The Best Non-Alcoholic Spirits for Building a Sober Bar
Enjoy your Friday night cocktails on Tuesday with these deliciously complex, booze-free spirits. Continue reading “The Best Non-Alcoholic Spirits for Building a Sober Bar” » LEGGI TUTTO
Enjoy your Friday night cocktails on Tuesday with these deliciously complex, booze-free spirits. Continue reading “The Best Non-Alcoholic Spirits for Building a Sober Bar” » LEGGI TUTTO
As more people embrace sober curiosity and Dry January, non-alcoholic beverages are booming. You can now find plenty of mocktail recipes and bottled or canned non-alcoholic options that are more creative than just soda, juice, or seltzer.
Whether you don’t drink at all or are simply abstaining from alcohol for a bit, there are a number of fun sips to try, including non-alcoholic wine.
After tasting my way through a handful, here’s what I learned and the bottles I recommend.
What to Expect From Non-Alcoholic Wine
As someone who enjoys and appreciates the real deal, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from non-alcoholic wine.
I knew I probably wouldn’t find a bottle that tasted exactly like real wine, since the wine-making process is what gives grape juice its wine-like characteristics: tannins, nuanced aromas, distinctive flavors, all of which are mostly removed through dealcoholizing.
What I hoped to find, though, were options that could be sipped like wine, in a nice glass, that embody the feeling and some of the taste that comes from enjoying real wine.
The most basic definition of wine is fermented grape juice, so to make non-alcoholic wine, you have two options: either bottle the grape juice before it’s fermented or let the grape juice ferment into wine and then dealcoholize it or remove the alcohol by distillation. (Note: dealcoholized wines do still have a bit of alcohol in them, about 0.5% ABV.)
I sampled bottles that were made both ways: wine that was bottled before fermentation and dealcoholized wine. I found some nice choices, but interestingly the ones I liked the least were wines in which the alcohol was removed. None made my final list.
Here are the five that did.
Red Wine: Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir Grape Juice
Family-operated Navarro Vineyards, in California’s Anderson Valley, knows how to make great wine, and it turns out they also make great non-alcoholic wine. After pressing their Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer grapes, they turn most of the juice into wine but save enough to be bottled as-is.
I found their Pinot Noir Grape Juice to be a delightful substitute for red wine, albeit more sweet than dry. Since the juice is made from wine grapes, it’s not cloying and has more complexity than plain old grape juice.
Unlike red wine, though, it’s best served well-chilled.
White Wine: Alain Milliat Jus Raisin Cabernet Rose Grape Juice
Yes, this bottle is marketed as non-alcoholic rosé, but it doesn’t really pour pink; rather, I found its hue to be deep golden yellow. (I also sampled the non-alcoholic Chardonnay from this producer, but it was much too sweet and cloying to be a contender.)
However, the French Cabernet Rose Grape Juice is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes pressed with the tannic skin from those grapes, so it has a bit of structure. But since not all the skins are used, it also has nice, bright acidity, like you’d find in white wine.
While the color doesn’t scream white wine, it was the closest I found and a pleasant substitute!
Sparkling Wine: TÖST
As you can see from my favorite non-alcoholic white wine choice, there are outliers among my picks, and TÖST is another one!
TÖST doesn’t actually contain grapes, so if you’re a stickler, you might not deem this is a substitute for sparkling wine. However, after trying a few different bubbly options, this is the bottle that came closest to the look, feel, and festivity of sparkling wine.
TÖST is made from white tea, white cranberry, and ginger. Since its base is tea, it has the dry, tannic structure of wine, but the cranberry and ginger soften the beverage and provide flavor and intrigue. It’s lightly sweet, with crisp bubbles and a dry finish.
Rosé Wine: Wölffer Estate Petite Rosé Verjus
I was excited to try this pretty pink bottle because I am a fan of this New York state vineyard’s wines. Their non-alcoholic rosé is made from verjus, which is the pressed juice of unripe wine grapes.
Since verjus is made from unripe grapes, it’s typically too tart to be sipped as-is. But there’s a touch of sweetness in the Petite Rosé Verjus, which is made from 100% Pinot Meunier grapes (one of the three traditional varietals used in Champagne production).
When combined with water and finished off with carbon dioxide, the result is a bright, bubbly non-alcoholic rosé that’s all too easy to drink.
