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The Goods

Zero–Proof Heroes

What to drink when you don’t want to drink

June 15, 2022  |   by Brooklynn Johnson

We are witnessing the zero-proof revolution, and oh, boy, is it exciting! The science has finally started to catch up to demand; brewers and winemakers are utilizing new technology to actually remove alcohol from tried-and-true favorites in ways that don’t sacrifice flavor or quality. Master mixologists have added entire N/A sections on their cocktail menus, with creativity that pours off the pages. From zero-proof heroes to low-ABV ( alcohol by volume ) MVPs, these are some of the best low-and-no players in the game right now.

Non-Alcoholic “Spirits”

Apologies to the mixology purists out there, but one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had used a house-made, zero-proof “bourbon” that was packed with such smooth, complex flavor that I nearly forgot there was no alcohol in it, and that’s coming from a self-declared whiskey aficionado. I begged the bartender for her recipe, who revealed to me it was largely tea and spices. This is one example of how craft mixologists are cutting loose and getting creative with N/A cocktails; you’re way more likely to see a virgin daiquiri, a zero-proof negroni, or non-alcoholic old-fashioned on a menu. These are some of the “spirits” you’ll see them using, which are tasteful blends of natural botanicals, citrus, and herbs.

seedlip

Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

When it comes to zero-proof spirits, Seedlip has become an industry favorite. According to Seedlip’s website, their goal was to create a “sophisticated, adult option,” for those reaching for something non-alcoholic. The key is their special maceration, distillation, filtration, and blending process, which is repeated for each and every botanical used in their bottles, a method that creates no alcohol but develops some pretty cool flavors. Their Garden 108 is super clean and fresh tasting; grassy notes of spearmint, thyme, and hops shine strong.

DHOS

ALC/VOL: 0.2% – 0.3%

If you tend to like cocktails on the sweeter side, DHOS is going to be your new best friend. Handcrafted in small batches, each flavor is made with different blends of natural botanicals, citrus, or spices. Fans of amaro, especially Aperol, should try the DHOS Bittersweet. It has a complex bitter orange flavor, with notes of vanilla and dried herbs, and the vibrant color would add a dash of dazzle to any mocktail.

DHOS
wilderton

Wilderton

ALC/VOL: 0.1%

Alright, my craft mixologists, where you at? This one’s for you. Wilderton’s botanical, non-alcoholic distillates pack some seriously provocative flavor; there’s no room for subtlety here. The Lustre has bold notes of bergamot, lavender, and orange, and the Earthen lives up to its name with a woodsy, smoky, spicy feel to it. Truly a mocktail mixer for the unafraid.

Booze-less Beers

One of the many cool things about beer is how many ways there are to keep its ABV low without disrupting too much of the actual brewing process or flavor. Your favorite brews can be dealcoholized, fermentation can be limited or skipped, or it can even be made in concentrated batches and then later diluted before canning/bottling. Between non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits, I’d give beer the award for tasting the most similar to its alcoholic counterpart, especially these days with so many expert brewers entering the N/A game.

Guinness 0.0

ABV/VOL: 0.0%

If I blind tasted this against the traditional Guinness…I honestly don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference. From a visual standpoint, it pours just like the original, with that classic nitro foam Guinness made famous coupled with a dark roasted brown color. And it’s got that coffee-y, malt-y flavor you expect from a Guinness. Brewed in Ireland.

Guinness
deschutes

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Non-Alcoholic Porter

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

If you look at all the low-and-no beers in a grocery store, you’ll notice they have a big thing in common: They’re light beers. So as a huge dark beer nerd, I was SO excited to see this porter-style beer join the party. And let me tell you, Deschutes absolutely understood the assignment. Big, tasty notes of chocolate, coffee, and malt come forward, but the real win here is the mouth feel. It’s full, creamy, and round, the total opposite of the (let’s admit it) watery beers seen early in the N/A industry. This isn’t just a good alcohol-free beer, it’s a good beer period.

Athletic Brewing Co.

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

Alright all my hop-happy, IPA-loving Pacific Northwesterners, this is your beer. The awards for the Run Wild IPA keep pouring in; it took home gold at the World Beer Awards, 2021 U.S. Open of Beer, and 2020 Best of Craft Beer Awards, to name a few. It nails everything a good IPA is supposed to be: hoppy, malty, and citrusy. Crack one open and it pours just like a traditional beer too, foam and all.

athletic brewing co
bitburger

Bitburger 0.0

ALC/VOL: 0.0%

“Premium Pils Alkoholfrei” it reads on the label, this alcohol-free malt beverage is brewed and bottled in Germany, or in other words, is made by the beer gods. It reminds me of one of the (many) beers I had in a beer tent in Munich not so long ago. It’s light, just-bitter-enough flavor proves it’s a German pilsner through and through, as well as its iconic golden, straw-like color.

Lagunitas IPNA

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

The whole gang’s here: Citra, Mosaic, and CTZ, some of Yakima’s best and brightest hops, and they certainly don’t disappoint. This IPNA leans into its herbaceous notes with a kick of lemon, and has a beautiful dark honey + orange color.

lagunitas

Wine and Bubbles

There are two big categories of non-alcoholic wines; the first is essentially really nice juice that’s been artfully flavored to taste like wine, and the second is wine that’s been dealcoholized.

waterbrook

Waterbrook Winery Clean

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

One of Walla Walla’s earliest wine producers has entered the N/A game with their Clean line, which includes a solid red and white. These blends have been dealcoholized, so they still have a classic, traditional wine feel to them. The Chardonnay has a subtle-yet-sunny oak flavor, and the Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of dark plum, cherry, and a touch of black pepper. Both are super smooth and light, easy sippers.

JOYUS Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

Holy fake wine, Batman. The bubbles, the aroma, the taste…this is the zero-proof sparkling wine for wine lovers, no joke. Want brunch mimosas without the infamous post-brunch slump? This is your hero. With its green apple and pear notes, the white reminds me of a sparkling Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc. Women-owned business!

joyus
thomson and scott

Thomson and Scott Noughty Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé

ALC/VOL: < 0.5%

I really think the sparkling wine industry has this whole N/A thing figured out. Another winner with some big bubble action! This is truly a delightful sparkling rosé-style beverage, perfect for summer evenings or celebrations.

This is just a taste – the low-and-no industry is exploding with tons of great options. Head to your local Metropolitan Market to find your new favorite, and remember to check both the traditional alcohol aisles as well as the mixer aisle.

My Met Market