Health is always a general concern, but the pandemic made both physical and mental health a bigger priority for many people.
While the stressful, early days of lockdown were noted for a reliance on comfort food and relaxing adult beverages (leading to the notorious “quarantine 15”), it wasn’t long before people realized the long-term detriments of this approach to making it through isolation.
As the pandemic dragged on, consumers started looking for healthier ways to cope through exercise and meditation, along with foods and beverages designed to support immunity, mental wellness, and overall health.
Canned cocktails became more popular in 2021, and this trend has continued into 2022. At the same time, a segment of the consumer market has begun clamoring for alcohol-free options.
This has led to a growing market for mocktails that offer innovative flavors and opportunities to sip socially, even when not imbibing. Which ingredients and flavor profiles are currently trending in mocktails?
Related: Bar Guide: How to Make a Well-Crafted Mocktail
Sober-Curious Gateway Beverages
Until recently, it wasn’t that easy to find faux-cocktail options for the sober socialite, and the new glut of products can make it hard to know what to try. A good place to start is with wine or beer.
Canadian company Gruvi has the perfect sober drink for summer with their non-alcoholic Bubbly Rosé, a semi-dry sparkling soda that tastes an awful lot like real rosé.
Then there are zero-proof botanical beverages from Proteau, a company started by award-winning bartender John deBary (of Momofuku fame). His complex blends of fruit, florals, and vinegar offer the perfect flavor for chilled sippers or spritzers.
Non-alcoholic wines from Surely are also a sure bet for booze-free whites and rosés, not to mention the recently launched cabernet sauvignon.
Athletic Brewing, known for its flavorful non-alcoholic beer, doesn’t disappoint with its many malty bevs, and fans can build their own custom variety case to get all their faves. Even Heineken has gotten in on the game with a 0.0% alcohol version of their classic lager called Hawaii Dry-O.
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Virgin Spirits That Taste Like the Real Deal
Even if you’re keen to cut back on alcohol consumption, it’s not unusual to long for the flavor of your favorite spirit, which is often notably absent in mocktails. Companies like Fluère are changing this misstep with non-alcoholic distilled spirits that taste like popular liquors.
Based in the Netherlands, this company uses time-honored distilling practices to create absolutely alcohol-free versions of gin, whiskey, and more.
The botanical blends of Fluère Original pair perfectly with tonic and lime (like a gin and tonic), while Spiced Cane, with sweet and complex notes, is recommended with cola and bitters (aka rum and Coke). Try Smoked Agave for a non-buzzy take on mezcal.
Fluère even offers recipes for mocktails to help customers learn how to mix their faves with alcohol-free spirits.
Related: Top "Ready To Drink" Cocktails for Summer 2022
There’s no denying that liquor can be a social lubricant, helping imbibers to relax and enjoy the company of others more fully. For those who lead a “dry” lifestyle, however, there are still options to chill with buzz-less bevs.
Since hemp and hemp products (containing 0.3% or less THC) were federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the market for CBD products has expanded at a breakneck pace. CBD may offer relaxing or uplifting feelings, and one area that has seen a lot of interest has been the inclusion of hemp-derived CBD in beverages.
It started with sodas and juices, but more recently, companies have started adding CBD to cocktails. While only a handful of states currently allow for recreational use of marijuana (the cannabis variety high in THC), hemp is legal in all 50 states, adding to the popularity of hemp-derived CBD cocktails and mocktails.
Brands like Recess have released CBD-infused sparkling water to some acclaim. Billed as “artisanal sparkling water,” these bubbly bevs come in trendy flavors like blood orange, pomegranate hibiscus, blackberry chai, and more traditional options like coconut lime, peach ginger, and black cherry to satisfy every palate.
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