Wildcard: Proteau Ludlow Red
Even though it looks like wine in the glass, the folks at Proteau are quick to point out that their non-alcoholic drinks are not really meant to be wine substitutes, as they are complex blends of berry juice and botanicals.
I agree. Both bottles I tried had a bit too much going on to be sipped with food, but I think they have their place as a non-alcoholic choice for those who enjoy the body and mouthfeel of wine.
While I wasn’t a fan of the bottle made with strawberry juice, I didn’t mind the inky, dark purple bottle called Proteau Ludlow Red, with blackberry juice as its base. Extracts from chamomile, black pepper, hibiscus, and more give it an aroma and flavor all its own. I think it would make for an interesting pre- or post-dinner non-alcoholic drink. LEGGI TUTTO
These alcohol-free stouts, lagers, and IPAs taste just like the real thing. Try one or all of them, especially if you’re partaking in Dry January.
For more than 15 years, I’ve covered the craft brewing industry’s stratospheric rise in America, chronicling barrel-aged stouts, hazy IPAs, fruited sour ales, and most every beer category save for one kind: non-alcoholic.
Why bother? Non-alcoholic beers were mainly afterthought lagers lobbed into the mainstream, as inoffensive and uninteresting as side salads at a second-rate steakhouse.
Times and tastes have changed, though. Here are five excellent non-alcoholic beers for your next hang time, or anytime.
The Flavorful New World of Non-Alcoholic Beer
We’ve entered a new era of non-alcoholic beers. New-breed breweries are quickly reinventing the category and creating full-flavored, highly fragrant non-alcoholic beers.
They’re do so by using unique yeast strains, high-tech equipment to remove alcohol via reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation, limiting or halting fermentation and the production of alcohol, and other proprietary techniques destined for a patent.
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all lagers.
Today’s NA beers run the gamut from intensely hopped IPAs to stouts suited for sipping by a fire. They can deliver all the taste, aroma, and creativity that you’ve come to expect in craft beer, minus that hangover.
For Fans of Dark Beer: Athletic Brewing All Out Stout
Athletic Brewing cracked the code on making massively flavorful non-alcoholic beer.
The Connecticut brewery, which was founded in 2018 and has expanded to a San Diego facility, uses a multistep proprietary process to completely ferment beer to less than .5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), helping the beers taste remarkably close to their normal-strength craft counterparts.
The brewery’s far-ranging portfolio of non-alcoholic beers includes citrusy IPAs, Mexican lagers, tart and fruity sour ales, and this wintertime treat.
All Out brings bittersweet cocoa and dark-roasted coffee to the table, making the beer a great pairing with rich and meaty stews or a nicely seared steak.
For the Athlete: Bootstrap Brewing Company Strapless IPA
Last fall the Longmont, Colorado brewery released its first non-alcoholic beer: the 100-calorie Strapless IPA.
It’s custom-designed for the fitness-minded crowd, packed with electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, and sodium for a replenishing pick-me-up after a hike, bike ride, or your favorite exercise.
Strapless is more than a sports drink substitute. The addition of Citra, Galaxy, and Mosaic hops equip Strapless with a complete complement of tropical fruit fragrances that beer drinkers expect in full-strength IPAs.
For the Calorie Conscious: Partake Brewing Blonde Ale
If you’re curtailing your alcohol and caloric intake, look to Partake Brewing.
The Canadian brewery uses a top-secret brewing process to create an IPA, pale ale, red ale, and more that top out at 30 calories per 12-ounce serving.
The bright Blonde weighs in at 15 calories and just three carbs, a light ale with a sweetly refreshing malt flavor that would play well with salads, as well as roast chicken and fish.
For Fruit Fans: BrewDog Elvis AF
The rabble-rousing Scottish brewery built its name on bold flavors and outlandish stunts, once brewing the world’s strongest beer and stuffing the bottle inside a taxidermied squirrel.
Now the global company, which operates a U.S. brewery in Columbus, Ohio, is expertly exploring alcohol’s lowest extremes with its AF series of beers.
None stint on taste. Wake-Up Call is a coffee-packed jolt of a stout, while Hazy AF deploys oats, wheat, and tropical hops as a nonalcoholic stand-in for a juicy IPA.
One of my favorite BrewDog beers is the zesty Elvis Juice IPA, a pithy celebration of grapefruit. The nonalcoholic version, Elvis AF, is a sunny and citrusy refresher that would be right at home at brunch.
