Five years ago, if you asked a bartender for non-alcoholic gin they would have thrown you out of their bar. The entire concept of N/A spirits wasn’t just strange but nonsensical, like asking for dry water.
Today’s drinking landscape is something the Prohibitionists could have only dreamed about: People are choosing not to drink. According to a report by Snap Inc. and market-research firm GlobalWebIndex, only 15 percent of Gen Z say they drink alcohol weekly, and Dry January and Sober October are now common to the point of cliché. And when the market smells demand, in floods the supply: In the last few years, a kaleidoscopic array of balanced, complex and thoroughly adult alcohol-free beverages has emerged.
Through advances in de-alcoholization, breweries like Connecticut’s Athletic Brewing Company and wineries like Germany’s Raumland have shown, much to everyone’s shock, that N/A beers and wines can actually taste good. Australian brand Lyre’s is making zero-proof spirits with small doses of tannins, acids and even capsaicin, which so convincingly imitate the real thing that a boozeless cocktail may fool you. Casamara Club makes sparkling bitters-based sodas that are so dry and complex they redefine the notion of a “soft drink,” while burgeoning nootropic companies like Kin Euphorics use a relaxing blend of herbs and extracts to give you a buzz that can help you feel better in the morning, not worse.
So whether you’re “sober-curious,” taking a month off or just trying to fit in on TikTok, there’s never been a better time in human history to go dry. We’ll drink to that.