By Lori Zelenko —
There are so many choices now, there is no reason to go to a cocktail party and pretend to drink champagne while just holding it to your lips. (No one notices that your glass is still full.) There are low-alcohol drinks and no-alcohol drinks for the sober-curious. Besides, someone has to drive home. There are also the new and interesting cocktails and alcoholic beverages in a can, like this sangria from Spain.
You can now throw away the cocktail shaker and the egg whites. The work is already done. Just keep some lemon zest, mint and limes on hand for garnish.
Many of the more recent beverage introductions taste great and are a healthy alternative, as people discovered with the hard seltzers, a market phenom. Some people because of age, preference or health no longer consume alcohol, or consume smaller quantities.
Marketers realized that and, as a result, have produced dozens of delicious ice-cold options. You have your choice of low-calorie, no-calorie, non-alcoholic, THC-infused, and full-blooded cocktails in a can.
The world of canned drinks has become a lot more interesting, especially since the taste of grain alcohol is easy to retain while removing the alcohol. The opposite is true with wine. You notice that nonalcoholic wine tastes terrible? That’s because the heat necessary to remove alcohol from wine destroys the taste. But grain alcohol is made by distillation (heat). Distil some more, no problem.
MOCKTAILS — No Alcohol
Mixoloshe is a non-alcoholic cocktail alternative that has won prizes for its taste. The all-female company behind it says, “We only use five ingredients and you can pronounce them all.” Its Blueberry G&T, for instance has “the goodness of the flavors behind the Blueberry G&T: the sweetness of blue berries pairs perfectly with bittersweet tonic and the fresh fragrances of juniper and citrus.” That was only four. Water I guess was number five. There are six flavors in the Mixolo-she line, including an Orange Old Fashioned. Only 50 calories a 12-ounce can, with fewer than nine grams of sugar. (The women behind the company also say, snippily, “Don’t call us a mocktail.”)
Slide offers the opposite of caffeine. It is made with kava, a mild sedative meant to give you a mellow mood, as long as you don’t have liver disease. (And not drinking alcohol is a good way to avoid liver disease.) It relieves stress, and this beverage is only 15 calories a can with one gram of sugar. It’s made from the root of the, duh, kava plant.
Sober curious and ready for brunch? Fauxmosa, a bubbly non-alcoholic Mimosa alternative, comes in four flavors: Orange with Turmeric, Cranberry with Hibiscus and Ginger, Pineapple with Lemon and Mint, and Grapefruit with Raspberry and Basil. The brand blends California grapes, real fruit juices, and botanicals into, well, admit it, unexpected combinations. Somewhat like that hand holding the Fauxmosa can.
A nonalcoholic mojito from ISH Spirits is a winner. All you have to do is buy some salt for the rim of the glass, or maybe some mint leaves. ISH non-alcoholic Mojito is delicious! A total WOW! This bright, refreshing, minty rum drink tastes like a full-strength Mojito. It is made with ISH Caribbean Spiced Spirit, a real de-alcoholized Caribbean rum infused with Madagascar vanilla, Indonesian nutmeg, and natural baked-apple flavor, plus lime and Moroccan spearmint. It is nonalcoholic, but with the satisfying bite of booze. That means you can be the designated driver on the Fourth of July and still drink cocktails.
REAL COCKTAILS IN A CAN
Making their certified organic canned cocktails from scratch with better spirits and ingredients than 99 percent of most bars is the hallmark of Greenbar Distillery’s drinks. That’s the secret of their rich, complex, and clean flavors. Want a highball? Try their bold City Gin + Tonic, their mellow Coastal Rum + Cola, or their rich Single Malt Whiskey + Soda. The flavorful cocktails are the result of food-driven infusions. Keep these babies chilled, and sip them outdoors this weekend. (Greenbar, based in Los Angeles, makes nonalcoholic versions as well.)
Your Absolut Pineapple Martini is ready to sip! Imbibe and inhale Absolut vodka that has been merged with sweet pineapple and a touch of mint. You can have this at home, or take it with you to drink with your friends. But note that the packaging says that the Absolut’s Pineapple Martinis are 10 percent alcohol by volume. Most mixed drinks are between 10 and 15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
Ay! The Caipirinha! Here is a twist, a sparking caipirinha from the Brazilian company Novo Fogo.
Made with Novo Fogo’s organic savory-smooth organic cachaça, these caipirinhas come in three flavors: Original
Lime, Passion Fruit-Lime, and Mango-Lime. They can be serve straight from the chilled can or over
ice in a glass with a slice of lime. These are a sure thing.
Pulpoloco Sangrias come in Smooth Red, Crisp White, and Soft Rosé. They are made with Spanish wines, fruits, and spices, following an authentic recipe. The light-bodied wines have a zing and the tangy citrus makes this a summer favorite. Pulpoloco — “crazy octopus” in Spanish — cares about the planet so they use an innovative, earth-friendly paper can.
ITS DOPE–NO, REALLY, IT’S DOPE
Forbes magazine has taken a look at the CBD seltzer market and taste-tested the top brands. Their winner is CloudWater, judged by their editorial team. Their assessment: “Cloud Water + Hemp contains 25 milligrams of CBD isolate per 12-ounce bottle or can of flavored sparkling water. Cloud Water contains 0.0% THC, according to the company, making it a favorable option for consumers who are concerned about ingesting THC in a CBD drink. Cloud Water is available in six unique flavor combinations sweetened with organic wildflower honey: watermelon ginger, half tea and half lemonade, blood orange and coconut, grapefruit with mint and basil, blackberry with lemon and rosemary and dark chocolate and strawberry.” Dark chocolate and strawberry seltzer? Hmm.
Want to drink a Moscow Mule, but with no alcohol? Jeng, a company based in Montauk, has you covered. Their version comes with
3 mg of legal hemp-derived THC or 11 mg of CBD. Jeng even offers hemp-free signature alcohol-free cocktails with the same Jeng deliciousness. How delicious? That 2023 Forbes test of CBD seltzers above ranked Jeng’s Hemp-Infused Sparkling Cocktails as the “Best Classic Cocktail Flavors.” So for those who do not like alcohol, Jeng offers four low-sugar cocktails: Spicy Blood Orange Margarita, Rhubarb Cucumber Spritz, Paloma, and that Moscow Mule. On top of that, of course, there are the hemp-infused sparking drinks. And more. All from Montauk!
HARD TO CLASSIFY
Rockstar Energy (a division of PepsiCo’) is offering a little bit of everything in Rockstar Unplugged: vitamins, hemp seed oil, spearmint and lemon balm and 80 milligrams of caffeine, almost three-times as much caffeine as in a can of Coke. But still that’s less caffeine than in Rockstar’s other energy drinks. So we guess that’s where the “Unplugged” comes from. It is sugar- and calorie-free, and it is alcohol free. The wizards at PepsiCo were apparently trying to come up with a low-key energy drink that would appeal to women. (Men are the usual energy-drink consumers.) Hemp-seed oil doesn’t do much taken internally, but it is apparently great for skin and hair. Hemp seed is, however, promoted heavily on the cans. Marketing, you know.