can, especially when you add fruit chunks to it.

It’s Worth Noting: Grüvi Non-Alcoholic Sangria won a gold medal at the 2023 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

If you’re a sangria enthusiast, then you’re in luck: You’ll feel like you’re transported to Spain with this alcohol-removed version from Grüvi. The brand starts with California red wine, de-alcoholizes it (so there are still trace amounts of alcohol), and then blends it with fruit extracts and natural flavors before lightly carbonating and putting it into cans. I like to sip this NA sangria in a chilled glass and add chunks of fruit. 

Hoplark 0.0 Citra

Hoplark


Why We Like It: It’s like beer-flavored seltzer, making it a fun alternative to plain ol’ bubbly water. 

It’s Worth Noting: It’s gluten-free, so people who can’t have gluten can enjoy this as an alternative to NA beer.

Not only do I not drink alcohol but I can’t consume anything with gluten because I have celiac disease. That includes NA beer. Enter hop water, which, according to Nielsen market data, has grown by 174% in popularity in the last year. Hop water is basically carbonated water flavored with hops and it’s my new go-to at parties instead of flavored seltzer. Hoplark Citra is by far my favorite. It tastes like an IPA thanks to the hop flavors, but it contains no gluten, no trace alcohol, and no carbs or sugar. 

Free Spirits The Spirit of Tequila Non-Alcoholic Tequila Alternative

Free Spirits


Why We Like It: It has bite, just like real tequila, and is therefore a nice substitute in a margarita. 

It’s Worth Noting: It’s infused with vitamins B3 and B6 to help enhance your mood in a healthy way.  

Missing margs? Then you’ll want to get your hands on this tequila alternative from Free Spirits, a brand that Lara considers one of her current favorites. The brand has improved upon its original recipe and created something that’s pretty close to the real thing — as I can attest since I’ve been enjoying mixing up NA margaritas with it recently. (Note that there’s less than 0.5% ABV in this tequila alternative.) It’s formulated with natural flavors like agave and oak to replicate the taste of a reposado tequila. It’s got hints of oak and vanilla and a touch of spiciness too. 

Abstinence Lemon Aperitivo Spritz

Abstinence Spirits


Why We Like It: This NA spritz is pre-mixed, so all you have to do is pour it over ice. 

It’s Worth Noting: Abstinence’s products are all inspired by the Cape Floral Region in South Africa and feature botanicals unique to the country.

Sometimes I’m lazy and don’t want to have to go through the effort of mixing ingredients to make a drink. That’s one of the many reasons why this lemon aperitivo (which has 0% ABV) is high up on my list of the best non-alcoholic drinks. This bestseller from Abstinence comes pre-mixed, so all you have to do is pour it over ice and garnish with a slice of lemon if you’re feeling fancy. It has a vibrant lemony flavor and also contains South African buchu (blackcurrant).

Fresh Victor Mexican Lime & Agave Cocktail Mixer

Fresh Victor


Why We Like It: This mixer tastes super-fresh and takes the prep work out of making a margarita. 

It’s Worth Noting: Although this is my particular favorite in the line, Fresh Victor has nine flavors that can be used to create cocktails and mocktails alike. 

H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor of the second oldest saloon in San Francisco, Elixir, and chief mixology officer for Fresh Victor Cold Pressed Premium Cocktail Mixers, tells me that what sets his brand’s mixers apart from others on the market is that they’re made with fresh ingredients (read: no chemicals or fillers) and therefore need to be refrigerated. And when I sampled the Mexican Lime & Agave Cocktail Mixer, I could certainly taste the difference between this and the many shelf-stable mixers I’ve tried. There was no funky artificial aftertaste here. It really tasted like something a bartender whipped up behind the bar. That’s because the only ingredients are filtered water, fresh cold-pressed lime juice, organic cane sugar, and organic agave nectar. I mixed it with Free Spirits The Spirit of Tequila Non-Alcoholic Tequila Alternative and couldn’t believe how much like a real margarita it tasted. Plus, it took me less than a minute to mix in a cocktail shaker and pour into my glass. 

French Bloom Le Rose

Courtesy of French Bloom


Why We Like It: This non-alcoholic, French-made sparkling wine is a fantastic choice for a special occasion.

It’s Worth Noting: Wines are made using organic ingredients.

French Bloom’s collection of sparkling wines, Le Blanc, Le Rosé, and La Cuvée, all contain 0% alcohol and taste remarkably like real fine wines. French Bloom pairs ingredients like organic Chardonnay grapes with natural flavors to achieve a complex wine flavor with depth. Each of the sparkling wines is made of dealcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir.

Amazon Surely Non-Alcoholic Red Blend

Amazon


Why We Like It: It’s not overly sweet like other NA red wines. 

It’s Worth Noting: Surely also makes other NA wines, including sparkling brut and sparkling rosé, if those are more your style.

Lara says Surely is her favorite NA wine brand. If you’re a red wine enthusiast, then the brand’s alcohol-removed red blend is an excellent option. Brown explains that Surely “uses dealcoholized grapes but also adds teas and extracts to add flavor and body” to its red wine blend. Specifically, Surely uses a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah grapes to make this wine, then adds their organic tea blend (Puerh tea and Lapsang Souchong), French and American oak, and cocoa, to create a complex and bold flavor that mimics real wine.

