To call non-alcoholic drinking a trend would be to do it a disservice: In the last couple of years, the market has been flooded with booze-less drinks of all kinds meant to mimic the flavors and mouthfeel of drinks with alcohol.
Whether you’re not drinking for the evening, trying out a dry month, or going fully sober, sipping on a non-alcoholic drink can be a nice change. Plus, the options are truly delicious. Whatever you prefer — from fruity cocktails, liquor-forward sips, nice red wine, or hoppy beer — there’s something to meet your craving. If you’re not sure where to start, here are the best options on the market, according to food and beverage professionals.
The Best NA Wines and Spirits, According to Bartenders
- Proteau Rivington Spritz
- Ghia’s Le Spritz
- Wolffer Estate Verjus
- Fusion Verjus Blanc
- Fentiman’s Tonic
- Dram Black Cardamom Sparkling Water
- Leitz Eins Zwei Zero’s Sparkling Rosé
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“I would say Aplós. Although I helped develop the flavor, the goal was to make an NA that can easily be placed into classic cocktail recipes in 1.5 ounces. I worked on specific sensory and taste cues that are present in alcohol to structure the products around the base of the hemp spirit. The functional aspects were a nice bonus to me to learn about the de-stressing and relaxing properties that can be extracted.” —Lynnette Marrero, Co-Founder of Speed Rack, MasterClass host, and award-winning bartender
“The key thing to remember when approaching non-alcoholic wines and spirits is that preconceived notions of their alcoholic counterparts should be checked at the door. Instead, try focusing on the characteristics other than alcohol that draw you to them in the first place — fruitiness, florality, bittersweetness, acidity, etc. I think that company producing two of the best NA products on the market currently are the botanically driven Proteau brand, with their sparkling aperitif, the Rivington Spritz, and the rich, blackberry-based Ludlow Red.” —Danny Childs, beverage manager, The Farm and Fisherman
“When there are an array of options available on the market, my advice is to stay informed. It’s easy to support delicious products, but the power of the consumer lies in the intention behind what they buy. Buy delicious juice made by good people. This is why my NA spirit of choice is Seedlip. Seedlip is a product that puts flavor at the forefront. When we discuss the best ways to use it in drinks, I suggest incorporating ingredients that provide texture as well as complexity: rich syrups, egg white, aquafaba, soda, and kombucha. The options are endless, and the flavor combinations can be inventive and delicious. I like to make new versions of classic cocktails incorporating Seedlip into my serves. Sometimes, I will even use two expressions in a single cocktail for added complexity.” —Lauren Paylor, mentor, Speed Rack, owner, Focus on Health & LP Drinks
“My favorite NA option at the moment is Anaperitivo, a non-alcoholic aperitivo. It’s crisply bitter and makes an excellent spritz. Additionally, I am in love with the Pathfinder Hemp Amaro. It’s an excellent modifier and has excellent notes of bitter, earthy elements of the hemp used. I would be remiss not to mention the Flyer’s RTD cocktails that are a great non-alcoholic CBD option if that’s what you’re looking for: a real cocktail without the booze.” —Ivy Mix, co-owner, Leyenda and FIASCO! Wine and Spirits; co-founder, Speed Rack; author, “Spirits of Latin America,” Brooklyn
“It’s hard to pick just one, since there are so many good options on the market now and my tastes are influenced by fluctuating moods, but if I absolutely had to choose a desert-island drink, it would be Ghia’s Le Spritz. The brand’s first product, the bottled aperitif, is great, too, but if you’re someone who is just starting to dabble in this space and who loves bitterness, the ready-to-drink spritz is the move. It starts with floral and citrus notes and ends with a bracing finish thanks to gentian root, orange peel, and rosemary.” —Julia Bainbridge, author, “Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason”
“Verjus is my favorite NA product. It is a great starting point for giving a non-alcoholic beverage body, acid, and character. It is very flexible, as it already has some sugar and you don’t have to add too much. I add brown butter and cherry juice and serve it cold as a food-friendly beverage. I use Wolffer Estate and Fusion.” —Tia Barrett, operations & beverage director, Esmé, Chicago
“I will happily drink a bottle of tonic by itself. On a hot Philly summer day, I walk a little out of my way to hit a favorite bottle shop for a chilled bottle of Fentiman’s. I grab it by the neck and slug my bottle, indulgently, while I walk through the city with no risk of open container violations. I also like Fentiman’s tonic in a highball with plenty of crushed ice, a squeezed citrus wedge (any type will do), and garnished with fresh herbs: basil, rosemary, thyme, whatever I’ve got available. For a seasonally affected version, I’m starting by muddling fresh N.J. blueberries with a little granulated sugar as soon as they’re available.” —Zach Morris, owner, Bloomsday Café, Philadelphia
“When I’m trying to take a little break from alcohol, I go through literally cases upon cases of Dram Black Cardamom sparkling water. Dram is a Colorado-based company that crafts organic bitters in the Rocky Mountains that you can buy for cocktails, and they also do this sparkling water line with and without CBD. The Black Cardamom is my favorite because it’s incredibly dry and snappy, with an herbal backbone complemented by notes of black pepper, lemon, and spice. You could use it as a mixer with something clear, but I honestly just love it solo. It feels like a beer can — the dryness and snappiness from the bitters used for flavoring satisfy as well as a canned cocktail, but my head feels worlds clearer the next day.” —Sande Friedman, beverage manager, Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia
“I’m a fan of Leitz Eins Zwei Zero’s Sparkling Rosé, made from 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes. Unlike some other NA sparkling wines out there, it’s not too sweet. It has a crisp, acidic finish instead of an onslaught of sugar. It comes bottled and canned, but I like getting it in cans so I can get it nice and chilled. Also perfect for taking on-the-go and enjoying with a charcuterie or tinned fish picnic spread.” —Esha Dev, sober enthusiast; founder, Saffron Public Relations