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Sophisticated & delicious non-alcoholic beverages? [moved from General Topics]

I love wine but there are times I just want something non-alcoholic. I usually have Aqualibra... herbal lightly carbonated, available at my health food store & some high end gourmet shops. Are there any other really good non-alcoholic drinks?

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  1. What I've been enjoying this summer is Fresca on ice with a twist of lemon zest and a splash of pomegranate juice.

    1. I don't know if it's sophisticated, but I drink fruit juice with seltzer. My preferred blends are pomegranate or grapefruit with seltzer. It's refreshing on hot days, not too sweet, can be made fancier with additional fruit or cordials.

      For company who don't drink alcohol I usually get sparkling grape or sparkling apple juice.

      1. There are number of Italian 'sodas' that I like- in particular San Pelegrino's Sanbitter, which is similar to a non-alcoholic Campari and soda but perhaps a little sweeter, and their Chinotto, same concept but akin to an amaro. You can get them at Italian markets and delis.

        1. Turkish sour cherry juice.

          I too like chinotto.

          Ting Jamaican grapefruit soda.

          1. Minty Lime Coolers, from the Border Grill -

            1/2 cup lime juice, a big handful of mint, 1/3 cup superfine sugar in a blender for a long time - 3 or 4 minutes. Put ice cubes in 2 tall glasses, put half the puree in each, then add sparkling water (about 6 oz per). Tasty and refreshing.

            1. To narrow the subject a bit, as a mostly-teetotaler who mostly avoids bars, what is a sophisticated "virgin" bar drink one can order when enjoying the company of one's not-so-teetotaling friends? Sprite gets old after awhile.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Low Country Jon

                I hadn't thought about it before, but a virgin mojito might be a good idea. Maybe they could call it an "Elian Gonzalez."


                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  I went to a Pain Quotidien the other day and they had mint lemonade which was pretty much a virgin mojito.

                2. re: Low Country Jon

                  A large bottle of sparkling water is always a good choice.

                3. Tonic with a splash of cranberry and a squeeze of lime.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chris VR

                    I like tonic and lime, or club soda with a dash of rose water.

                    Blenheim's hot ginger ale with a lemon twist is very good.

                  2. Simply Limeade made by the Simply Orange Juice company. The ingredients are water, lime juice, and sugar. It has a very nice lime zest flavor and is both elegant and refreshing.

                    Dr. Brown's Cel-Rey soda. The celery taste is different, when I was a kid I thought it had a sort of "grown-up" taste.

                    Mint, or if available Chocolate Mint, muddled with a tiny bit of sugar in a tall glass, fill it with ice cubes (this helps hold the herbs down at the bottom of the glass) and topped with seltzer and stirred very gently. You can also do this with many other herbs and spices such as basil, cilantro, cardomom, cinamon, nutmeg, rosemary, etc. Last summer I played around with quite a few recipes for custom sodas for restaurants and came up with some very interesting and pleasant soft drinks.

                    1. Navarro Vineyards makes some lovely non-alcoholic grape juices:


                      My favorite non-alcoholic beverage, though, is a really good lemonade, but that's too obvious, yes?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MollyGee

                        Some middle eastern places make a nice lemonade with rosewater.

                        1. re: MollyGee

                          Thank you, thank you and thank you for your link to Navarro! I'd had a glass of their delicious grape juice at a wonderful restaurant years ago in Napa, but neglected to get the source. Every time a friend goes to CA, I ask them to find me this wonderful juice, and they keep bringing me non-alcoholic wine - yech!

                          1. re: chowmeow

                            You're welcome! It is, indeed, splendid.

                        2. Tea. Can be complex and as balanced as wines, and when properly paired, great with food.

                          1. You gotta get "Izze"'s. Fruit juice with carbonated water. Several flavors: I go for the pomegranate. Mixes well, not sweet, available at Cost Plus or Target,

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chilipalmer

                              I quite like these-- not too sweet and better than the similiarly named fizzie lizze

                            2. I find most virgin drinks are sweet and 'sophisticated' enough to enjoy at a party or dinner. Take, for example, virgin Shirley Temples, strawberry daquiries, and even apple or pomegranate martinis.

