I Spent the Summer Trying Non-Alcoholic Drinks. Here Are My Reviews.
My reviews of some popular non-alcoholic beverages are finally in.
If you haven’t been following along, it all started sometime this summer, when we noticed that non-alcoholic beverage brands were suddenly everywhere. Well, I hadn’t actually noticed yet, but all it took was one message in the Blogifam group chat for the algorithm to flood me with the most aesthetic ads I think I’ve ever seen. The marketing is GOOD.
First I wanted to know why the non-alcoholic market was suddenly booming. Are we on a health kick? Is this yet another effect of COVID? So I did a little research (read: I watched A LOT of TikToks) and interviewed someone who embarked and continued on her own sober curiosity journey this year.
As I was writing that article, I started sampling some of the brands I kept seeing on TikTok and IG. It felt neverending – not in a bad way, there are just SO MANY and I had no idea.
And that brings me to my first point – This is in no way an extensive list of all the brands out there, and I’ll probably continue to explore. So if you don’t see your favorite bevvie on this list, let me know in the comments!
Here are the non-alcoholic drinks I tried, and my honest opinions.
1. Vybes CBD Drinks
I have to be honest. I didn’t understand the “point” of non-alcoholic drinks at first. My first thought was, “why not just drink a kombucha or Sprite or something?”
I get it now.
Vybes was the first beverage I tried that contains CBD. These specifically contain CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD that doesn’t contain THC. In other words, this won’t get you high. It may help with stress, anxiety, and concentration though. Research is still pretty fresh to say for sure.
My experience? I definitely felt like it took the “edge” off. And there WAS an edge that day (and pretty much every day for me, while I’m being honest). It wasn’t life-changing and there’s a chance it was a placebo effect, but I’d still drink these even if I felt “nothing,” because the flavors are so good.
My sample box had:
Watermelon Lime (hands down my favorite)
Blood Orange Lime (2nd favorite – maybe I’m just really into lime?)
I didn’t hate any of the flavors, and I’m still thinking about the Watermelon Lime. The only issue is the price point – these run around $6-7 per bottle. I’d buy them again, but I probably won’t keep my fridge stocked with these, no matter how aesthetically pleasing it sounds.
2. Kin Euphorics
Founded by Bella Hadid and Jen Batchelor, Kin Euphorics seems to be one of the most well-known alcohol alternative brands. Kin is described as a “daily brain care ritual” designed to “set your mind free.” The intention is to replace the social ritual of drinking with self-care.
Are we seeing a trend here? We still want to feel GOOD, but without the icky consequences of alcohol, like hangovers that take us out for days on end and alcohol-induced anxiety.
Kin uses nootropics and adaptogens get you there. “Nootropics” is just an umbrella term for something you ingest to improve your mental performance. Coffee and CBD are examples of a couple you’re likely familiar with.
Adaptogens are natural substances (usually mushrooms and plants) that help your body “adapt” to stress. So instead of spiraling, you’ll find it easier to regulate. If you’re wondering – no, these don’t get you high either
I tried Kin Spritz, which is meant to provide “social energy.” It contains caffeine (50mg), and a proprietary blend consisting of:
GABA – Neurotransmitter that “slows down” your brain. We need more research to say for sure if this is effective as a supplement
5-HTP – Amino acid used to produce serotonin
Citicoline – Also known as CDP-choline, taken as a supplement to improve brain function
L-Theanine – Amino acid found in tea that reduces stress and anxiety
L-Tyrosine – Amino acid needed to produce neurotransmitters for stress and sleep.
Rhodiola Rosea – Herb used to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
I liked the taste! It was somewhere between a sparkling water and an energy drink. I like that it doesn’t contain stevia – I just don’t love the taste.
I drank this before I sat down to work, and I definitely felt focused and like I’d just had a cup of coffee. Not jittery, just refreshed.
I also tried Lightwave, which helps “mellow your mind.” This one is caffeine-free! It contains reishi mushrooms, L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, and magnesium glycinate.
I tried this one in the evening because I was afraid it would make me sleepy. I didn’t notice much change really – maybe because I was already winding down for the night?Plus I don’t have any issues with relaxing and falling asleep at night, but if you do, maybe this could help!
Lyre’s was the first non-alcoholic beverage brand I tried. I opted to to try the canned beverages, which are meant to mimic spritz-type cocktail. Sounds delish, right?
Sadly, I didn’t love them. They were much sweeter than Kin and the taste really reminded me of an energy drink. However, these don’t contain any kind of adaptogen or nootropic. So if you’re looking to avoid those ingredients, this may be worth a shot! For me, it brought up the question I had in the very beginning: Why not just drink a Sprite?
