Although it’s gotten its fair share of backlash, Dry January continues to gain traction, luring millions of participants each year. In fact, a recent poll by Morning Consult found that 13 percent of the 2,200 U.S. adult respondents reported they were participating in Dry January this year, an increase from previous years—despite all the reasons 2020 gave us to get sloshed.
A month of sobriety can help you kick off the New Year on a clearer, more refreshed note. But the main motivator for most is the slew of health benefits: According to a British Medical Journal study, a break from imbibing can lower blood pressure, reduce diabetes risk, and lower cholesterol, among other things. Going booze-free can also lead to better sleep, more energy, and even weight loss. Plus, you’ll probably save cash by not shelling out on craft cocktails.
There’s no right or wrong way to ease into Dry January. Some people go cold turkey, while others tiptoe in with more of a “damp” transition. But loyal participants claim a foolproof method is finding a few trusty, zero-proof stand-ins that you can turn to. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of excellent non-alcoholic drinks on the market.
Gone are the days of cheap tequila-induced hangovers. This golden-hued replacement expertly balances flavors of traditional agave, charred oak, and Mexican lime. With a pinch of heat and sprinkle of cracked sea salt, it shines in a booze-free margarita. Even more impressive, it’s the highest-ranking non-alcoholic spirit in the world, with a 94-point score from the Beverage Testing Institute.
Looking to raise a glass in celebration without breaking Dry January? Then get your hands on this bottle from Thompson & Scott. It’s certified organic, vegan, and halal, and has almost half the sugar of its competitors. Using grapes from southern Spain, the winemaking process takes place in stainless steel vats and removes the alcohol via vacuum distillation. It’s bright, crisp, and subtly sweet.
Small-batched in California, Monday is a tasty but complex spirit that contains no alcohol, sugar, or carbs. A delightful combination of juniper, coriander, and cucumber, it provides a familiar base to recreate your favorite gin cocktail. Try mixing it with tonic, muddled basil, and an orange wheel for a revitalizing treat.
Curious Elixirs has built a reputation for crafting some delicious alcohol-free bottled cocktails, but this particular expression is arguably the best. Made with ashwagandha (an herb often used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve energy and reduce stress), Curious No. 3 boasts a light floral palate with hints of fresh cucumber and lemon. Already mixed, you can enjoy it neat or over one large cube.
There’s a reason why Kin Spritz has built a cult-like following since its debut in 2019. The ready-to-drink “euphoric” delivers some of the benefits of booze (like boosted relaxation and socialization) but without the next-day consequences. With a proprietary balance of adaptogens, nootropics, and botanicals, it delivers an invigorating burst of hibiscus, ginger, and spice. Kin Spritz is currently available in 4-packs of 8-ounce cans (but note that you shouldn’t drink more than four servings in 24 hours).
When you find yourself craving the spicy-sweet bitterness of Campari, just order a pack of San Pellegrino Sanbitter. Sip the bright red soda on the rocks for a refreshing, herbaceous pick-me-up, or mix it with some sparkling water and lemon for the perfect afternoon DIY spritz.
This distilled, non-alcohol spirit is perfect for the bourbon-lover in your life. With notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, it’s a solid substitute when recreating an old fashioned, whiskey sour, or Kentucky mule during Dry January — and the bottle will look great on your bar cart all year long.
If you’re turning to Dry January for health reasons, consider incorporating kombucha into your routine. The ancient beverage traces back to 221 B.C. and can help improve your gut health while boosting digestive enzymes, vitamin levels, and antioxidant properties in foods. Brewed with sencha green tea, this tropical treat from Brew Dr. tastes like you’re sipping on sunshine thanks to the addition of mango, passionfruit, strawberry, Peruvian ginger, and a touch of cane sugar.
Sometimes, you just need to crack open a cold one. When the urge strikes, reach for this popular favorite from Heineken. After being double-brewed, the alcohol content is removed, and the lager is blended with natural flavors. With its signature fruity notes and soft, malty body, you might not even be able to distinguish the non-alcoholic version from the original. Grab a 6-pack and give it a shot.
This effervescent, non-alcoholic apéritif is exactly what it sounds like: seltzer with a hefty dash of bitters. But it’s surprisingly complex for such a simple recipe. This dry, woodsy canned concoction highlights clove, allspice, orange peel, and bitter Gentian root (sourced from the South of France). Don’t miss the line’s other delectable flavors, like ginger and turmeric, grapefruit, and lemon lime.
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