                              1. Check out SweetwaterCellars.com for a great variety of non-alcoholic gourmet grape juices, domestic apple ciders, and English apple juices. It was created by my wife and I because we were tired of the lack-luster store brands!

                                1. Things you can order at the bar...

                                  Virgin Mary (Spiced tomato juice)

                                  Safe Sex on the Beach (Cranberry Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Peach Nectar... Condom Optional.)

                                  Coco Colada (Pineapple Juice and Coconut Milk)

                                  ... And some interesting non-alchoholic drinks you probably can't find at the bar, but can order and stock at home:

                                  GUS (Grown Up Soda http://drinkgus.com/


                                  Monastic Marvels Herbal Beverages (Non alchoholic drinks that drink like herbal liquours... http://www.monasticmarvels.com/ )

                                  1. Those fancy TJ's sparking Lemonade/Limonade make the best Non-Alcholic Mixers. With pomegrante juice, with blueberry juice, with Green tea... just about anything! :)

                                    1. None of these all that sophisticated, but have at...

                                      Diet Coke with Rose's Lime Juice (near and dear to my childhood)

                                      Berry Blitz
                                      1 cup berries
                                      1 cup soda water
                                      2 tbsp honey
                                      1 tsp lemon or lime juice (I prefer lime)
                                      Blended up.

                                      Fruit Cocktail
                                      1 oz orange juice
                                      1 oz grapefruit juice
                                      1 oz passion-fruit juice
                                      1 oz mango juice
                                      1 oz pineapple juice
                                      1/4 oz lime juice
                                      1/2 oz kiwi syrup

                                      Virgin Bellini
                                      2 oz peach juice
                                      1 tsp grenadine syrup
                                      2 oz soda water

                                      1. In a bar when I don't feel like alcohol I'll have a club soda with a touch of coke and lime...refreshing and if served in a rocks glass I can 'blend in' if need be...

                                        1. Depending on the bar/restaurant, it's also worth asking if they make any non-alcoholic specialty drinks- I did that when dining out while pregnant when I was in the mood for something "festive" to drink. At Michael Mina here in SF, they made me the most delicious drink with ginger soda and various juices.

                                          1. One thing I've found this summer that's been lovely and refreshing is Nectar de Rhubarbe (it's sparkling) from Gerard Maeyaert, in France (not sure if I'm spelling it correctly). It's really light and I guess you'd say it's semi-sweet. It's a lovely pink color and the bottle is corked like sparkling wine.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: LNG212

                                              That sounds lovely - where did you find it (I think you are in NYC as I am)?

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I *think* I saw this at the Marché Madison on 75th Street. Also maybe try Eli's...

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  I found it at Fairway (on those shelves that are right near the express checkout line).

                                              2. I like to mix 1/2 pomegranate juice and 1/2 sparkling water. For the same result and even less labor, I also buy Izze bottled drinks which have only two ingredients, fruit juice and sparkling water.

                                                1. There is a great beverage called Twelve. Its sold at Whole Foods ( NY) and Wegmans ( NJ) and probably on-line. Its preety unique and "adult".

                                                    1. re: antennastoheaven

                                                      Me too at least if your talking about the Juniper one. The lavender isn't half bad either.

                                                    2. Here in the Bay Area, Martinelli's sparkling cider , the champagne of apple juices, is a standard choice at family gatherings and other parties.


                                                      1. I just got back from a two week trip to Northern India and our drink of choice was fresh lime soda-- fresh lime juice, a glass bottle of ice cold soda water and a small pitcher of simple syrup. (they also do a salty version I don't particularly like) Obviously at home you could use ice, but that's not a good plan in India most of the time. It's refreshing, not too sweet and easy to duplicate.

                                                        1. I'm a fan of black cherry seltzer with a twist of lime.

                                                          Orangina is still great on a hot Summer's day- the import version please.

                                                          To strike a a more plebeian note, Snqpple Peach is very good. But my all-time favorite along the fruit-and-tea line is sweet tea with apricot nectar and a touch of mint.