Dry January – the tradition of going sober for the first month of the year – started in 2013 and has since gone global. (If you don’t want to cut out alcohol completely, consider trying a lowered intake, referred to as “Damp January”). The zero-proof ready-to-drink (or ‘RTD’) market has been on the rise too, with nearly a billion dollars of growth projected for the next seven years. Whether your cocktail of choice is a margarita, negroni or classic G&T, there are bound to be non-alcoholic premixed versions out there – and we’ve done the homework to find you the best ones.
1. Gin & Tonic: Statera Spirits
Statera’s ‘spirits’ are hand-distilled in small batches in Quebec using a variety of natural botanicals, the most forward of which include juniper, cardamom, coriander, chamomile and lemongrass. If you want to customize the ratio, you can pick up a full bottle of the gin and some cans of their juniper-flavoured tonic water. (A percentage of the company’s profits go to the 1% for the Planet collective, which uses them to support various environmental causes, so you can feel good about stocking up.)
2. Bellini: Cipriani
Cipriani, the renowned Italian hotel and leisure brand, created their non-alcoholic bellinis so that the taste of Venetian luxury can be enjoyed worldwide. The bottled cocktails are made with 15% white peach purée from Southern Europe, mixed with a refreshing sparkling soda in place of Prosecco.
3. Negroni: St. Agrestis
The Negroni has been the “it” cocktail for a couple of years now, so it’s no surprise that St. Agrestis – a “Negroni obsessed” distiller from Brooklyn that produces a range of Negroni-related drinks, including a 20-cocktail fountain – has released a zero-proof one. The Phony Negroni has the cocktail’s trademark bitter taste, with juniper, citrus and floral notes as well as a light kick of carbonation to imitate alcohol’s bite.
4. Whisky Cola: HP Juniper
Jack and Coke is so 2023. HP Juniper’s ready-to-drink 0% version is made with a classic cola with notes of caramel and vanilla, spiked with the Quebec brand’s single-malt non-alcoholic whisky (the faux spirit is made with a smoky and peaty malt imported from Scotland, distilled without alcohol in copper stills).
5. Amaretto Sour: Atypique
This Quebec-made non-alcoholic Amaretto sour tastes as bright as its Barbiecore packaging, with a perfect balance of bitter citrus notes and sweet almond. The brand, Atypique, was launched during the pandemic by former Montreal Alouettes player Étienne Boulay and has recently rolled out country-wide.
6. Old Fashioned: Spiritless
7. Venetian Spritz: Aelo
Christos Kalaitzis, the BC-based founder of Aelo, was presented with the 2022 Young Entrepreneur Award by the local not-for-profit North Vancouver Chamber for his pioneering efforts in the Canadian zero-proof scene. The brand’s ready-to-drink Apertivo Spritz is a sugar-free blend of Seville oranges, grapefruit, rhubarb and aromatic bitters.
8. Dark and Stormy: Yes You Can
The Dark & Stormy, traditionally made with dark rum and ginger beer, gets an extra-spicy kick in Australia-based Yes You Can‘s alcohol-free version. The ginger-forward flavour has smoky undertones, cut through with a dash of lime.
9. Moscow Mule: Clever Mocktails
To create their Moscow Mule, Quebec-based Clever Mocktails uses the classic ginger beer with an alcohol-free botanical spirit that has notes of juniper berries, pink pepper, coriander seeds and ginger. Clever indeed.
10. Sangria: Grüvi
Grüvi’s non-alcoholic Spanish sangria took home a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2023, so you know it can compete with the best boozy options. This sangria has a fragrant, spicy aroma of cardamom and cinnamon with cooked fruits. It’s lightly bubbly with a touch of rhubarb, and you’ll taste hints of citrus and cherry at the end.
11. Espresso Martini: Monsieur Cocktail
If you’re missing your Nespresso-Belvedere martinis this month, don’t fret: Canada’s Monsieur Cocktail has an espresso martini in their non-alcoholic drinks line, Noa. The canned cocktail even frothes a bit like espresso would, and blends the flavours of coffee, cherry, maple syrup, toasted almond, macadamia nuts and vanilla.
12. Margarita: Olé Cocktail Co.
Agave doesn’t need alcohol to make a bold, perfectly-bittersweet cocktail. Canadian canned cocktail brand Olé makes a mocktail version of their alcoholic RTD margarita, also featuring lime juice, organic agave nectar and a hint of sea salt. In lieu of a last-minute trip to the agave fields of Oaxaca, these are a guaranteed escape from the winter blues.
13. Paloma: Parch
Parch’s agave-based cocktails come with a healthy twist – they’re infused with adaptogens like Ashwagandha and American Ginseng. The Prickly Paloma is a citrusy blend of organic blue weber agave with the flavours of grapefruit, orange, lime, jicama and hibiscus.
14. Daiquiri: Ish
The faux rum from Ish has the spirit’s classic dark, spicy flavour with none of the alcohol content – courtesy of the brand’s signature chili seed distillate. For their RTD daiquiri, it gets blended with sour lime and raw sugar.
15. Bee’s Knees: Wild Folk
With tasting notes of lemon, honey, clover, juniper and peppercorn – not to mention wild flowers like red clover, elderflower and dandelion – the Bee’s Knees from Alberta’s Wild Folk tastes like springtime in a can. A surefire cure for the winter blues.
16. Mimosa: Fauxmosa
Staying sober doesn’t mean sacrificing bottomless mimosas with brunch. Fauxmosa’s bubbly non-alcoholic mimosa is made with a harvest of California-grown Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, mixed with fresh orange juice, a hint of apple cider vinegar and turmeric.
17. Tom Collins: Edna’s
BC-based Edna’s Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Company was founded by a pair of British expats, who named the business in reference to the old Cockney slang term “Dame Edna Everage” (which rhymes with the word “beverage”). Their take on the Tom Collins is made with real gin extract, with refreshing notes of cucumber.
18. Mojito: Ab0ve
We were pretty excited when Ab0ve came on the scene last year, with good reason – Boom Beverage’s alcohol-free cocktails (they also make a G&T and whisky cola) all boast a low calorie count, reduced sugar and under 0.3% ABV (alcohol by volume). The refreshing mojito (or ‘m0jit0’) has the perfect balance of fresh, zesty lime and cool mint.
19. Cosmopolitan: Smug AF
Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with this Australian-made canned cosmo. The blend of non-alcoholic Cointreau, cranberry and lime is low-sugar, low-calorie and suitably pink.
20. Pina Colada: Barrfly
Barrfly’s take on the pina colada has only 60 calories a can, but all the flavours of the classic cocktail: coconut, pineapple, vanilla and rum. It’s made in Canada but will transport you straight to the Caribbean.