Sometimes you want a special something that makes your alcohol-free drink more enticing than filtered tap or what your tween might order if we could dine out at restaurants.
One solution comes from Salacious Drinks, the D.C-based company that sells water from around the world, in 6- and 12-packs of bottles with or without fizz. Consider the Aqua Carpatica ($4/750 mL) from Romania, says co-founder Ashley Epperson, which she likes since it’s sodium-free, rich in calcium and magnesium, and won a superior taste award for 2021. She also likes the silky Three Bays from Australia ($6.50/750mL).
But sometimes water doesn’t cut it, no matter where it’s from. Julia Bainbridge makes not drinking celebratory in the pages of Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You're Not Drinking for Whatever Reason, which came out in October. In addition to her concoctions, she recommends a few additional items to restock your booze-free pantry. Take it away, Julia:
Ghia: Former Esquire restaurant editor Jeff Gordinier and I have been texting about Ghia since it launched last year; we both drink it multiple times a week. "It teases your palate with herbal bitterness—enough so that teetotalers can allow themselves to pretend they’re sipping an amaro," according to Gordinier. Try it with seltzer and lime, or if you really like bitter flavors, simply on the rocks.
"Noughty" Organic Sparkling Chardonnay: Former BBC broadcaster Amanda Thomson launched an alcohol-free organic sparkling Chardonnay in the UK just over a year ago (a few months before London's first lockdown), and it's done so well that she's turning her back on the other sparkling wines she has produced in the past and taking the business fully alcohol-free. Noughty is so deliciously dry and balanced in a way I haven't tasted in many alcohol-free sparkling wines — or, frankly, alcohol-free wines in general.
Amass "Riverine": Amass is a really interesting company that makes spirits as well as personal care products like hand soap and candles. Master distiller Morgan McLachlan grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and this gin-like alcohol-free spirit is a love letter to the area: juniper, sumac, sorrel, apple, thyme. It's earthy and herbal with a crisp finish. I drink it simply on the rocks, maybe with a splash of tonic.
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