There’s a reason alcohol is called a social lubricant—after a glass or two of wine, we start to feel a little more loose, comfortable, and chatty. But for some people, two alcoholic drinks can easily turn into three or four (or more). And not only can this lead to poor food choices in the moment or a killer hangover the next day, it can also get in the way of your overall health or weight-loss goals.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy an adult beverage every now and then if you can do so responsibly—we’re all about balance and moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends adult women drink no more than one alcoholic drink a day, while men are recommended to consume no more than two alcoholic drinks a day. However, if you’re looking to cut back on your alcohol consumption–whether for weight-loss benefits, mental health reasons, or to take care of your overall health and well-being–there’s no better time than now to make the switch to zero-proof wines and spirits.
Not that long ago, if you wanted to abstain from drinking, you had to opt for soda, sparkling cider, or tasteless alcohol-free beer. Now, so many wine and spirit makers have changed the game with their zero-proof beverages that replicate the real deal. And if you’re more of a beer fan, brewers are getting in on the action, too, blending hops and yeast to create more robust alcohol-free beers that taste like your favorite IPAs.
Zero-proof beverages were one of the big health and wellness trends we predicted for 2022, and the options only continue to grow. So, we’ve put together some of the biggest brands that are disrupting the alcoholic beverage market for you to add to your bar cart. For more options, you can also check out Better Rhodes, a nonalcoholic marketplace.
Don’t get alcohol-removed wine confused with your run-of-the-mill concord grape juice (and all the sugar that comes with it). These nonalcoholic varieties are actually made from quality grapes by winemakers—just like how traditional wine is made, but the alcohol is then removed. Some brands blend in a little grape juice for flavor, but the end result is a balanced taste that’s not too sweet, and something you’d actually want to drink alongside a steak or charcuterie board.
You can find alcohol-removed wine in reds (like Cabernet and Pinot Noir), whites (like Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay), and in sparkling varieties, to name a few. Surely, Sapiens, and Noughty are a few brands that we’ve found that have a lot of variety.
Zero-Proof Spirits and Elixirs
Sometimes, enjoying a cocktail after a long day is all about the ritual of it: it’s fun to play mixologist with fresh-squeezed citrus juice, herbs, and a splash of soda. Fortunately, cutting back on hard alcohol doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite cocktails as plenty of zero-proof spirits have hit the market. Ritual makes a zero-proof tequila that goes smooth with some soda and lime, and a gin alternative that pairs well with some diet tonic water and lemon. Seedlip’s unique blends of Garden (peas, rosemary, thyme, and spearmint), Grove (orange, lemon peel, lemongrass, and ginger), and Spice (allspice, cardamom, and citrus) have even found their way into some trendy bars in New York City.
The New York Times ranks Pentire Adrift as one of the most drinkable zero-proof spirits on its list and noted that it’s “uniquely light and crisp.” Some of our coworkers called out Ghia as a refreshing alternative to a Mediterranean aperitivo; the brand offers a spritz and an apéritif.
Some zero-proof elixirs claim to promote health benefits too, such as Kin Euphorics, which claims to enhance creativity, clarity, and energy with its functional drinks, and Sunwink mocktail tonics, which are blended with herbs and superfoods to reduce stress and fatigue.
Gone are the days of bland alcohol-free beer that are tasteless. More and more brewers are experimenting with special fermenting techniques to retain the light, medium, or full-bodied flavor of beer without the alcohol. Liquor.com rates Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Amber as its best overall nonalcoholic beer to drink in 2022. BrewDog also has a whole host of nonalcoholic beers like IPAs, a hazy IPA, and a pale ale. Another brand that piqued our curiosity is Athletic Brewing—they brew nonalcoholic craft beer just like a microbrewery would, but with much fewer calories.