I’m not writing Lyre’s off completely though! They have a TON of other products that seem more “for me,” especially after trying some other types of non-alcoholic brands after I sampled these. For example, I have my eye on the coffee liqueur
This tasted like a sparkling water to me. I’m not a huge sparkling water fan (sorry La Croix fans), so I was a little disappointed when I tried this. AND THEN I used Recess in another mocktail recipe on this journey. You’ll see which one in a few scrolls
So the pretty drinks with adaptogens, nootropics and CBD to help us focus and calm us the F down make sense. But my mind was actually *blown* when I learned that zero-proof liquor exists.
Non-alcoholic…spirits? Like tequila?
YES. And more. When I reached out to Ritual Zero Proof to learn about this, not only did they offer an interview with their founder, Marcus Sakey, but they sent me all four of their zero-proof spirits to try: Whiskey, tequila, gin, and rum.
…and that’s when I became a mixologist overnight. Not even kidding, I RAN to Amazon and purchased giant ice cube trays and pretty glasses. I skipped the cocktail shaker for now.
Before even taking a single sip of these non-alcoholic spirits, I rated the experience a 10/10.
Ritual Tequila Alternative
I decided to make a paloma with the zero-proof tequila. I used a variation of the recipe from their website:
– 2 oz Ritual Tequila Alternative
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
– 2 oz sparkling water (I actually used Recess Blood Orange here!)
– Tajín for the rim of the glass
I’ll for sure be making this again. It was refreshing, and the tequila alternative gave the drink some depth without the “alcohol” taste. It somehow still gave me a warm feeling like alcohol does.
I tried this one straight out of the bottle. Don’t ask me why. I hadn’t tried any of the non-alcoholic spirits yet, so I guess I was just feeling impatient.
Big mistake. Huge.
I’m not saying regular whiskey smells GOOD, but somehow the smell of this almost knocked me out, even without alcohol. The taste was not for me. It’s too smokey, and potent in every way. I’ll give it another chance one day in a cocktail.
I used this to make The Bees Knees, a recipe I found on the Ritual website.
2 oz Gin Alternative
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey simple syrup
I improvised my own honey simple syrup and then topped this with sparkling water. This was another winner that I would definitely drink again.
Like the paloma, it gave me the familiar warm feeling of an actual cocktail. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever had regular gin in my life, so I can’t speak to how similar this tastes to the real thing.
I kept this one simple and mixed together a quick mojito, which is just Rum Alternative, soda water, mint, and lime juice. This one was good too. Looking back, a piña colada would have been the move for this one. I’ll try that soon.
Overall, I loved the Ritual products. I didn’t understand them until I actually experienced how they take a mocktail from tasting like juice to something that truly reminds me of a cocktail. The drink recipes on their website are endless too.
On its own, Monday zero proof whiskey smelled MUCH better than Ritual. It’s actually what made me realize that trying these straight was probably a mistake. I had saved this one for last because I was afraid of what I might have to drink… which makes my experience with this one even better.
Monday actually sent me a cocktail kit, including the zero proof whiskey, a few mixers, and a recipe card with mocktail inspo (this would make a beautiful gift, btw!). I followed the recipe on the card to make a Whiskey Mule – if you’ve never made one (me too, before this experiment), it’s just whiskey, ginger beer, and lime.
My rating? 10/10.
I could sip on this daily.
7. Athletic Brewing
I’m not a beer drinker so I recruited one of my husband’s friends who IS to help me out with this one. We tried Upside Dawn from Athletic Brewing, which I understand is their version of a golden ale.
His review was literally two thumbs up emojis (), which may not sound like a big deal, but just trust me when I say it is. He’s a tough critic when it comes to food and drinks.
I did try it myself of course, and it tasted like beer. That’s really all I can say since I’m not a beer drinker, but I guess that’s a good thing? I didn’t hate the flavor and I found myself sipping on it without forcing it (not something I can say about most beer ).
Did this review make any sense? YES you should try Athletic Brewing.
8. HOP WTR
Another fun non-alcoholic beer alternative!
I’d describe HOP WTR as a cross between light beer and sparkling water. Maybe that sounds gross? I promise it’s not. I liked the different flavors, but they were faint.
This contains actual hops (again a very faint flavor), plus L-Theanine and ashwagandha to boost brain function and stress management.
Basically if you’re someone who likes beer because it’s easy to sip on, this is a good option that won’t get you drunk but WILL hydrate you and maybe help you chill out a little.
Where is the WINE?!
Did I drop the ball here?! UGH maybe. After reading reviews and speaking with people for their input, the consensus is that finding a good non-alcoholic wine is difficult. They either taste like sparkling grapefruit juice like we drank on NYE when we were 12, or they’re just…not good.
Decision paralysis got me here. I should still try some, right? If you have a fave, LMK in the comments.