Life·16 min read

Our Fave Things to Help You Drink Smarter All Year Long

Kin Euphorics, Ghia, Monday Gin
Photos: Kin Euphorics, Ghia, Monday Gin | Design: theSkimm
Nov 10, 2021

This post was originally published in November 2021 and has since been updated.

Let’s be real: The drinking landscape is vast and overwhelming. There’s a lot to pick from.  Organic wines? Non-alcoholic spritzers? And finding something crowd-pleasing and in your budget can come with its fair share of stress. So whether you’re looking to source the perfect vino for your bar cart or find an alcohol-free option for an upcoming dinner party, we gotchu. We pulled together some of our fave alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to ‘cheers’ with all year long. Plus, we’ve got some must-have accessories you’ll want to have in your kitchen come party time. Pinkies up.  

Non-alcoholic options

A white tea spritzer that tastes *just* like rosé…

This sparkling refresher has a delicate flavor profile and a dry, light finish. Made with a blend of white tea, elderberry, and ginger, you’ll have your mind blown over how similar it tastes  to real rosé wine Plus, it’s made from all natural ingredients. So if you’re looking to bring a fun drink to your next baby shower or just want to give a new non-alcoholic bev a try, pour a glass and enjoy. *Sips tea.* ($10, Boisson)

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A sampler pack of non-alcoholic spirits…

One delicious alcohol-free gin and tonic, coming right up. This trio comes with different Seedlip elixirs — each with their own unique flavor. Spice 94 has notes of citrus peel and bark, Grove 42 has notes of spiced orange, and Garden 108 is floral with notes of peas and garden herbs. So you can have something fun and different — without the extra headache the next day. Pour it up. ($50, Food52)

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A cult-favorite sparkling water…

There’s a reason why everyone loves Topo Chico. Since the bubbles are extra bubbly and crisp, it feels like you’re drinking a more elevated sparkling water. We’re into this tart grapefruit flavor. Serve over ice or add to another non-alcoholic mixer for the mocktail of your dreams. Thank us later. ($29.50/8 pack, Amazon)

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A monthly subscription of non-alcoholic mixers…

Maybe you’re sober. Maybe you’re looking to simply cut back on your alcohol consumption — or even try something new. Enter: Curious Elixirs. Each month, you’ll get a variety pack of booze-free craft cocktails right to your doorstep. Inspired by longtime bar favorites, the drinks are made with organic ingredients and are free of refined sugar and caffeine. Looking to chill? Same. Herbs and adaptogens also provide some good ol’ stress relief and help to build immunity too. ($33+/month, Curious Elixirs)

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An aperitif that doubles as an amazing hostess gift…

Show up with this sleek, caffeine-free drink and you’ll be the favorite guest at your next gathering. This brand’s internet-fave aperitif has has notes of florals, earthy botanicals, and some citrus kicks too. And it’s on the bitter side — so no sugar hangovers here. Life of the party, here you come. ($65, Ghia)

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A premium, sugar-free gin so you can have a consequence-free night...

See ya never, hangovers. This non-alcoholic gin is made from a blend of juniper, natural botanicals, citrus, and spices. It’s handcrafted in small batches from a distillery in Southern California. Just swap it in for any recipe that calls for gin, and you’re golden. ($39.99, Amazon)

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A sparkling water variety pack…

Bubbles for the win. This unsweetened, gluten-free, non-GMO Spindrift pack comes with lemon-and blackberry-flavored cans (48 of ’em total). We love this brand because its bubbly water is made with real fruit squeezed from family farms. Plus the light carbonation and slight pulpiness will add some extra pizazz to your cocktail or mocktail. ($21.93/48 pack, Amazon)

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A mocktail subscription box so you can get regular deliveries…

Because convenience is everything. Each box comes with four bottles. Ingredients include organic lime juice, cardamom, clove, decaffeinated teas, and natural mint flavors. Plus no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives are used. You can serve them straight up or mix them with other bevs. ($15.26, Mocktail Club)

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Hibiscus-flavored spirits that’ll make you feel good...

If it’s good enough for Bella Hadid, it’s good enough for us. These ready-to-drink fresh citrus-flavored spritzes aim to help clear your mind, fend off stress, improve concentration and energy, and more. Pop one open with your friends, take some sips, and feel good in the process. Win-win. ($22/4 pack, Amazon)

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Farm-to-table Bloody Mary mix…

From Alabama with love. These fresh mixes come straight from a family-run farm outside Birmingham. Choose your preferred flavor profile (hot and spicy, classic, etc.) and just add your liquor or liquor alternative of choice. Throw it in the fridge when you’re done and get ready for round two. ($24, Food52)

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Alcoholic drinks

Elevated boxed wine…

Because it’s not just for college students. This red wine from Boxt is full bodied, rich, and super smooth with some strong tannins — just how we like it. And since one box = four bottles, you won’t run out of it anytime soon. Plus it’s got zero percent residual sugar and can stay fresh for up to six weeks. (And we love the chic wooden container.) It’s wine o’clock somewhere. ($74+, Boxt)

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A DIY hard cider kit…

This pack will make at-home fermentation easy. It comes with everything you’ll need (minus apple cider/juice) and digestible instructions. So even if you’ve never brewed at home before, you’ll be able to make three batches of hard cider no problem. It’s tart, bubbly, and dry, and it’ll be the most fun you’ve had in your kitchen in a while (even if you’ve only got a small space). Drink up. ($39.99, Amazon)

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Sparkling brut for when you want that bubbly…

