Nothing says "vacation" like a cold drink in your hand on a sandy beach, but who wants to get sand in their cocktail shaker? Rather than haul multiple bottles along with your beach chair to mix up a non-alcoholic spritz, or run back to the Airbnb to make a margarita that will melt by the time you get back to your towel, opt for one of the many delicious, ready-to-drink non-alc options available in single serving cans and bottles.
Here are The Zero Proof's top picks for delicious, ready-right-now beach drinks you can throw in your cooler and go. Just pop the top and enjoy!
Highballs and Spritzes
The ultimate accessory if you're sunbathing on the Italian Riviera (or just wish you were). This expression is a perfect non-alcoholic aperitivo spritz. A slightly more grown-up flavor than a strict Aperol impression, thanks to a pleasantly bitter, fresh pomegranate note that conjures a balancing splash of Campari. I could drink a 4-pack of these in an afternoon.
Curious No. 4's multi-citrus blend of deliciously bitter green mandarin and grapefruit peel balanced by sweet tart blood orange makes No. 4 taste like fresh-squeezed Amalfi Coast sunshine. Earthy herbs and spices such as rhubarb root and turmeric add depth, while tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) contributes an unusual but charming candy note, which makes me nostalgic for Flintstones vitamins. To this juicy combo, Curious adds tulsi, used to reduce stress, turmeric to fight inflammation, and American Ginseng to provide a cooling effect, (as opposed to the warming effect of most Asian Ginsengs). This contemporary twist on the classic citrus spritz is literally a chill-out tonic for hot summer weather!
At The Zero Proof, we're huge fans of an alpine amaro spritz, but we prefer not to risk getting sand in our bottle of Harmony Alpine Digestif. Casamara Club has recently introduced canned versions of many of their "non-alcoholic leisure sodas," and Como offers a distinctly Alpine relief from the heat with fresh mint, sweet herbal wildflowers, and bitter orange zest that reminds you on a 90º day that you will wear a puffy coat again. Pro tip: pack a few reusable, shatterproof cups to mix it half and half with either of the white sparkling wines on this list for an easy, Italian style spritz.
While spritzes may be trendier and tropical drinks more "beachy", there is nothing more refreshing, in my opinion, than the crisp, bitter bite of a classic G&T. ISH adds a touch of sugar, a ton of quinine, and tight, tiny bubbles to the flavor of their impressively complex non-alcoholic gin, bursting with juniper, coriander, and kaffir lime leaf, for a non-alcoholic gin and tonic so elegant you won't believe it came out of a can.
Tropical and Fruity
Non-alcoholic margaritas used to be uninspired blends of citrus juices, or sugary mixes blended with ice that took zero consideration for how much tequila contributes to the flavor of a good margarita. Created by Ivy Mix, the award-winning bartender and author of Latin American Spirits (who definitely knows her agave based spirits), Flyers Tokyo Marg is the polar opposite of those sour, one note drinks. A subtly spicy yuzu margarita with bitter citron, Tokyo Marg doesn't disguise the taste of CBD, but uses its green and woodsy flavor like a reposado to balance the drink. A great mix of classic and contemporary flavors, with just enough spice to be warm on the palate without making you sweat(ier) in the heat.
The piña colada is a divisive cocktail- you either love it or hate it- but we can all agree you're probably not gonna mix one up on your beach towel. If you love a piña colada like we do, Leilo's Lite Coconut Pineapple Mango is a delicious, slightly bubbly tropical experience infused with kava, an active botanical grown on Pacific Islands and traditionally used for deep relaxation. And we do mean deep relaxation! Be aware that kava may chill you out enough to need a midday nap, so slather on the sunscreen before you crack one open to reduce the risk of sunburn. Also note that kava should not be used by people who are pregnant, breast feeding, or operating heavy machinery (like a car), and in rare circumstances can cause liver injury, particularly in combination with other medications. Speak to a healthcare provider before trying this one out, especially if you are on medication or other dietary supplements.
For another delicious riff on the coconut and pineapple based tropical cocktail, Curious No. 6 takes elements of both the Painkiller and piña colada and remixes them for a contemporary palette. Refreshing pineapple and lime are blended with just enough creamy coconut and oat milk for a sumptuous mouthfeel that is neither coconut water thin, nor Coco Lopez milkshake thick, but directly in the Goldilocks Zone: just right. While I wouldn't go so far as to call this sunblock on the rocks, there are skin protective and reparative ingredients included that also add to the drink's elegant flavor and texture: aloe adds a sultry slip to the texture while boosting collagen production, and the orange blossom aroma of neroli calms irritated and inflamed skin. Knock one back to stop sun damage from the inside out (but make sure to pair with SPF!).
Kin Euphorics' new ready-to-drink, Bloom, is a juicy burst of summer berries with active botanicals like schisandra, damiana, and L-theanine, and ashwagandha for their purported heart opening and anxiety reducing effects. Even if you don't feel anything from the adaptogens and nootropics, the combination of easy drinking rosé, fresh strawberries, and a grown-up touch of bitter grapefruit and gentian, is fun and flirty enough on its own.
Wine and Beer
If you'd rather have your rosé straight up, Eins Zwei Zero's alcohol-free sparkling rosé is a great pink bubbly that comes in cooler ready cans. The tart, sourdough nose yields to notes of raspberry, lemon, and sour cherry on the palate, and a crisp, dry finish. Just lovely.
I'm of the opinion that there are no occasions for which a champagne equivalent is inappropriate, and Lyre's Classico in cans is an ideal choice for the beach. Heavy on the tart green apple notes, with fresh peach and Bartlett pear, it's crisp and light while still being full flavored.