For the Lager Lover: Heineken 0.0
I’ve never been the hugest fan of Heineken, favoring other European lagers and pilsners over the green-bottled Dutch beer. Then I tried the company’s nonalcoholic analogue to its flagship beer, the 69-calorie 0.0.
Any absence typically means that you’re missing something, but 0.0 is the rare zero-alcohol beer that’s even better than its alcohol-filled analogue.
The nonalcoholic version drinks squeaky-clean and slightly fruity, a snappy stand-in for when I want something stronger—or simply nothing at all. LEGGI TUTTO
In the world of baking, butter is king! Today we share our favorite brands of salted butter, unsalted butter, and why and when we use them. Continue reading “What We Cook With: Our Favorite Brands of Butter” » LEGGI TUTTO
In every home baker’s pantry is a bag (or three!) of flour. From King Arthur to Gold Medal for all-purpose, from White Lily self-rising flour to Bob’s Red Mill for spelt and buckwheat, here are the flour brands we purchase again and again.
It’s always in our pantry. It’s in practically every baking recipe. It’s got a permanent spot on our grocery list. And, if we didn’t realize before how much we rely on it, the buying rush and ensuing shortage last spring due to the pandemic made it pretty clear that everyone wants to have it on hand.
Yes, I’m taking about flour.
Today we consider availability, consistency, and specialty for a list of flour brands we rely on and buy again and again!
Our Favorite All-Purpose Flours
We love King Arthur Baking Company, Bob’s Red Mill, and Gold Medal for all-purpose flour.
King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
$6.99 for three 3-pound bags from King Arthur Baking Company
Formerly known as King Arthur Flour, King Arthur Baking Company updated their new name and logo last summer to better represent the company’s commitment to all kinds of baking. (You’ll see some of the photos in this post still show the old “King Arthur Flour” name and logo, but be assured, the product is the same!)
While other flour brands mill to a protein range, King Arthur mills their flour to a strictly-controlled and consistent protein count of 11.7%. This means you can expect the flour to perform the same way every time you use it.
King Arthur’s all-purpose flour is made from 100% American-grown hard red wheat. It’s also unbleached, unbromated, and contains no artificial preservatives.
I often swap a little white whole wheat flour for all-purpose to get more nutrition. King Arthur calls for white whole wheat in my favorite waffle recipe, so I’ve kept it on hand ever since! – Rachel
Bob’s Red Mill 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
$4.69 for 5-pound bag from Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s whole wheat flour is what we go to when we want that full-on, all-in whole wheat taste!
Stone ground on cool, quartz millstones, Bob’s whole wheat flour retains every part of the wheat kernel: the wheat germ, bran, and endosperm. It has a protein content in the 13-15% range, and gives a deep, nutty, whole grain flavor to breads and baked goods.
Our Favorite Alternative Flours
Bob’s Red Mill wins on all accounts when we’re looking for alternative flours. It’s the most readily-accesible brand, both in-store and online, and we can always trust the quality. Here are the alternative flours we cook with the most.
Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground Spelt Flour
$4.29 for 22-ounce bag from Bob’s Red Mill
I like Bob’s Red Mill for any specialty flour. I use spelt flour in pancakes and quick breads for the nutty flavor, and Bob’s always delivers. – Summer
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour
$5.49 for 22-ounce bag from Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s buckwheat flour is a staple in my house. I love our buckwheat pancakes and buckwheat waffles recipes, and this flour works wonderfully. -Cambria
Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour
$3.69 for 20-ounce bag from Bob’s Red Mill
I like to sub in a little of Bob’s oat flour in pancakes and muffins, for a bit more whole grain flavor and nutrition. – Cambria
Our Favorite Specialty Baking Flours
Swans Down Enriched Cake Flour
$3.19 for 32-ounce box from Target
Swans Down cake flour is a low-protein pastry flour made from soft white winter wheat. Bleached, enriched, and repeatedly sifted to create a very soft, very delicate flour, it’s a classic choice when you’re aiming for supremely airy, light desserts, like this vanilla cake!
White Lily Self-Rising Flour
$9.99 for 5-pound bag from Amazon
A must for Southern-style biscuits! White Lily’s self-rising flour is milled from soft winter wheat and blended with leavening agents and salt. It has a super-fine texture and a 9% protein content.
