December is often a month of indulgence, so maybe it’s fitting—unless you’re in the alcohol industry—that it be followed by a temporary hiatus. Whether or not you participate, Dry January has become more than just a trend, and companies have adjusted, offering dealcoholized wine, liquor-free “cocktails,” and alcohol-free beer (although that one has been around for decades).
Making zero- or low-ABV products available through traditional supply chains means liquor stores and restaurants can offset some of their revenue dips during January. Stores around the metro have even carved out designated shelf space. George’s Liquor, Freeman’s Liquor Mart, Spirit Shop, and others have stocked up for post-holiday non-drinking days, with options in all the major categories.
Truthfully, some of the options genuinely are very good. They don’t taste exactly like what they’re replacing, but as frequent drinkers will tell you, having something to drink helps break the habit of boozing. Red wines especially suffer from impossible-to-solve issues like a lack of tannins, structure, and aroma. (Evaporating alcohol carries most of the aromatics from glass to nose.) The options below are available in good liquor stores like those mentioned above, and Barkeep Supply in Midtown carries a few.
Leitz is the pioneer in the process of dealcoholizing wine, and the German producer’s Ein Zwei Zero line is the best available. What’s even better is that it has two sparkling options: Riesling and rosé.
Lali is a new line of alcohol-free wines that demonstrate the potential of the sector. While the red suffers the same issues as other dealcoholized reds, the rosé and white are very tasty, and they come in cans, which makes them easy to store and transport.
Proxies is the most unique of the options. The company began by “reimagining vinegar,” and then turned its attention to alcohol-free wine. The result is beverages with a beautiful balance of acid, fruit, bitterness, etc., by blending ingredients like tea, bitters, juice, and spices.
New to Oklahoma this year and beautifully packaged, Abstinence (might as well call it what it is!) is a line of non-alcoholic spirits from South Africa. Corey Bauer, sales manager for Thirst Wine Merchants, said the company distributes four SKUs in Oklahoma: an Aperol-inspired aperitif and three takes on non-alcoholic gin, featuring flavor profiles built around citrus, spice, and rooibos.
Casamara Club has been in the state for a few years now, and Dry January is a good time to rediscover a love for these delicious sodas. The Detroit-based company begins with botanical blends similar to bitters and amari—so the sodas aren’t sweet, and in most cases do a great job of mimicking various spritzes or spirit-soda combinations.