Alcohol-free Drinks for Late Summer, Early Autumn

20 September 2021

Some people do not want to drink alcohol but still want to enjoy a special drink at a celebration, party, or a night out with friends.

In the recent past in the United States, those people had limited choices. They could celebrate with overly-sweet, non-alcoholic wine or watery non-alcoholic beer.

Well, not anymore.

As more people decide to cut out alcohol, there are more choices of non-alcoholic drinks. Drink makers are creating beverages that are tastier, more interesting, and even healthy.

Interest in not drinking alcohol has been growing for years. Now there are more choices at restaurants and drinking place called bars. Some bars now even specialize in alcohol-free drinks.

The pandemic led some people to examine alcohol. For health or weight loss reasons, many people cut down or just stopped altogether. In the U.S, brothers Massimo and Louis Borrelli noted a growing interest for non-alcoholic drinks during the pandemic.

Europe, and Britain in particular, have been leaders of the high quality, non-alcoholic drinks market. Borrelli said that three years ago, there were only about 15 to 20 good non-alcoholic products available. Now, he says, there are over 200 with more coming.

Many non-alcoholic drink choices are displayed at a store called Boisson in New York City, August 2021. (AP Image / Katie Workman)
Many non-alcoholic drink choices are displayed at a store called Boisson in New York City, August 2021. (AP Image / Katie Workman)

So, back in October 2020, they created an online marketplace for non-alcoholic beverages. They called it No & Low.

Louis Borelli says there are three main kinds of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol products for sale at No & Low.

First, are products that re-create individual alcohols like rum and gin, but without the alcohol content.

Second, he said, are mocktails, mixed drinks that do not contain alcohol. Many mocktails include some of the flavors found in alcoholic drinks.

And third, Borrelli said, are drinks that are "all their own thing." They do not try to copy alcoholic drinks but instead offer a different drinking experience. He added that many of these products are often good for you.

Tips from an expert

On the website TheKitchn, food and drink writer Kelli Foster offers some tips, or advice, on how to make your own mocktails.

She suggests using fresh, seasonal items available in your area. With cooler autumn temperatures, use flavors like pear, apple, sage, and rosemary. In summery, warm temperatures, try peach, watermelon, mango, mint, and basil.

She says balancing flavors is critical to making a good drink. Some non-alcoholic drinks can be too sweet. So, she suggests adding sour and bitter flavors to balance out the sweet. For sour flavors she says to use fruits like citrus, cranberries, and tamarind. Different vinegars can also add sour flavor.

And do not forget spices that add heat. Cinnamon, star anise, and ginger can spice up your drink. You can even use peppercorns for extra heat and flavor. These warmer spices are especially nice for cooler summer or autumn nights.

Make the drinks look as pretty as alcoholic cocktails. Use a pretty glass. And add a garnish. This could be a flower, a piece of fruit, or an herb that rests on the glass.

A good garnish not only makes the drink prettier, but sometimes they tell you about the drink. A drink garnished with lemon or mint probably contains those flavors.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic drink for a celebration? Share it in the Comments Section.

Katie Workman reported this story for The Associated Press. Kelli Foster shared her tips on the website TheKitchn. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

beverage – n. a drinkable liquid

mocktail – n. a nonalcoholic cocktail : a "fake" cocktail : a usually iced drink made with any of various ingredients (such as juice, herbs, and soda water) but without alcohol a usually iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients mock + cocktail = mocktail

tip – n. a piece of useful or secret information

flavor – n. a particular type of taste

sour – adj. having an acid taste that is like the taste of a lemon

bitter – adj. having a strong and sometimes unpleasant flavor that is the opposite of sweet

spice – n. a substance (such as pepper or nutmeg) that is used in cooking to add flavor to food and that comes from a dried plant and is usually a powder or seed

garnish – n. something (such as small pieces of fruit, chopped herbs, etc.) that is put on food as a decoration