The big buzz in the beverage industry is about no buzz at all. From Manolo Blahnik’s chic new alcohol-free bar at his Madison Avenue boutique (serving “NO-Gronis” and other mocktails) to alcohol-free Jukes Cordialities and alcohol-free New London Light Gin, mindful drinking is all the rage.
“I was spurred on by pregnant clients, my inability to deal with sugar during menopause, and my desire to create a non-alcoholic Campari,” veteran bartender Gaby Mlynarczyk explains of her decision to create the visionary “Clean + Dirty Drinking” cocktail tome. to write in 2018. (It includes dual recipes for cocktails with and without spirits.)
Since then, she notes, the legalization of cannabis and the arrival of COVID-19 have prompted more drinkers to give up alcohol as they focus on their health. According to research firm Nielsen, this is part of a growing trend that has seen soft beverage sales soar 33 percent last year to total sales of $331 million.
“Recovering from an alcohol intoxication is prohibitively expensive,” says Mlynarczyk. “We’re looking for less obnoxious ways to have fun, and low-alcohol cocktails are the way to go.”
Mlynarczyk, a Los Angeles-based bar consultant, creates sophisticated drinks using ingredients like coriander, angelica and juniper to enhance non-alcoholic gin and chai-spiced teas to create an NA rum and cola. To capture the viscosity and body typical of an alcoholic cocktail, she often adds glycerin.
Working extensively with tea bases and creating satisfying cocktails also inspires Anna Welker, who oversees the mocktail program at Topside Bar at Baltimore’s Revival Hotel, one of more than 20 Hyatt hotels to offer such a selection.
“We see the best responses when people discover the Zero Proof, Zero Judgment section of our menu. It makes my day every time,” she says. “Everyone deserves something delicious, made just for them, that looks cute on Instagram, and that they love to enjoy and show their friends, regardless of the nature of the drink.”
Her favorite non-alcoholic beverages include Ritual Zero Proof’s spirit alternatives, Grüvi Dry Secco sparkling wine, Ghia’s Aperitivo Le Spritz and Lagunitas’ Hoppy Refresher hop water.
The list of non-alcoholic beverages is constantly expanding, including wine from Studio Null (which sells sparkling and white blends from Germany, as well as a Spanish Tempranillo-Syrah red wine), tequila from Free Spirits from California, and an eerily authentic Connecticut IPA from Australian brand Remedy Athletic Brewing Co. recently launched their sugar-free kombucha in the US, touting the brew’s probiotic health benefits and easy mocktail mix. (Drinkers who don’t want to give up entirely can try Osmosis Sauvignon Blanc — a low-alcohol option with no residual sugar.)
Celebrities are getting in on the act, too: supermodel Bella Hadid co-owns Kin Euphorics, which sells Instagram-friendly spritzers and tonics, while Blake Lively just launched Betty Buzz, a line of non-alcoholic fizzy mixers. And industry insiders say this is just the beginning.
“There’s a gold rush of fantastic new alcohol-free products that offer the same bright taste of traditional spirits but without the alcohol content,” says Elva Ramirez, author of Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking. “Keep the gin, skip the booze.”
remedy Kombucha (24-pack), $40 at Amazon
New London Light non-alcoholic spirit, $40 at Amazon
High Rhode Non-Alcoholic Appetizer, $39 child euphoria
Sauvignon blanc low-alcohol wine, $15 at osmosis
“Prickly Red” non-alcoholic wine, $32 studio zero
https://nypost.com/2022/03/24/best-new-nonalcoholic-wines-spirits-mixers-mocktail-expert/ Best New Non-Alcoholic Wines, Spirits, Mixers: Mocktail Expert