Friday, March 24, 2023

How to Stock a Nonalcoholic Bar: 7 Botanical Spirits to Drink Instead of Booze


Booze is out and botanical, herbal elixirs and spirits are so in. We’re big fans of this trend. Stock your nonalcoholic bar and sip on these feel-good drinks.

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that taking the edge off is necessary for mental well-being.

And while a glass of wine can be a nice way to relax, alcohol has some downsides. Who needs hangovers when you can drink nonalcoholic spirits and botanical elixirs that boost your mood and help you avoid the dangerous side effects of alcohol?

We’re full-on obsessed with this movement and having the best time experimenting with so many different brands and blends. Ready to dive into the alcohol-free movement? We’ve got you covered.

What are nonalcoholic spirits?

Going booze-free doesn’t mean sipping on sugar-laden ginger ale all night. Companies are hard at work blending botanicals that taste similar to their alcoholic counterparts and/or offer similar benefits by way of botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and other natural ingredients.

Consider these options the Impossible Burgers of the spirits world — made to look, blend, and taste just like their boozy counterparts, only better for you, and in some cases, better for the planet, too.

1. Optimist

This Southern California-based spirits brand is bringing fun and function to its world-class botanicals. Created with a master distiller, these three blends: Smokey, Bright, and Fresh, bring complex flavors and a good bit of plant magic. The flavors are reminiscent of tequila, vodka, and gin, but there’s no alcohol involved. All you get is smooth sipping and a gentle, elevated afterglow.

The gorgeous glass bottles look great on any counter, and the emphasis on cultivating mental wellness is making the world a better place for us all. Don’t mix with cheap tonic water here; check out recipes on the site or experiment with your own favorites. Hint: you can’t go wrong with a big splash of ginger kombucha mixed with any of the blends.

2. Free Spirits

The folks behind Northern California’s Free Spirits want you to keep drinking cocktails, just without the alcohol. These boozy stand-ins don’t skimp on mood-enhancing, though. The brand’s bourbon, gin, and tequila-inspired spirits blend B vitamins, amino acids, and botanicals to bring flavor and function to your glass.

Always vegan and gluten-free, Free Spirits uses a process called Distillate Reconstruction to create the same flavor profiles as your favorite spirits, made with clean ingredients that support mental wellbeing and local farmers. “Free Spirits are made for those who refuse to compromise between a great cocktail and a great time,” the company says.

3. Dhos

Handcrafted on an organic farm in Oregon, Dhōs is about as clean as you can get — both as an alternative to alcohol and a pesticide-free product. It’s received certifications from the Clean Label Project and was tested to be clear of more than 400 contaminants.

You’ll be obsessed with the Bittersweet blend that features traditional flavors of bitter rhubarb, brulée of oranges, cinchona, gentian root, and bitter herbs. It’s part cocktail, part digestif all-in-one. Try it with your favorite soda water and a fresh squeeze of orange for a perfect cocktail.

4. Lyre’s

Lyre’s is out to prove that alcohol-free doesn’t mean flavor-free or effect-free. It took years to craft its range of non-alcoholic spirits with the goal of tasting just like the alcohol-based options they’re replacing. A commitment to quality, the brand sources all-natural essences, extracts, and distillates from around the world.

At the risk of blowing our own bugle, this is quite simply the finest range of non-alcoholic classic spirits the world has ever seen,” the company says.

A commitment to vegan ingredients, the only animals featured in Lyre’s are the “beloved social animals depicted on our labels,” the company says. You, of course, can still be the party animal you always were, just without the hangover.

5. Kin Euphorics

Kin Euphorics was a pioneer in the elixir non-alcoholic drink space, and even got the attention of supermodel Bella Hadid, who is now a co-founder of the brand. Kin set out to transform the world’s oldest social ritual of drinking by providing consumers with a better alternative. The drinks are made to help bring balance and elevate a sense of self. The products’ profound impact on Hadid’s mental wellness led to her joining the company.

The two signature drinks are the Kin Spritz and Lightwave. The Kin Spritz has wonderful notes of ginger, bitters, and citrus mixed with mood-boosting ingredients. The Lightwave has notes of lavender, vanilla, smoked sea salt, and passionflower with mind-calming ingredients to help you mellow out.

6. Three Spirit

Three Spirit believes that alcohol-free shouldn’t mean pleasure-free. The plant-based alternatives to alcohol celebrate what is put into the beverage—not what was taken out. The mixtures were created by plant scientists, bartenders, hedonists, herbalists, and artists. In a day and age where we are looking at self-driving cars and meatless meat they felt it was high time to create a delicious cocktail that didn’t ruin Monday. 

They have three distinct spirits, hence the name Three Spirit. Livener, which is described as exotic, fiery, and fun, is great with a splash of tonic water or mixture as a faux Cosmopolitan with cranberry juice, lime juice, and orange. The Social Elixir is dark and bittersweet, which pairs well with ginger beer. And lastly, the Nightcap is decadent, wood, and smooth and is great as an Old Fashioned alternative.

7. Monday

Monday has a delicious non-alcoholic gin and whiskey that mixes into your favorite cocktail combinations. Their spirits are sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan. The whiskey and gin are both handcrafted in small batches in Southern California with all-natural ingredients. 

The gin is excellent mixed with a fruity juice, like cranberry, or with a splash of lemon and simple syrup. As for the whiskey, try it with ginger beer!


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