A recent study by NielsenIQ notes that 82% of consumers who purchase non-alcoholic products — zero-proof gins, alcohol-removed chardonnay, and the like — also purchase regular-proof wine, beer, and spirits.
So if you’re someone who likes to toe the line between drinking and not, it might make sense to pick a product that also lives in both worlds. Luckily, there’s a bounty of dedicated new mixers that pair beautifully with or without booze.
For the Caffeine Fiend: Daysie
This wee, woman-owned brand is behind a full line of consciously-made simple syrups, perfect for adding into your morning coffee or your evening espresso martini. It started when Charleston local Tara Pate fell in love with her local flavored coffee, but had no luck trying to buy the ingredients for home. So she set out to make her own.
The first three flavors include Madagascar vanilla, coconut almond, and salted caramel. All are made without the use of preservatives and with all natural-ingredients. The Madagascar vanilla is especially versatile — a tiny bit is excellent in an Old Fashioned, a splash adds vanilla undertones to a latte, or drizzle a bit over a slice of apple pie. All bottles have a shelf life of two years (homemade simple syrup usually lasts a week or two), so treat them as you would your favorite condiments and add a dash when needed.
For the (Home) Bar Fly: WithCo
While it will never replace the warmth of your favorite local bar, WithCo specializes in bottled, bar-quality cocktails to pour at homes, at parties, or wherever else you need a great drink (and don’t have your favorite bartender handy). Simply pour out an ounce or two, add your spirit (or non-spirit) of choice, shake or stir (don’t worry, each bottle is emblazoned with instructions), then sip away.
Flavors range from classic cocktails – an Agave Margarita, an Old Fashioned, and a Bloody Mary — to more inventive options, like the Bouquet (floral and bright, with lavender, rosewater, cane sugar, and lemon) or the Sweater Weather (warming and wintery, with honey, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, rosemary, bay leaf, and cayenne).
The best part is all their bottles are moldable to your mood. Feel like drinking? Each bottle suggests the perfect pairing. Feel like abstaining? It offers alternatives. For example, the Bouquet is excellent with vodka, gin, tequila or Champagne, though it’s just as lovely with soda water. The margarita can call for tequila or mezcal, or a dose of sparkling water will have the same effect. Each bottle stays fresh for a minimum of four weeks in the fridge and can serve around ten cocktails per bottle.
Hella Cocktail Co offers three different streams of stellar mixers. The first is handcrafted bitters, in flavors like chili, orange, aromatic, ginger, and Mexican chocolate. Then, there’s breezy cans of bitters & sodas: non-alcoholic sodas that pack a full punch of flavor. Flavors like lemon-lime, grapefruit, ginger-turmeric, and aromatic spritz are delicious on their own — all naturally bitter and balanced — but it wouldn’t hurt to add an ounce or two of your favorite spirit.
Then, there are dedicated mixers: full-size bottles of naturally-made mixers in classic recipes like Moscow Mule, Bloody Mary, Habanero Margarita, and Old Fashioned. Keep the bottle in your fridge and pour a few ounces over ice and your favorite tequila. What you get is a surprisingly excellent Margarita (or Bloody Mary, or Old Fashioned) with minimal effort on your part—no shaking required.
Beyond the bottles and cans, Hella Cocktail Co has been firm about advocating for diversity in spirits, with co-founder Jomaree Pinkard continuously making space for new business owners at the table and advocating for diversity in larger companies.