Design: theSkimm | Photo: Aplós
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Aplós Founder Emily Onkey on the Mocktail Combo You Need to Try

Plus, she shares the inspiration behind her nonalcoholic spirit brand and the best career advice she’s ever received.
Emily Onkey
April 9, 2024

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Skimm Her Life is a series in our weekly newsletter, Skimm Your Life, where smart women share their favorite things.

We’re inching even closer to “cool beverage on the patio” season. Because of that, Emily Onkey, cofounder of Aplós (a nonalcoholic spirit and canned cocktail brand) is here to Skimm Her Life. Emily, tell us exactly what we should be sipping…

What inspired you to start Aplós?

My cofounder, David. He’s always been a reluctant drinker. I actually enjoy alcohol, but was growing increasingly tired of the negative effects.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

As a founder, the meaningful part of building a business is the experience, not the destination. Ask yourself, will this matter in three days, three weeks, or three years?

What is your favorite way to drink Aplós?

My favorite Aplós ritual is having a drink as a transition between work and the evening. Ideally, a cocktail on my back patio after closing my laptop for the day. Catching up with my partner or alone to let my mind settle before jumping into kid time. I love to drink Calme with a big cocktail ice cube — a great little luxury.

Can you share a favorite mocktail recipe with us?

There is a lovely British brand called Something & Nothing that I drink religiously with Aplós Calme and Arise. The Yuzu pairs beautifully with Calme and the Hibiscus & Rose mixes nicely with Arise.

For those new to Aplós, what would you like them to know?

This isn’t an “alcohol is bad” approach. We simply believe that alcohol doesn’t have to be the only way to enjoy a cocktail. For a lot of people, cutting back feels good! We wanted to make something sophisticated that you’re proud to have on the bar at home or gift to a friend. But most of all, we wanted to create spirits that give the physiological experience you find in a premium spirit — the function of relaxation, the complexity of flavor, and the versatility in recipes.

If readers are looking to experiment with drinking less, what advice would you give?

My team jokes that I keep trying to make “weekday sober” happen. It’s true. I enjoy alcohol in moderation, but let’s be honest. I’m a founder with two young kids, so I’m hard-pressed to think of a weeknight reason when a glass or two of wine is worth it. Pour an Aplós — sip, exhale, and wake up on your game.

What’s a hacky or unconventional way to use Aplós?

Sorbet! We have a delicious sorbet recipe that is a sleeper hit.

Psst: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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