The McBride Sisters (aka the ones behind the largest Black-owned wine company in the US) produce this delicious vino in California. It’s got notes of fresh pear, pineapple, ripe melon, crisp apple, and soft florals. Sounds like heaven? We think so. Plus, it pairs really well with savory cheeses and brunch. 10/10 recommend. ($29.99, Wine.com)

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A fruit-forward aperitif…

Sip on this spiced-cherry flavored drink on its own or pair it with your fave liquor. This farm-to-bottle brew gets its cherry flavor from handpicked heirloom cherry trees in Michigan, cocoa nibs that are sourced from a coop in Tanzania, and a Tellicherry pepper grown in India. Their team blends every bottle in Sonoma, California, and also keeps it low in sugar so you won’t have to worry about headaches. The only question left to ask is: Is it 5 pm yet? ($40, Haus)

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An online marketplace that’ll grant you access to wine from around the world…

Can’t swing a wine-tasting trip to Italy right now? Don’t worry about it. This site lets you easily shop by variety, region, or collection for a vino that’s just right for you. And if you have no idea where to start, you can read recs from sommeliers and Michelin-star restaurants. Along with bottle descriptions, you’ll get info about serving temperature, aeration time, and food pairings. You’ll also be able to read the history behind a bottle. Time to wine down. (Prices vary, Wine Access)

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Canned wine you can take on the go…

We’ll take a bunch for the road, please. One can = two glasses of wine. So the whole fam will be wine happy on those evening walks. The elderflower mint lime flavor can be sipped straight from the can or used as a mixer in cocktail recipes. It’s gluten-free and naturally flavored too. Psst: you can also snag a cap so you can easily save it for later if you don’t wanna sip it all in one sitting. ($15.99/4-pack, Cool Cat)

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A hard kombucha sampler pack... 

Choose from grapefruit paloma, blood orange mint, acai berry, honey ginger lemon, and more for your custom-flavored kit. These fruity concoctions are the perfect thing to keep stored in your fridge so you have them ready for any last-minute plans. Plus, they’re great to just sip on during a casual meal or as a post-dinner drink. They’re all brewed with real ingredients (aka no artificial coloring, GMOs, pesticides, or processed corn or rice syrups). Psst: use code ​​SKIMM20 to get 20% off your order. ($66/24 pack, JuneShine)

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A ready-to-drink margarita cocktail…

Need a marg ASAP? Look no further. Keep these in your fridge and when you’re ready to imbibe, all you'll have to do is twist the bottom of the bottle, shake, pop the cap off, and voilà — cocktails for two. Plus, it’s free of artificial ingredients. All you need is a fresh lime to serve on top. Psst: If you’re playing hostess or need a gift to give, we rec snatching up their sampler pack. Use code FRESH20 to save 20% off your order through February 14. ($12, Drnxmyth

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And some smart drinking accessories

A craft cocktail syrup set...

This trio (which can make up to 16 drinks) comes with old fashioned, moscow mule, and spicy margarita syrup mixes. They’re made from cane sugar, real fruit, and premium spices. All you’ve gotta do is add them to your fave spirits. Happy hour: population everyone. ($29.16/3 pack, Amazon)

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Spherical ice cube molds…

These perfect lil’ guys are slow-melting so your drinks will stay cold and never diluted. The trays make it easy to pop ’em out when the time comes, plus it comes with a lid so you can eliminate any freezer odors or spills. Bonus: They look oh-so cute in any pitcher or large drink display. Do it. ($17, W&P)

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Cocktail-infused cubes to keep on hand in your freezer…

Put one of these in your glass or shaker with a shot of liquor, stir it up — then enjoy. You’ll get a cucumber watermelon margarita mix, a blood orange and ginger old-fashioned-esque flavored one, and a peach, benedictine-inspired herb one. Easy last-minute get-togethers? Yes, please. ($38.98/24 cubes, Nordstrom

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Mulling spices for when you want to get in a cozy mood…

This hand-assembled blend includes cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, orange peels, rose petals, cloves, and black pepper. Just simmer it with some cider, wine or syrup, and you’ll be on your way to feeling warm and fuzzy. Plus, you can also use them to poach fresh or dried fruits (then add ’em to a cake or cheese board). ($24, Food52)

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A tiny filter that can help you avoid some classic hangover symptoms…

Just place the wand in your wine before drinking. It removes histamines and sulfites. Aka the things that can cause reactions like congestion, red cheeks, and headaches. And no, it won’t affect the taste. They’re tiny so you can throw ‘em in your bag and bring ‘em out to a party. Or buy a bunch and keep some out on the table for your guests. Simple solutions, we see you. ($19.95/10 pack, The Grommet)

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Whiskey stones to chill your next glass…

Without watering the flavor down. Keep them in your freezer, and when you’re ready to start sipping, add one to your cocktail. It’s as easy and budget-friendly as that. Ahhh, refreshing. ($9.99/9 pack, Amazon)

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Glass markers so you can keep track of which drink is yours…

Because no one wants to accidentally sip from someone else’s wine. They’re also stain-resistant and absorbent. Spills happen. ($19, Goodee)

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An electric wine opener that can also vacuum-seal bottles…

Upgrade your happy hour with this opener that can uncork 80 bottles in a single charge. And no — it won’t break corks in the process. If you don’t finish your bottle, just use the vacuum sealer option to preserve freshness and flavor. Cheers to that. ($39.95, Amazon

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A wine tote for easy transport…

Whether you want to use it to carry your vino to a party, or gift it along with a bottle for your friend, you really can’t go wrong. The merino wool provides insulation, plus it’s also stain-resistant if things do happen to get messy while on the go. We’re fans of the classy leather strap too. ($39, Goodee)

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If you buy anything from this article, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) when we published. Thanks.


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