Welcome to Like A Virgin, a column in which we’ll recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the secret to buying great gifts: aim for an item that the recipient is curious to try, but not enough to justify purchasing for themselves. For example: bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. Sounds delicious, right? It most certainly is. But once you learn that it costs $45 a bottle, you might talk yourself out of buying it. If someone gave you that syrup as a gift, you’d be ecstatic, wouldn’t you? Well, this is the position your sober friends are in this holiday season. You should give them a great NA cocktail gift. You should give them Curious Elixirs.
The world of sober drinks has expanded far beyond O’Douls and club soda; the scene has exploded with hundreds of non-alcoholic beverage companies selling newfangled “spirit-free spirits.” But not everyone wants to pay upwards of $50 for a bottle of something they might not enjoy. And while there are lots of gift-worthy bottles that have popped up in Like a Virgin this year, I suggest checking out Curious Elixrs because this brand allows you to experience a whole bar’s worth of upscale booze-free craft cocktails without having to spend hundreds of dollars on individual ingredients.
In olden times, most “mocktails” were little more than blended juice. But Curious Elixirs blends the juices listed on its bottles with herbs, roots, spices, and adaptogenic extracts that are unfamiliar to most palates, weaving in unexpected notes and surprising contrasts to create a true cocktail experience (just without the booze). For gifting, I suggest this month’s variety pack, featuring Curious’ No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6. The fact that they have such stark, mysterious names makes them feel doubly luxurious, and who doesn’t crave more luxury come the holidays?
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Curious Elixir No. 1, which was inspired by the Negroni, is the best kind of bitter, with gentle smacks of pomegranate and citrus pith, backed up with spicy gentian root extract and flowery rhodiola.
No. 3 takes its inspiration from the Cucumber Collins and the French 75, blending cucumber and lemon juices with alpine herbs, juniper berries, and soothing ashwagandha.
No. 4 is a limited-edition craft cocktail inspired by the oh-so-trendy Aperol Spritz. It balances non-alcoholic Prosecco with blood orange juice, then spikes it with the sting of American ginseng and earthy notes of turmeric and tulsi.
No. 6, also a limited release, is a tropical delight: cream of coconut and pineapple juice (a tried-and-true combo) are blended with oat milk, chicory root, lemon balm, nutmeg, and notes of black pepper. Floral notes come from aloe and neroli, and the essence of blackstrap molasses lends a rummy undertone. It turns the entire concept of virgin pina coladas on its head, and if the world is fair, No. 6 will join the permanent lineup by next summer.
A 4-pack of Curious Elixirs is $30, and each bottle contains two cocktails. That’s a pretty respectable price for eight craft cocktails that taste as good as anything you’d find at a swanky cocktail lounge. Buy them as a gift, bring them to a party, or order them all for yourself.