Zero ABV lovers find worthy vinos and more to imbibe.
Introduced a few years ago by a nonprofit in the United Kingdom as a public health campaign at the start of the year to help people turn a new leaf and abstain from alcohol, Dry January has quickly caught on as a New Year’s resolution, health trend and lifestyle transformation across the world.
Dry January has found many takers here in the United States who are refraining from alcoholic drinks or opting for drinks that have lower alcohol by volume (ABV), especially following a year when consumption is said to have spiked more than 14% amid the coronavirus pandemic according to a report published last October by the JAMA Network Open.
Creating Alcohol-Free Wine Options
For Tolu Obikunle, CEO at Sapiens Beverage, the driver was more a necessity than an option. “I was inspired to start Sapiens because I'm not a drinker, but during my Wall Street internships, I found myself ‘pretending' to drink just to fit in with my colleagues,” shares the Columbia University grad.
“A non-alcoholic option would have eliminated the social friction I experienced. On my journey, I found countless people who urgently needed a social equivalent to wine – pregnant women, the 40% of adults who drink infrequently but want to participate, religious non-drinkers, and those following an alcohol-free lifestyle.” She set off to cater precisely to that clientele.
Sapiens now offers dealcoholized wine in two options: a bold and smoky tempranillo and a light and refreshing sparkling rosé. Using a unique, low-temperature distillation process, she preserves the antioxidants, tannins and flavor, without adding any juices to the wines, which are 0.0% ABV, halal-certified, vegan, gluten-free and pregnancy-safe.
Obikunle says, “At Sapiens, we believe in celebration, but even more than that, we believe in inclusion. Whether you're not drinking for a lifetime, nine months, or just one round, you deserve elevated non-alcoholic options. Gone are the days of settling for soda or sugar-laden mocktails. Sapiens is here to fill your glass.”
Brands Offering Non-Alcoholic Products
Obikunle isn’t alone on this journey. Several brands and entrepreneurs have veered toward less or no boozy choices in the past few years, either as their unique selling proposition or in addition to existing alcoholic products. There are options aplenty in the market now whether you are looking for wines, beers, mixers, spirits or other alternatives.
VINADA Premium Spanish ZERO Alcohol Wine is an award-winning assortment of sparkling wines with a balanced flavor and superior taste experience, resulting from its unique bottling process, which retains most of the wine’s original aromas and taste. The idea was born out of the desire to offer a good, healthy, non-alcoholic alternative to alcohol. It contains only 21 calories per 100 ml so that the health-conscious drinkers can partake.
For a product that’s “0% Alcohol, 100% Celebration,” turn to Freixenet Global Sparkling Wine, which brings alcohol-removed sparkling white and rosé from the Penedès DO of Spain. Freixenet is produced by a family-owned company that grew from humble beginnings in rural Catalonia. The two fresh, fruit-forward sparkling wine offerings contain 0.00-0.05% alcohol and cater to health- and wellness-conscious consumers to be enjoyed for any occasion.
Meanwhile, Jukes Cordialities presents a collection of drinks in the 0.0% alcohol category as a palatable alternative to alcoholic beverages. Jukes are all-natural, apple cider vinegar-based, vegan and gluten-free, as well as low in calories and sugar. Both Jukes 1 (the white) and Jukes 6 (the red), presented in elegant one-ounce glass bottles, are designed to be mixed with still or sparkling water and even tonic water.
From wine country comes H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer, a non-alcoholic, wine-infused beverage for wine lovers and non-drinkers alike. Flavorful and hydrating, the naturally delicious, premium beverages combine the refreshment of sparkling water and the taste and spirit of premium California wines. H2O is pure water infused with the juice of 100% California varietal wine grapes, premium dealcoholized wine and natural flavor extracts.
Then there is Mocktail Club, a Black-owned brand made in the United States with the highest quality and natural ingredients to create healthy, refreshing drinks reminiscent of classic cocktails, but with a modern twist. Each of these sophisticated drinks is made with functional benefits and include antioxidants and prebiotics for digestive health. The brand has four flavors to choose from: Capri Sour, Bombay Fire, Havana Twist and Manhattan Berry.
Incorporating Non-Alcoholic Lifestyle Choices
Atlanta, Georgia-based industry expert and drinking coach Tiffanie Barriere has seen a rise in the past few years, at least in the U.S., of people not drinking alcoholic beverages and not just in January. “I’ve definitely seen a lot of brands that are creating non-alcoholic mixers, botanicals, and flavors with no alcohol and that’s nice.”
As an alternative to not drinking just water, which can get boring pretty quickly, Barriere recommends sparkling water. “It’s a savior. The effervescence can remind you of everything from a beer to a glass of Champagne. So many brands now have flavored water. Using fruit in water is flavorful too. Teas are great. You can double or triple steep to make it nice and strong, almost as strong as bourbon.”
Tisanes, or herbal teas, made using an infusion of herbs, spices, flowers and other plant material, is a caffeine-free option that can be consumed hot or cold and sometimes in mocktails.
Barriere recently enjoyed an old fashioned using Spiritless Kentucky 74 distilled non-alcoholic spirit for bourbon cocktails, containing only 0.5% alcohol. Among her favorite mocktails to make at home is a super-easy three-ingredient concoction she has christened Claim to Fame. Simply pour your favorite fruit juice over ice, squeeze in fresh lime, and top it off with ginger ale or ginger beer. “The sweet and sour, effervescence and a little spice from the ginger is just yum when you mix sweet and sour, it’s a win-win.”
Clearly, there is no excuse not to embrace a dry spell for any period of time if you choose to, either as a temporary break or a permanent lifestyle choice. The fun part of doing so is exploring a new generation of libations that make it easy and flavorful.