You're four days into the one-month alcohol-free challenge that's Dry January and perhaps you could use a drink. With the inception of some cool non-alcoholic drinks brands in recent years, zero booze doesn't have to mean zero buzz. You can enjoy a cab sav, an old-fashioned, and more sips you know and love sans guilt and day-after grogginess. Balance, detox, mental fortitude – whatever your reason for cutting out alcohol, ahead discover eight brands based in and around Los Angeles and California making alcohol-free spirits, wines, tonics, and more.
A liquid love letter to Los Angeles, Optimist Drinks' alcohol-free spirits are artfully distilled right here in DTLA. The brand, which was founded by husband-and-wife duo Tom and Lisa Farr Johnstone, carries three flavors inspired by the landscapes of L.A. in 100% recyclable bottles and packaging.
Optimist's Venice Beach-inspired Bright blend drinks like lemony vodka and tastes like citrus, sherbert, and salty sunshine. Its Topanga Canyon-inspired Fresh blend, which tastes like wild green herbs, licorice, and fresh canyon air, drinks like an abundantly botanical gin. Lastly, the Smokey, inspired by The High Desert, drinks like a smooth tequila and tastes of a bonfire, bitter-sweet floral, and spice.
At $35 a bottle, each Optimist blend was developed over a year and a half with a master distiller, chefs, food writers, and close friends using traditional distilling methods and modern botanical extractions.
2% of Optimist's sales fund access to mental wellness for underserved youth in L.A. through nonprofits like Safe Place for Youth. The brand also has a podcast called Optimist In Progress. Featuring Dr. Drea Letamendi, it provides simple, actionable inspiration to help listeners build resilience and be their most creative selves.
Right now, you can buy any two Optimist bottles and get free shipping on US orders.
Surely Wines, founded by CEO Ryan Hanson, is the first non-alcoholic wine brand. Low-sugar, gluten-free, and vegan, Surely wines are made from high-quality California grapes, offering the same sophisticated taste without the alcohol tradeoffs.
The brand's winemaking process starts with alcoholic wine that it delicately removes the alcohol from. Once the wine is de-alcoholized, Surely blends in small amounts of juice to elevate the aromatics and round out the palette. The end result is a beautifully balanced wine that's just 30 calories a glass.
Surely's Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Rosé, Sparkling White, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc wines are $24.99 a bottle; the Non-Alcoholic Cabernet Sauvignon, $29.99; and four-can packs (in Rosé, Lemon Ginger Spritz, Coconut Passion Fruit, and Brut), $29.99 each. It has a subscription option with delivery every two, four, or eight weeks for 10% less.
Bonbuz, an alcohol-free social spirit made with amino acids, adaptogens, and nootropics, is the brainchild of Fay Behbehani. After spending her youth drinking to escape, she did a little self-discovery and set out to understand and create the future of drinking.
Made in L.A. and sourced locally wherever possible, Bonbuz gives you that "stress-free heart flutter you had before adult-xiety took over," according to its site. To create a beverage for social occasions, Bonbuz found that combining natural and synthetic ingredients produced optimal effects.
Bonbuz adds natural stimulants to its blends including nootropics – compounds like 5-htp and natural caffeine from green tea that provide brain-boosting benefits, enhancing mental clarity, creativity, and motivation. Plus amino acids like l-tyrosine, which is used in every cell of your body to build the proteins needed for survival and sustained energy levels. Lastly, adaptogens, healing herbs like pyridoxine-hcl, a vitamin-b6. These work in tandem with rhodiola rosea, an adaptogen which when in a depleted state has the potential to revitalize mood.
Bonbuz spirits have a bold and bitter bite and a flavor palette of lemongrass, citrus, spice, and rosemary. Each provides a real sting without the ethanol. One full-priced bottle of Bonbuz goes for $39.95 and you can get yours delivered every other week, every month, or every two months. The line also sells a two-pack of its Ugly Delicious Bottles – those that didn't come out looking pretty but still taste great – for $55 with free shipping. Drink up, Bonbuz is offering 15% off sitewide right now with the code UFO.
Born and raised in San Diego by co-founder and CEO Chris Boyd, Monday carries Zero Alcohol Whiskey and Gin crafted in small batches from natural ingredients at its SoCal distillery.
Monday Gin is just like your favorite London-dry style spirit. It's a complex, aromatic blend of juniper, natural botanicals, citrus, and spices. Monday Whiskey matures in new white oak for notes of rich butterscotch, raisin, and burnt brown sugar plus a palate layered with roasted coffee, rich caramel, and warm molasses.
Both the brand's Whiskey ($45 for a one-time purchase) and Gin ($40 for a one-time purchase) have zero carbs, sugar, and calories. They're also vegan, gluten-free, and keto. The Dry January Whiskey Essentials Kit is down from $218 to $125 right now and its Variety Pack that includes a bottle of Whiskey and a bottle of Gin is going for $74 ($24 savings).
After leading Glossier's retail and offline experiences, Melanie Masarin created Ghia, a brand of social tonics inspired by Mediterranean aperitivo culture and made with pure, natural extracts. Its drinks, meant to bring out the best in you without numbing the night, are crafted with potent plants that naturally kick up the energy and relax the mind.
Ghia's magic ingredient: Potent extracts of natural nervines. These herbs are known to soothe the mind, bringing the body back from burnout. Ghia leaves out artificial flavors, added sugars, and caffeine.
One bottle of Ghia Apéritif is $33. The brand also offers a four-pack of its Le Spritz tonic ($18) available in two flavors, Soda (vegan) and Ginger.
When Julia and Alexander Littauer, a couple with a combined 20 years of experience in the wind industry, stepped away from their day jobs in Napa, their goal was to create a wine they and their friends would drink. Out of that desire came Sovi, their refreshing, non-alcoholic wine brand offering an alcohol-removed Sparkling Rosé (starting at $28 for a four-pack) and Red Blend (starting at $32 for a four-pack).
Sovi's Sparkling Rosé is a 100% Tempranillo dry style rosé that's bright and bubbly with notes of strawberries and salted watermelon. Its Be Bold Red Blend features several Spanish and French grape varieties.
Sovi partners directly with a multi-generational family-owned winery in Clarksburg, California that practices certified sustainable farming. Clarksburg is about 40 miles east of Napa on the Sacramento River Delta. The climate there is perfect for growing grapes with ripe flavors that maintain their naturally crisp acidity. Sovi works closely with the vineyard manager and winemaker to create rich and expressive wines then it removes the alcohol.
If you'd rather browse alcohol-free adult beverages IRL, head to Silver Lake's Soft Spirits on 3208 1/2 Sunset Blvd. The non-alcohol bottle shop founded by visual artist, spatial designer, and creative director Jillian Barkley is L.A.'s first and opened last October next to Dayglow Coffee.
The shop stocks a premium selection of non-alcoholic spirits, wines, and beers from brands including Ritual Zero Proof, Three Spirit, Proteau, Amass, WithCo, Seedlip Drinks, and more.
Cannabis more your thing? Cann is a social tonic micro-dosed with cannabis that gives you a light, uplifted buzz without a hangover and with fewer calories.
Founded by Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson, Cann tonics are made with all-natural ingredients and come in a few refreshing flavors at just 9-45 calories per can. Think tart and savory Cranberry Sage, smooth and slightly sweet Lemon Lavender, and complex and bright Grapefruit Rosemary.
Cann's six- and eight-packs range from $18-$20 or you can grab bigger bundles for $64-$192. Available to buy on Cann's site, on-demand via Eaze, and at select dispensaries in Cali.