Welcome to Like A Virgin, a new 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.
Casamara Club bills itself as “leisure soda,” which is a welcome change of pace from all the XXXtreme sodas we’ve been forced to endure since the Cola Wars. Mainstream sodas are all about the sugar, while leisure sodas are about whatever the hell they want to be about. Bitter? Bring it. Sour? Sure. Unidentifiable yet vaguely familiar herbs and spices? Come on down! Everything that’s too cool to “Do the Dew” is welcome to get its freak on in the leisure soda hot tub, where beverages are more than drinks—they’re a whole damn vibe.
I’m thrilled to report that Casamara Club’s amaro-infused sodas are wonderful, which I feared they would not be on account of the bottles being too pretty. Each flavor is outfitted with distinct, vividly colorblocked landscapes that are at once current, retro, and timeless. (When experiencing leisure in its purest sense, the firm constructs of chronology rapidly dissolve into a ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.) These bottles call out to be enjoyed by a certain type of person, one who’s sophisticated and glamorous, who drives a vintage sports car and knows the Rivieras well enough to have a favorite. I am most certainly not this type of woman—never have been, never will be—but for as long as it takes me to finish a bottle, I’m much obliged to pretend.
Sera is all sunshine and citrus, putting you in the mood for a jovial game of croquet. It’s splendidly bright and lightly bitter, with notes of allspice and anise that make you want to smash things with a wooden mallet. Casamara Club bills this as “the after hours club soda,” but make no mistake, Sera is more than willing to get the party started at 10 a.m. on the manor lawn. For late-night leisure, try Ondo (aka “the wild club soda”), whose woodsy sage undertones invite you to gather round a campfire with several attractive bearded individuals—at least one of whom is holding a guitar—plus a few large dogs. The refreshing hints of mint and mandarin in Capo, “the easy club soda,” are best enjoyed while lounging poolside in a large, floppy hat (somehow, you make it work). Alta is Casamara’s take on the Italian aperitivo: heavy with bitter chinotto, begging to be sipped on a yacht. (If you don’t have access to a yacht, try a water taxi or an inner tube.)
On the Casamara Club website, a 12-pack retails for $36, not including shipping or tax. If you’d prefer not to pay shipping fees you can find these leisurely sodas in specialty stores nationwide. Consider the cost an investment in a beverage that doubles as home decor.