If you want to make a true Southern biscuit, White Lily is the only flour you should use. The soft winter wheat is milled so fine, it almost feels like cornstarch. Its low protein content makes baked goods light and fluffy. If you’re making biscuit and they end up like hockey pucks, you might need to switch your flour to White Lily. – Summer LEGGI TUTTO
Ingredient GuidesOne Simply Terrific Thing
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes aren’t just a fancy salt; they’re a cooking essential and deserve a space in every home cook’s pantry.
Photography Credit: Sheela Prakash
Welcome to One Simply Terrific Thing, our ongoing series highlighting the small tools, kitchen goods, and ingredients that make life better!
I am someone who will add more items to my online shopping cart in order to get free shipping—which is exactly how a box of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes ($6 for an 8.5 ounce box) landed in my kitchen.
I was dubious about bringing another salt into my kitchen. Isn’t one enough? But my food friends had been singing the praises of Maldon for years, so I was curious what the fuss was all about.
Now I am so glad I added it to my cart, because I’ve joined them in the praise!
FINISHING SALT VS COOKING SALT
Maldon’s flaky sea salt is a finishing salt, not a cooking salt—which is what distinguishes it from kosher salt, table salt, and other salts you may have in your pantry.
When you sprinkle salt all over chicken or vegetables before roasting, you do it with a cooking salt to season food while it cooks. But a finishing salt is used to season food at the end of cooking instead of at the beginning.
There are three reasons why Maldon is specifically a finishing salt.
Its texture is wildly unique: Rather than evenly-sized granules, Maldon sea salt flakes are irregularly-shaped, pyramid-like crystals. Not only are they pretty to look at, they lend a lovely crunch to dishes.
Their flavor isn’t all salt. In fact, it’s quite delicate and a bit briny.
It’s sold in small quantities: The box of Maldon sea salt flakes is quite small, so it would be a waste to lose the crunch and flavor by dissolving it into soups or sauces.
HOW TO USE MALDON SEA SALT FLAKES IN YOUR COOKING
There are endless ways to use Maldon sea salt flakes! Every night, I sprinkle a pinch on our basic green salad that graces the table, which always makes it a lot more interesting. Scrambled eggs usually get a sprinkle when they’re on my plate, too, as does avocado toast, simple seared steak or fish, and pretty much all sautéed veggies.
Where the real fun comes in, though, is dessert! Top your favorite chocolate chip cookies or brownies with a pinch before they head into the oven, or try a sprinkle on a bowl of your favorite pudding (chocolate or butterscotch are especially well-suited).
Since the salt crystals are large and you’re sprinkling the salt right on top, they won’t dissolve into your treat. Rather, you’ll be left with a lightly salty crunch that offsets the sweetness beautifully.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.
Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Mediterranean Every Day. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA.Sheela received her master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.
More from Sheela LEGGI TUTTO
From Hershey’s to Guittard and Ghirardelli, here are the brands of cocoa and chocolate that we buy and use in our baking!
My Simply Recipes co-editors and I have lovingly referred to this past month as Choctober.
Chocolate is good anytime, anywhere, but chocolate recipes feel especially on point when the weather turns colder. Hot chocolate! Hot cocoa! Chocolate banana bread! Chocolate brownies! Double chocolate cupcakes! Someone stop me, please, before I share this list of 14 more decadent chocolate recipes. (Too late.)
To make all the chocolate things you need to have some chocolate (bar or chips) or cocoa on hand. But what kind?
Quality, flavor, meltability can all vary from brand to brand, so I queried my fellow team members for their favorite go-to brands for cocoa, baking chocolate, and chocolate chips.
Our Favorite Cocoa
Before we get into cocoa, are you wondering about the difference between Dutch-process and natural cocoa? We wrote a post about that! Check it out here.
Now on to our favorites…
Hershey’s Original 100% Cocoa
$3.00 for 8-ounce can
Hershey’s natural, non-alkanized cocoa powder (read: not Dutch-processed) has a pleasant, familiar flavor, great for cozy baked goods you want to taste like your childhood. LEGGI TUTTO
Learn about the two forms of cocoa powder, when to use Dutch-processed cocoa and when to use natural or regular cocoa, and how to substitute one for the other. Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between Dutch-Process and Natural Cocoa Powder?” » LEGGI TUTTO
This harissa from New York Shuk is balanced with medium heat, and it’s the best we’ve tried. Stir it into soups, use as a marinade for chicken and fish, dollop it on pizza—it never fails! Continue reading “One Simply Terrific Thing: New York Shuk’s Signature Harissa” » LEGGI TUTTO