Whether you want a clear head at your holiday fête or are making resolutions for a dry January, there are plenty of reasons to skip the tippling this season. But really, you don’t need to justify not drinking to anyone. Thankfully, the growing interest in booze-free imbibing means there’s a new crop of spiritless spirits delivering complex flavors and inspired mixers for sipping and celebrating while still promising hangover-free mornings. Here’s the lowdown on a few women-owned favorites. – STEPHANIE GANZ
GHIA ($33 for 528ml, drinkghia.com)
Aperol-lovers will embrace this herbal aperitif, with hints of elderflower, rosemary, and ginger. Gentian root extract, a common ingredient in bitters like Angostura, lends a distinct bitterness, best balanced with a hint of citrus. Throw an orange twist in a glass of equal parts Ghia and club soda for a settling digestif. Or try the toasty cocktail below, made for sipping by the fire with a favorite book.
2 oz. Ghia
8 oz. water
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. whole coriander and/or fennel seeds
Whole fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Combine water and fresh ginger slices with coriander and/or fennel seeds in a saucepan over low heat and stir. Bring to a simmer and let steep for one hour, then strain. Add a jigger of Ghia and honey to taste. Drink from a mug while still warm.
Sipping a cocktail made with Amass’ gin-inspired Riverine spirit is like playing a game of “name that botanical.” Notes of juniper and rosemary announce themselves boldly, while sumac and thyme add a bit of background harmony to the mix. Try it simply with tonic or give it a little citrus upgrade with Orangina.
SPIRITLESS ($35.99 for 750ml, spiritless.com)
Spiritless’ Kentucky 74 is bourbon without the burn. Hints of vanilla and oak make this virgin whiskey just right for anyone who’s looking for a classic cocktail without the headache. And, brilliantly, the recipes on their site are geared toward teetotalers as well as drinkers who want to go halfsies (mixing Kentucky 74 and your bourbon of choice) for a little less buzz.
Ghia photo: (Slow burn) Amy Campbell
This article originally appeared in BUST's Winter 2021/2022 print edition. Subscribe today!