Welcome to Like A Virgin, a column in which we 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.
My children have finally (finally!) gone back to school, which means that I can once again pursue my dream of becoming a morning person. My brain knows that I have better, more productive days if I start them before sunrise, when there are fewer distractions. My brain is also an uncooperative jerk that likes staying active for hours after my body’s gone to bed, its synapses rapidly firing with important thoughts like “What’s Joey Lawrence been up to?” or “What’s the difference between cured and uncured bacon?”
As a result of my brain’s piss-poor prioritization, my body normally demands that I stay in bed until late morning, crushing my aspirations of being a productive human being. But with a new school year comes a new chance to (probably) change my life! I’ve been dragging myself out of bed at 6 a.m. every weekday morning for two weeks now, and only felt like I was going to die for the first 11 days. On the 12th day, I received a sample case of Clean Cause Sparkling Yerba Mate and everything changed.
I’m a strong-black-cup-of-coffee person, so it never once occurred to me to turn to anything else before sunrise. I’ve never been a fan of energy drinks (why are they so sweet?!), and I’ve had mixed experiences with yerba mate beverages, which can taste like dirt in a can if they’re done wrong. But Clean Cause doesn’t fall into any of those traps: Each of its nine fruit flavors is just as sweet as is needs to be without any of the ungracefully bitter notes of yerba mate’s telltale tannins.
Clean Cause has the slightest bit of sparkle, which gives it a somewhat mimosa-ish feel, and thus makes me think it’s okay to drink its 160 mg of additional caffeine alongside my morning coffee. I believe the blackberry flavor pairs best with dark roasts, and for lighter roasts, peach. The rest of Clean Cause’s flavors (Lemon Lime, Raspberry, Cherry Lime, and Watermelon Mint) are equally delicious, but not as good for early morning double-fisting by an accident-prone woman.
Another thing that has endeared me to Clean Cause is the fact that it’s a mission-based beverage, with 50% of the company’s profits used to support people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. To date Clean Cause has given away over $1.1 million in sober living scholarships, helping over 2,300 people establish recovery routines and find employment.
I’m not planning to lean on this extra boost of caffeine forever. But once my body finally adjusts to this morning-person thing, I can see myself keeping Clean Cause around for afternoon pick-me-ups or days where I’m not in the mood for coffee. (Hey, it could happen.)