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Haleth's avatar

What are some fancy non-alcoholic drinks that are not sweet?

Asked by Haleth (19538points) October 28th, 2015

I’m in the weird position of being a retail wine buyer and quitting drinking. One thing all wine lovers know is that wine acts differently with food than other drinks. Wines have different kinds of fruity acids in them, like the ones found in lemons, granny smith apples, cranberries etc. Red wines also have tannins, the astringent substance in black tea, black coffee, and unsweet chocolate. Good wines “cut through” fatty foods, and make your mouth feel clean and ready for another bite.

Are there any non-alcoholic drinks that act like wine? I drink a lot of club soda, apple cider, and coffee. (The La Croix club sodas are pretty good.) But most sodas and juices are really too sweet for me. Do they make, like, unsweetened cranberry juice? Because I would probably drink that.

I’m thinking about making my own mocktails also. It would be nice to have something fancy to drink around the holidays. Any recipes?

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20 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

For holiday time, how about a nice red virgin Bloody Mary?

Cupcake's avatar

Go to a natural foods store. You can find unsweetened cranberry and pomegranate juice for sure, probably others as well.

You can make your own lemonade to taste… or just mix lemon juice and water.

I drink kombucha (fermented sweet tea). I like the ones with only 2g of sugar… they taste a bit like rotten vinegar (which is how wine smells to me too). Not only can you acquire a taste for it just like you can for alcohol, the naturally occurring microbes are beneficial to your GI system. You can get it flavored with different juices as well. Not cheap, but you can learn to make it yourself if you really like it. (Note: there is a tiny amount of alcohol from the natural fermentation. Kombucha bought in stores has to have – I think – less than 0.5% alcohol to be a non-alcoholic drink. Homemade is probably closer to 1%).

talljasperman's avatar

Earl grey tea. Chinese tea.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

They do make unsweetened cranberry juice, but I’ve been told it’s very hard for mouths to handle. However, it’s really good for you, so it’s worth a shot. If you do decide to try it, I’d like to know what you think of it if you’re up to letting me know.

ragingloli's avatar

Sauerkraut Juice.

janbb's avatar

Seltzer or club soda with a lime twist. You can mix cranberry juice in with it if you like.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Have you ever tried Ariel Non-alcoholic wines ?
(I haven’t either.)

hearkat's avatar

Like @janbb, I often get seltzer or ginger ale with a splash of cranberry and lime wedge when there’s no fresh-brewed unsweetened iced tea.

I do like the idea of pomegranate or other dark red juices to look like red wines, or white grape juice (can also mix with some seltzer) to mimic whites.

talljasperman's avatar

Egg nog or fancy milks like almond.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It gets really hot where I am,. I drink unsweetened iced sun tea or sparkling quinine water on the rocks with half a lime squeezed over it then dropped in. This is a fine thirst quencher. But most of the time I just drink water—by the gallon.

JLeslie's avatar

A little sweet, but not too bad:

Try making orange water, sliced oranges with the rind in the water for at least 12 hours. You can drink it on it’s own of use this water to mix with tea, or cranberry juice.

Make lemonade with club soda. The club soda helps cut the sweet. I use the powder mix, less than it calls for, and slice in some lime rounds. Serve over ice. Looks pretty and tastes good.

I like grapefruit juice with cranberry over ice too. It doesn’t taste very sweet, but the sugar content is probably higher than I would guess.

Zaku's avatar

Costco sells huge bottles of pomegranate juice. I like sparkling water with about 10–20% apple juice. And 2% milk with about 10% cold coffee.

Seek's avatar

I make sekanjabin. It’s a vinegar-based drink that originates in Persia in the Middle Ages. The best part is that the syrup lasts for freaking ever. You just mix it with water (or whatever) to taste.

This is my friend’s redaction of a 14th century recipe. You can play with it as you like, and you will want to divide the recipe (for example, I made this recipe, and the resulting syrup took up two 1.75L gin bottles with 8 oz to spare. You don’t use a ton of the stuff at a time, but it does last indefinitely without refrigeration)

You can change it up how you like – use rosemary instead of mint, add cucumbers or ginger, I made a batch recently with apple cider vinegar. I think plain white vinegar is a bit medicinal tasting; other people find it refreshing.

It’s a really nice drink for hot days. It mixes well with club soda (I’m a little addicted to the La Croix grapefruit).

It sounds from the recipe like it’s sickly-sweet, but since you use it to taste, it doesn’t have to be. I use about three tablespoons per 8oz glass.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m drinking a lot of herbal tea these days. I love the cinnamon and orange, the ginger and apple and the cranberry and pomegranate tea. They’re quite refreshing. You could drink them hot or cold.

marinelife's avatar

I totally support tea. I live on black tea (but you can get it decaffeinated if you want). Darjeeling is wonderful. White tea is wonderful. I personally am not a fan of green tea beacause I find it to astringent, but maybe you would like it.

CWOTUS's avatar

My drink, day in and day out, to the tune of about a gallon a day, is iced black tea. I make it unsweetened, with a bit more lemon than some people like – though I’m cutting that down as my own tastes change – and a bit of cranberry juice to slightly modify the flavor from time to time. Very refreshing, and goes with just about everything.

keobooks's avatar

For anyone who wanted to know, I drink unsweetened cranberry juice on a regular basis. I love it, but I’m the only one I know who does. Here is some important stuff to know about it.

1. Cranberry 100% juice is not raw cranberry juice. It’s cranberry juice sweetened with grape juice. It’s not the real stuff. It tastes like Ocean Spray. Forget about it.

2. At most grocery stores, raw cranberry juice is very scarce and the rare times you can find it, it can be 10–12 dollars about it. Not worth it!

3. Trader Joes sells it for 4 or 5 bucks. It’s from concentrate, but it’s still the real deal. You can find it in the non refrigerated juice section. I usually buy 4 bottles at a time. Not only is it cheaper, I think it tastes better. The others are more watery.

In a nutshell, only buy Trader Joes!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@keobooks Thanks for the info!

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