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After about a year of daily drinking, I decided to make some changes. I don't do well with extremes and I enjoy a nice ritual, so I started substituting non-alcoholic cocktails and beverages for about 1 drink a day. Nothing major. Instead of reaching for that glass of wine at 6pm, I reach for a non-alcoholic beverage instead. Some evenings this is followed by an alcoholic beverage or two and on some nights, it is not.
No pressure, no rules, just a gradual shift and positive intentions each day.
If you're like me and looking to cut down on your alcohol intake but not sure where to start and don't want to be left drinkless and floundering at the witching hour, here's my guide to some of the many adult beverages that are sans alcohol. If they made my list, I stock them in my store General Store Cooperative under our house brand Speakeasy.
Don't underestimate the power of placebo, even when you know it's not the real thing. I hear from many people that the main thing they miss about alcohol is the feeling. I find that when you drink beverages that replicate the aroma and taste of the real thing, your brain gets tricked and you still feel relaxed. This All-Out Stout does the trick for me!
Over the summer I mixed myself an Orange Whiskey Sour using Ritual Whiskey. It was delicious and really delivered as an on-point whiskey substitute. Maybe I'm weak minded, but I swear I was slurring my words a bit. Definitely took the edge off and elevated my cocktail ritual, pun intended. By the way, the Ritual slogan is "Keep the Ritual, Loose the Alcohol."
8. Monday Gin
I'm a gin person. My love of gin and tonics is epic. I love the scent, the taste, the way the ice jingles in the glass. With Monday Gin I felt all those feels. Definitely the best non-alcoholic gin I've tasted. (currently out of stock, sorry)
Shrubs are delightful combination of sweet and tart, sometimes referred to as drinking vinegars. Don't be turned off by the vinegar part. Think of shrubs as healthy drinkable sour patch kids. Shrubs, which have been around since the dawn of time, went out of vogue with the invention of refrigeration, but are experiencing a resurgence due to their health benefits. Healthy or not, they're a delicious alcohol alternative when mixed with seltzer. My personal favorite is Mother Shrub Black Cherry, makes me feel like I'm drinking an old-time soda.
As with all Curious Elixirs, the flavor profile of No. 1 is complex and intriguing. Beverage enthusiasts will enjoy sipping and experiencing the tasting notes like a sommelier. No. 1, which is somewhat comparable to a Negroni, is my favorite. And my favorite part about Curious Elixirs is that they contain special ingredients to help you relax. No. 1 contains "unique superfood and adaptogen blend to help you unwind, including gentian and rhodiola." Works for me!
We just started stocking these locally made delights! Made in Brooklyn by a bar tender looking for something to drink and mix after achieving sobriety. I love the taste of Allspice in these. The "Dry" sugar-free version is an acquired taste, but so is alcohol, right? And the bittersweet version is subtly sweet and perfect. Might be nice served in a champagne flute!
As I mentioned before, I love gin. Seedlip Garden has a similar earthy botanical aroma and flavor that I love. Mix it with a high quality tonic or use in place of gin in other drink recipes. Seedlip was the first non-alcoholic distilled beverage I ever tried, so it has a special place in my heart.
I'm a sucker for a Bloody Mary with brunch and this tequila has a nice spicy kick to it, making it perfect for a Bloody Maria. I like to make myself a Bloody Maria with Ritual Tequila on a Sunday and add celery, olives, pickles and any other veggies I have in the fridge.
Kin refers to itself as a euphoric: "beverages made from adaptogens, nootropics, and botanics that let you indulge in a richer revelry." I do find it makes me feel noticeably yet subtly relaxed. Kin comes in 3 kinds, Kin High Rhode, Kin Dream Lite, and Kin Spritz. I was not a fan of the Dream Lite, so I stopped stocking it. And I decided just to stock the Kin Spritz because it's essentially Kin High Rhode with a spritz, a ready-made cocktail.
1. Recess, CBD-infused seltzer
I love everything about Recess, the branding, the flavor, and the feeling. Just one gives me a nice blissful calm. Some people may need more than one. I also find that if I have one a day for a week, I look back and realize my week was a good and peaceful one. CBD for the win! Available in store only.