A lot of the available non-child, non-alcoholic beverages in the US are alcohol-free versions of boozy beverages.
Non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, and such.
I am ambivalent about most.
First, as a non-drinker, I don’t super want to be reminded of what I am missing in alcoholic beverages when I drink a non-alcoholic beverage.
With every non-alcoholic wine I’ve ever tried, about all I’ve ever thought is, “Wow, this is a suckier version of wine, without the alcohol. I’d rather drink grape juice.”
Likewise, with non-alcoholic beer, while some are actually pretty OK, the point of drinking non-alcoholic beer is sort of lost on me.
As my friend Camper English once said about the non-alcoholic beverages at a certain tiki bar, all the calories and none of the buzz.
I guess part of it is, imitations always fall short.
The best non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic beverages ever get is “OK”.
They’re never “great” beverages.
And to get back to my issues with a specific example, I like sparkling tonic water with a squeezed lime wedge, but mostly drinking them reminds me that I miss the Gin and Tonics I used to drink. And frankly, a tonic and lime is just a pale imitation of a Gin and Tonic.
So that’s not SUPER ideal. For a lot of reasons.
So, I propose some rules for non-alcoholic beverages:
First, and foremost, they must be tasty on their own merits. They should be great drinks without alcohol.
Second, please leave off reminding me of alcoholic beverages with pale imitations.
Third, they should not be over rich. My main rule for adult beverages is they should be “more-ish”.
You should get to the bottom of your drink and say, “That was tasty! Maybe I’ll have another!”
Not, “That was kind of tasty to start, but I could barely finish it by the time I got to the bottom, and now I don’t feel like drinking anything else. Or even eating my dinner.”