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.
I’ve never been much of a “mocktail” person, but that’s entirely due to laziness. Usually when the mood for a sophisticated sip strikes, I’ve already settled on the couch for the night, and once I’m watching my stories in my comfy pants, I am not doing anything that will create dirty dishes. I’m not zesting any orange peels or slicing up limes, I’m not using multiple bar tools to make a single drink, I’m not blending or stirring or vigorously shaking a damn thing. Most nights, simply pouring my drink into a nice glass can end up being a stretch. This partially explains why I’ve become so infatuated with Spirity Cocktails—because when mocktails come in small cans, you can have mocktails any time.
A quick note: yes, these drinks are 100% non-alcoholic, despite the fact they have been named and marketed as cocktails. Spirity Cocktails’ online shop (found here) demands in all caps that I “DON’T CALL IT A MOCKTAIL,” which I’m all for, because frankly I find the word “mocktail” ridiculous. I call them suc de luxes (Catalan for “fancy juice”), but I’ve yet to attain the power and influence to make it catch on, and thus I am forced to use the publicly embraced “mocktail” for the sake of clarity. Sorry, Spirity. The public wants what it wants.
Spirity offers sober spins on three classic cocktails: the Negroni, the Moscow Mule, and the Margarita. In lieu of the booze, Spirity builds its mocktails (sorry!) from tannin-rich pu’er tea, which master distiller Eric Knight transforms into a zero-proof spirit in a three-year process. It’s the reason each of these drinks is deliciously dry—a flavor profile that is woefully absent from many canned beverages. The Mindful Negroni was pleasantly bitter with warm spice notes, and finished with a slight pucker on my tongue; the Mindful Mule was refreshing and inoffensive, with light bursts of lime. I had my hackles up before tasting Spirity’s take on the Margarita because, well, I’ve seen what’s happened to Margaritas in the years since I quit drinking. Fortunately Spirity’s Margarita is more “date night at a jazz club” than “bottomless nachos night at Applebee’s.” More importantly, all three are simply perfect for sipping when you’re hanging on the couch in comfy pants watching TV. Truly, enjoying a
mocktail suc de luxes (making it happen!) without a single dish to wash is the epitome of luxury.