Skip to main content

Is the Drink of Labor Day Weekend Nonalcoholic?

A slew of new entrants promise the experience and complexity of booze — without its downsides.

Call it drinking to one’s health.

While adverse health effects of alcohol consumption are well documented, the market is seeing a bevy of new entrants that promise the perks of a cocktail without any of the physical drawbacks. Enter the era of the mocktail — and drinkers seem to be catching on.

“Our business is orders of magnitude bigger than it was even a year ago,” says Nick Bodkins, chief executive officer and founder of nonalcoholic specialty retailer Boisson, which stocks de-alcoholized wines, functional beverages and a range of nonalcoholic spirits. It operates locations in New York, while supplying more than 400 bars and restaurants in New York and California with nonalcoholic spirit alternatives.

Related Articles

“The modern consumer cares about ingredients, they care about things in their chocolate, like palm oil, and they care about whether the products that they’re putting in their body have forever chemicals in them,” he continues. “One of the biggest areas of focus we’ve seen in our customers is that they can turn around a bottle, see it has 60 percent fewer calories than regular wine, see the ingredients and see where it comes from. Those are big reasons to buy or not buy.”

Bodkins posits that what keeps consumers drinking isn’t even the buzz, it’s the circumstances. “When we go to a bar or a restaurant, we are inherently having a tacit acknowledgment with the bartender across the bar: what you’re pouring for me costs about $3, and I’m going to pay $20 for it because of the music, because of the bar and because I’m with friends,” he says. “We are having an experience together, and to your point, the drink is the ritual — it’s not about what’s in the drink.”

To that end, Boisson’s assortment ranges from the nootropic and adaptogenic to the flavorfully complex. Pointing to beverage brand Ghia, Bodkins says, “What they were looking to build was a unique flavor profile that was its own thing. It isn’t just an analogue for Campari or Aperol, it’s just very complex, very nuanced ingredients that make for a great cocktail.”

Here, the market’s buzzy new entrants — no buzz required.

Photo courtesy of Little Saints/Gabi Porter

Little Saints St. Mezcal, $49.99

Little Saints’ spirit drew inspiration from the smoky earthiness of mezcal, relying on a sugar-free blend of palo santo and adaptogen Lion’s Mane mushroom for a cognitive boost.

Ghia Sumac & Chili Le Spritz, $60 for 12

Ghia has spiked its signature fizzy aperitif with sumac and chili for a layered touch of heat.

Kin Euphorics Actual Sunshine, $39 for eight

This mimosa-inspired mocktail adds vitamins C, D and zinc to saffron, turmeric and collagen — plus a touch of caffeine — for a morning pick-me-up with immunity and mood-boosting benefits.

De Soi Purple Lune, $25 for four

Katy Perry-backed De Soi came to market with both canned and bottled varietals of aperitifs. This one couples tart cherry with ashwagandha to mitigate stress.

Figlia 001. Fiore Frizzante, $72 for 12

The carbonated answer to Figlia’s Fiore spirit, this canned equivalent includes juices of lemon, ginger, white grape and rosemary in addition to ginseng root and chamomile extract.