Something beautiful happens in the human brain when a person walks into a store with the purpose of buying a special little beverage, as a treat. I’m no doctor, but I can feel the serotonin and dopamine receptors in my brain absolutely having the time of their neurological lives when I spot a new and intriguing flavor profile, and decide that it’s coming home with me. It’s a small thrill I can make happen nearly anywhere, at any time — and you better believe I do it constantly.
I’ve made it a mission in life to try as many emerging beverage options as possible, so I consider myself a seasoned authority on what’s actually worth your money in the ever-expanding world of delicious little beverages. Plus, in a world where so much socializing revolves around drinking alcohol, it’s great to know that complex and intriguing libations that don’t induce hangovers are readily accessible. From fruity seltzers to caffeinated lemonades to adaptogenic elixirs and beyond, find the best non-alcoholic beverages to try out, below.
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I come from multiple generations of tea lovers, and I am pleased to report that Minna absolutely hits the spot. Combining the very best elements of sparkling water and brewed tea, Minna has added a sophisticated twist to the beverage canon. I love the light, crisp flavors — the Lime Hibiscus Rooibos is a must if you enjoy a tart burst — and the minimal caffeine with no added sugar means there’s no jittery crash.
If you’ve ever wished you could melt down cherry-flavored candy to slurp up, you’ve found your new favorite beverage. Poppi’s Cherry Limeade’s sweetness lends itself to nostalgic taste buds, except this time, it’s been updated for adult palates with alleged prebiotic gut health benefits and only five grams of sugar. It’s light enough to feel refreshing, and the cherry-lime combination is bold enough to tackle any sweet tooth.
Big Lemonade’s PR team needs to thank its lucky stars that Chamberlain Coffee and Swoon showed up to revitalize the beverage. The bright citrus of Swoon lemonade brings out the earthiness of Chamberlain Coffee’s Ceremonial A Grade Matcha, and the combination is as revitalizing as it gets. Plus, each can has 70 mg of caffeine to keep you focused without any freakouts.
The adaptogenic beverage industrial complex is only beginning, and Kin is leading the charge. The Bella Hadid-approved company (she’s counted as a co-founder) promises big wins like “inner peace,” but skeptics can remain assured of the most important thing: it actually tastes good. My favorite of Kin’s offerings is the floral and smoky Lightwave, which is infused with Reishi Mushroom, L-Theanine, and L-Tryptophan with notes of lavender-vanilla, smoked sea salt, and passionflower.
Drinking Ghia tastes like pure luxury. As the closest option to an actual cocktail on this list, the Ghia Apéritif is earthy and sensual. I reach for this when entertaining sober friends; think of it as Campari-lite. I highly suggest pairing it with Ghia’s Lime & Salt Le Spirtz and pouring it into the most gorgeous piece of glassware you own for the full effect.
So you’re not drinking alcohol but still want to feel a little something something? It’s time for a Cann. I simply cannot shut up about this beverage, the ultimate elixir for reformed party girls and chillers alike. With 2 MG of THC and 4 MG of CBD per serving, Cann offers the happy medium of relaxation and giddiness — without ever melting into the couch or waking up to a brutal hangover. The best part? Every single flavor is full-bodied and delicious.
In a perfect world, every gas station, grocery store, and overpriced deli in America would be stocked with Sanzo. Simply put, it’s a perfect seltzer: bright and smooth, fruity and fragrant. Using popular and traditional Asian fruits, Sanzo offers flavors typically overlooked in the seltzer market, filling a cultural and palate blindspot. I personally love the range; the Lychee flavor is floral but never cloying, and the Yuzu and Calamansi flavors are refrigerator staples for their tart, citrus notes.
Lavazza officially entered the ready-to-drink cold brew market, and in true la dolce vita fashion, each of its four flavors pay homage to a different region of Italy, from Capri to Tuscany, and beyond. Previously, I only reached for canned coffees in true sleep deprivation emergencies, but Lavazza’s offerings are robust, smooth, and rich in flavor.
With its ultra small-batch coffee bean drops, Blue Bottle’s Exceedingly Rare Coffee collection is essentially the Supreme of coffee. The latest edition, Colombia Mauricio Shattah Wush Wush, is one of the most striking coffees I’ve ever tasted; it’s unbelievably delicate and floral thanks to a touch of rosewater, with a sweet aftertaste consisting hints of blackberry jam and pink lemonade. Make this as a pour-over, forego the creamer, and thank me later.
CBD sparkling water was bound to happen, and Day One has managed to make it taste good. Each can is packed with 20 mg of CBD, which allegedly chills you out — although I didn’t feel much from one can beside the relief of hydration. The real draw is the zesty grapefruit flavor and refined carbonation.
As a freak for all things fermented, I knew I was going to be obsessed with De La Calle’s Tepache before I even tried it. The classic Mexican beverage — traditionally made from fermented pineapple rinds, piloncillo, and cinnamon — can now be enjoyed regardless of whether you have an abuelita with her own storied recipe. De La Calle’s flavors are masterfully balanced between tart, sweet, and spicy notes, like Mango Chili, Tamarind Citrus, Cactus Prickly Pear, and Chamoy; all bold, unique, and bound to be your new beverage obsession.