What to Know About Non-Alcoholic Drinks

  • Consider your medical history and allergies: “If you are pregnant, trying for children, breastfeeding, taking medications and/or in recovery, please speak to a medical professional and check NA bottle labels before consuming,” says Sheinbaum. That’s because NA drinks can contain up to 0.5% ABV, and some NA drinks also contain all sorts of botanicals and other functional ingredients that could, for example, interact with medications or alter your mood. “Many of these are vitamins, herbs, minerals, etc., and all are generally regarded as safe,” says Brown. “However, it’s important to check the ingredients if the bottle makes a claim about how it can affect your mood.” 
  • Start with drinking what you like: “The non-alcoholic beverage industry has grown exponentially over the past several years, and more specifically over the past three years,” says Sheinbaum. “There are so many non-alcoholic beverage brands available online — on Amazon, direct to consumer, and even dedicated sites like BetterRhodes.com — that specialize in bevs without booze.” Her best suggestion? Start with the flavors and tastes you naturally gravitate toward. “If you’re a wine drinker — or used to be — opt for non-alcoholic wine,” says Sheinbaum. “Don’t get me wrong: I definitely recommend being open-minded and experimenting with different brands, but if you really hate IPAs, you’re probably not going to suddenly love the non-alcoholic version.” So, it’s best to start tasting flavors and options you’re accustomed to, she says.
  • Then, branch out and try it all: “Not all non-alcoholic beverages are of equal quality,” says Sheinbaum. “There are some great companies who get it right and others that are in beta mode — they’re still getting their footing.” However, Sheinbaum says it’s important to keep an open mind and find the right drink for you. Brown adds that you can think of it like exploring wine or learning to make cocktails. “Take a class or read some articles,” he suggests. Luckily, we’ve got a whopping 17 options to get you started right here. 
  • Up your serving game: When mixing up non-alcoholic drinks, Brown encourages having fun. There are plenty of books out there with recipes to help you get started. (Brown even wrote one: Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails.) Ehrmann says that you can use a mixer to make a well-rounded non-alcoholic cocktail. For example, adding an NA tequila alternative to the Mexican Lime & Agave Mixer from his brand, Fresh Victor, gives you a standard margarita. But if you want to take your mocktail to another level, Ehrmann suggests adding a third ingredient for additional flavor, complexity, aroma, or texture. “If you use a carbonated beverage, you’re going to get texture, plus whatever the flavor is of the carbonated beverage,” he says. “If you add egg white or aquafaba, you’re changing texture without changing flavor.” You could also use bitters (note, some do contain alcohol so always check the label) to create flavor complexity, he adds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can pregnant women drink non-alcoholic beer?


  • Do non-alcoholic drinks contain alcohol?

    Non-alcoholic drinks may contain up to 0.5% ABV and still be labeled non-alcoholic. For that reason, “aside from pregnant women, there are some other populations that may want to steer clear of NA beverages,” says Poon. “People in recovery and people who are taking medications that are contraindicated by alcohol might also need to abstain from NA beer — if in doubt, the best option is to speak with your healthcare provider.” 

  • Do non-alcoholic drinks dehydrate you?

    Not necessarily. “Interestingly, one small study demonstrated that non-alcoholic beer could support electrolyte balance if consumed pre-exercise,” says Poon. That’s not an excuse to skip the H20, though, when imbibing. “No matter what you’re drinking, it’s best that water is your main source of hydration,” says Poon. “I would still recommend drinking a lot of water in addition to NA beverages.”

  • Can non-alcoholic drinks get you buzzed?

    Non-alcoholic means less than 0.5% of alcohol, which is very little. This percentage is found in alcohol-removed wines, some NA spirits, and occasionally, mocktails. “This small amount will not get you drunk or even buzzed,” says Sheinbaum. “If someone wants a totally alcohol-free drink, they should look for 0.0% beverages or ‘zero-proof’ drinks — these drinks never had alcohol in them to begin with.” Some beverages can contain ingredients like CBD, THC, hemp, or other mood-altering components: “Technically, they are alcohol-free — but they can make you feel a certain kind of way,” says Sheinbaum. “With that, the choice is really up to the consumer on what they are drinking.” 

  • Is it OK to drink non-alcoholic beer every day?

    “Drinking non-alcoholic beer is better for you than drinking alcoholic beer every day,” says Poon. “Traditional beer has more calories and alcohol has gut microbiome disrupting and inflammatory side effects, especially if you’re drinking multiple alcoholic beverages.” Still, that doesn’t mean NA beer is exactly the most nutritious option. “Non-alcoholic beer doesn’t contain a lot of nutrition (though research does show that the polyphenols in hops could support heart health), and still contains about 100 calories per can,” says Poon. “Plus, even the small amount of alcohol found in NA beer could be problematic for certain populations.” The bottom line: “Moderation is key with most things, especially beverages that are not water,” says Poon. 

Why Trust Shape

Christina Heiser is a health writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering health news and trends for different online publications. She quit drinking two years ago and has since then written numerous articles about Dry January and non-alcoholic drinks, purchased a whole lot of NA beverages for her bar cart, and sipped mocktails at just about every restaurant and bar she’s visited. For this non-alcoholic drink guide, she taste-tested her way through the most popular products available and interviewed a handful of experts in this space to get their top picks. She also asked the experts featured here to share their knowledge about choosing, serving, and preparing NA drinks and answered frequently asked questions about the health and safety of consuming these beverages.


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