So, you’re interested in learning more about how to make non-alcoholic drinks. You’re not alone. Sober curious is a cutesy, marketing-friendly term that gets thrown around a lot these days, especially during Dry January, but the numbers don’t lie: Americans really are drinking less. A recent Gallup report found that not only are fewer adults drinking alcohol, but those who do are consuming less or considering alternative options, with sales of non-alcoholic drinks increasing 33% to $331 million in 2021.
That’s expected to only increase in the months ahead. According to Pinterest, searches for “fancy non alcoholic drinks” and “mocktail bar” have increased by 220% and 75% respectively. To answer the demand, retailers across the country have been stocking more non-alcoholic beer and wine offerings while restaurants and bars have increased the number of mocktail and low-ABV options on their menus.
The reasons why everyone’s suddenly so sober curious vary and are hard to pin down. You could blame Gen Z for consistently mocking millennials’ love of margaritas and wine or celebrities for touting the “California sober” lifestyle (that is, skipping alcohol but still enjoying weed and/or mushrooms). As more states legalize weed, it’s possible marijuana is simply the more popular vice.
But then again, Gallup found that three in four US adults say alcohol use has a negative effect on society so maybe everyone’s just more health conscious. “Drinking alcohol can be really hard on your body,” says Serena Poon, a certified nutritionist and celebrity chef. “Studies have shown it can lead to inflammation, destruction of the gut microbiome, liver, and heart, neurological problems, and even cancer. So I try to keep my alcohol intake to a minimum and substitute with delicious mocktails whenever possible.”
Not ones to miss out on a trend, we asked mixologists, nutritionists, and beverage directors at some of the country’’s best bars for their suggestions on fancy non-alcoholic drinks you can try tonight.