Illustration of temperance-theme tarot cards with non-alcoholic cocktails and bottles depicted
Cocktail & Other Recipes Cocktail Type Nonalcoholic

The Evolving World of Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks

Considering we spend more of our waking lives consuming non-alcoholic drinks than alcohol, it’s curious what an afterthought they’ve often been in the realm of bars, cocktails, and hospitality. Alcohol culture regularly evolves and embraces changes and trends, from disco drinks to the resurgence of classic cocktails or the era of molecular gastronomy. But the non-alcoholic drinks category has remained comparatively static.

However, in recent years, a sea change in our approach to health, bar culture, and desire to explore different ingredients has led to a new era of innovation in non-alcoholic beverages.

Temperance-themed tarot cards depicting a non-alcoholic Manhattan cocktail with halo and wings, and a bottle of N/A spirits / Laura Sant.

As editors of, we obviously celebrate alcoholic spirits. But we’ve always considered this publication to be a haven for good drinking, regardless of whether there’s an alcohol-by-volume listed on the bottle or cocktail. With that, we’re launching this new portal dedicated to the lighter side of spirits, wine, beer, and cocktails.

In the recent past, the only non-alcoholic options that could be found on most bar or restaurant menus were brand-name soft drinks and maybe a single, underwhelming non-alcoholic beer. And for those who did choose to order something sans alcohol, an unspoken social stigma often seemed to follow: What’s wrong with them, and why aren’t they drinking? Author, bartender, and former owner of The Passenger & Columbia Room, Derek Brown, explores the normalization of non-alcoholic drinks throughout the decades and what it means for the future of drinks culture.

As monthly challenges like Dry January and Sober October began to rise in prominence in the 2000s, non-alcoholic drinks still lived in the shadow of their alcoholic counterparts (often categorized under the divisive and somewhat derisive term “mocktail”). Fast forward to the present day, and it’s clear that the public’s demand for better no- and low-alcohol drinking options isn’t a fluke. Bartenders sought ingredients beyond juices and syrups, and beverage producers have risen to meet the challenge, ushering in an explosion of new, high-end alcohol-free options. Drinks writer Rich Manning reports on the current generation of non-alcoholic spirits, while Kara Newman explores how bartenders are using them to deconstruct and recreate classic cocktails like the Manhattan.

Illustration of temperance tarot card with non-alcoholic Negroni depicted / Laura Sant.

You’ll also find plenty of inspiration for using these new spirits (as well as DIY ingredients) at home. We’ve turned to industry pros like Lauren “LP” Paylor, Natasha David, Alex Jump, Ivy Mix, Miranda Breedlove, and Camille Wilson to share with us their favorite N/A creations, from a non-alcoholic Negroni to a Garden Collins and Tonic Rickey (and more).

We hope you’ll have the chance to click through the menu at the top of the page, read stories from industry veterans about the new era of mindful drinking, find some non-alcoholic bottle recommendations, and try out a recipe (or three). Above all, we aim to remind you that it’s not the alcohol level that makes a delicious drink, it’s everything that goes into creating one.