This year we’ve had non-alcoholic options start to make appearances at festivals(!?), we’ve seen supermarkets race to announce their new and improved non-alcoholic selections and we’ve even watched in disbelief as some of our favourite Real Housewives opted for a mocktail onscreen. I’m truly loving it, but it’s honestly a little surreal to watch what was once considered niche veer towards the mainstream – and show no signs of slowing!
But long before we were spoilt for choice with non-alcoholic spirits and 0% beers, many of us had one stand-out best friend during any social occasion: the trusty soft drink. Truthfully, for the most part it was a love-hate relationship; as much as it was a relief to have something to hold mid small talk, most options were frustratingly sugary and often quite dull.
Thankfully though, the drinks industry as a whole has been levelling up, and along with an explosion of new non-alcoholic brands, soft drinks have had their very own glow up. In recent years, with focus shifting to ‘adult’ soft drinks, we’ve been blessed with brands keen to provide complexity, entertainment, functionality and some super aesthetic branding!
So in honour of every sober girl’s first love, and for the times your inner mixologist needs a little break, here are some of our favourite adult soft drinks - ones you can sip on their own through the evening, but which also work as amazing mixers for a simple combo with your favourite non-alcoholic spirits.
Pairing simple ingredients native to a cottage garden, these drinks are near enough summer in a can. Made “using ingredients often considered a nuisance”, they are lightly sparkling, packed with natural flavours and contain no artificial sweeteners. The range brings entertaining herbal twists to the adult soft drinks world, as well as some unique flavour combinations like ‘nettle and elderflower’…making it pretty hard to pick a favourite of the five flavours
One of the OGs of the adult soft drinks category, Shrb were amongst the first to bring us genuinely complex and exciting flavours with their range of ACV based, lightly sparkling drinks. “Inspired by Prohibition-era recipes”and shrub making techniques, these drinks pair brilliantly whimsical flavours with an alcohol-like kick from apple cider vinegar. If you enjoy the sharpness of kombucha, consider these a major upgrade.
With three easy, refreshing flavours infused with natural adaptogens - TRIP’s CBD infused range is the perfect introduction for those curious to explore apoptogenic drinks for the first time. Designed “to help you unwind”,each can contains 15MG of premium CBD and promises no added sugar. And just in case you needed further convincing, the millennial-friendly branding couples pastel hues with sleek typeface and has been noted as ‘chic’ by Vogue.
Love a functional drink? Punchy incorporates a splash of vitamin D across their range of summery flavours, so you can “catch the sun all year round”.A quick look at the flavours tells you exactly why they’ve called their range ‘sophisticated’ with unique flavour pairings like blood orange and cardamom, and yuzu and rosemary. Another brand to lean into millennial friendly pastels and feel-good illustrations, Punchy truly promises liquid sunshine no matter the weather.
If you’re looking to skip the sugar altogether Dash makes the perfect soft drink option. Infusing lightly sparkling British spring water with wonky fruit for natural flavouring, Dash have created soft drinks which have zero flavourings or calories all whilst reducing food waste by “accepting misfits”when it comes to fruit
Written By Mariam Mahmud
Mariam is the founder of Maya’s - London’s first non-alcoholic cocktail bar. The success of the concept and the popularity of their sell out cocktails has quickly seen her recognised as a trailblazer in the drinks and hospitality industries. You’ll find the latest from Maya’s on instagram @mayasbarlondon and on mayasbarlondon.com