People gathered around a table celebrating. Cheers!

Alcohol Alternatives: A Buzz without the Hangover?

Alcohol alternatives offer another option to relax and socialize, without the hangover.  If you’ve been thinking about an alcohol free lifestyle, or perhaps reducing alcohol, this article is for you! 

Risks Associated with Alcohol Use

There are a number of side effects from alcohol.  The dreaded hangover after a night out with friends.  Or that headache after a couple of glasses of wine after work. 

It’s likely a struggle deciding between last night’s fun, and the next day’s pain. 

Alcohol Bottles

There are also the long term effects of regular alcohol intake to consider.  A few are listed below:

– Depression and Anxiety

– Disturbances in Sleep

– Changes in appetite and weight

– Conflict in romantic and family relationships

 

Alcohol Alternatives and Aging

Older female enjoying an alcohol alternative

Consuming alcohol regularly can age you faster.  As you age, there are concerns with regular enjoyment of alcoholic drinks. 

Drinking alcohol has more of an impact on your physical and mental health than it did when you were younger.  

You dehydrate easier, your organs weaken quicker, your brain cells shrink, and you get sick more easily. 

In addition, alcohol makes common medical conditions worse.  It can interact with medications, and can increase your risk of falls.  

Consider alcohol alternatives to improve your physical and mental health.

An Alcohol Free Lifestyle and Alcohol Alternatives

No Alcohol

Living a life free of alcohol is increasing in popularity.  Wellness trends like Dry January, and the Sober Curious Movement promote sobriety for health.  

 

An alcohol free lifestyle is no longer just about alcoholism.  In fact, the market value of No and Low-Alcohol drinks is up to almost $10 billion in 2021 from $7.8 billion in 2018.

What are the Benefits of Alcohol Alternatives?

Alcohol Alternatives can help you decrease how much alcohol you drink.  They offer a beverage option in social settings without the negative side effects of alcohol.  

Some of these alternatives also have added “Adaptogens” which tout additional health benefits (more on this later).

Benefits of Reducing Alcohol include:

– Weight loss

– Decreased Blood Pressure and Triglycerides

– Better Sleep

– Improved Sex life and Relationships

– Healthy Skin

CBD Drinks as an Alcohol Alternative

CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds. These compounds are called cannabinoids and are found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa.  It is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in hemp plants.  

CBD is not psychoactive like THC.  It will not get you high or make you feel sedated.  Animal studies, and self-reports in humans, suggest CBD may help with anxiety, insomnia, and pain. 

CBD Drink

Recess is a popular sparkling water  infused with calming hemp & balancing Adaptogens.  The company set out to create a beverage that would help people feel calm and balanced despite living in an increasingly stressful world.  Recess aims for its users to feel calm, cool, and collected.

THC Infused Drinks as an Alcohol Alternative

THC drinks contain the psychoactive form of Cannabis, along with CBD.  You can only find these in States where recreational Marijuana is legal. 

These new age beverages typically contain CBD and a low level of THC.  Most are low in sugar and calories.  Fans of THC infused drinks report a relaxed effect without the high and associated “munchies”. 

Cann Social Tonics are a popular THC infused drink.  Their website proclaims Cann as the “future of social drinking”.  The creators of Cann brought the idea of low dosing to the Cannabis industry.   

The experience of Cann is described as a “euphoric, much more controllable, uplifting experience” than a traditional Cannabis high.  Reviewers enjoy the refreshing flavors like Grapefruit Rosemary and Lemon Lavender.  Some describe it as the “White Claw “of THC infused beverages. 

Copy and paste this link to see if Cann is available in your area – https://drinkcann.app.link/aTKSi8xw7ob

 

Woman smiling with a refreshing drink

Kava as an Alcohol Alternative

Kava is a supplement that may mimic alcohol’s effects.  It is a plant native to the Pacific Islands. Kava may aid in relaxation, stress relief, and sleep. 

It has an earthy flavor which some describe as an acquired taste.  It is typically consumed with beverages like juice or tea. 

Much of the research to date has focused on Kava’s potential to reduce anxiety.  Be sure to find Kava products that list the kavalactone content, as well as other ingredients.

Bars dedicated to serving up Kava concoctions have been popping up across the country. They’re an alternative to traditional bars to socialize and unwind. 

I was surprised to find a Kava Bar about 30 minutes from me, and am excited to try it out!

Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea can be found at many local grocers.  Yogi Kava Stress Relief® tea is purposefully blended with Kava. Kave is a root traditionally used for relaxation and sleep.

Cinnamon and Sarsaparilla add warmth and spice to this relaxing blend, while Carob Pod imparts rich flavor. Relax and find tranquility with a warm, soothing cup of Yogi Kava Stress Relief® tea.

Adaptogens as an Alcohol Alternative

Adaptogens are herbs, Botanicals, and mushrooms. The theory is they help your body adapt to stress.  As mentioned above, Adaptogens can be additions to beverages and promise additional health benefits.  

There are over 70 different types of Adaptogens.  Examples include Ginseng and Ashwaganda.  Both are linked to stress relief.  Adaptogen-containing drinks are part of the functional beverage industry, as discussed in a previous blog post on the Benefits of Collagen Tea.

Note Adaptogens are not regulated by the FDA, so the claims associated with these products are based on limited research and experiential data.

Kin Euphorics is a non-alcoholic, carbonated canned beverage.   The company says the key to its concoctions is in harnessing the power of Adaptogens, which “balance the effects of stress on the body”. 
The drink also has reishi mushroom, saffron, L-tryptophan and passionflower.  Tasters report a subtle sense of calm from a refreshing beverage

Curious Elixirs describes their products as “booze-free craft cocktails, infused with Adaptogens to help you unwind”.  There are a variety of elixirs for the result you desire.  Whether that be an energy boost, relaxation, stress relief, or an aphrodisiac.  I love their slogan “Shaken, Not Slurred”.

Copy and paste this link to learn more about Curious Elixirs: https://curiouselixirs.com

Non-Alcoholic Drinks as Alcohol Alternatives

Below are drinks without alcohol or any other mood-altering additives.  Enjoy them on their own or as a sipper between alcoholic drinks.

Club Soda with Lime

Club Soda with a Splash of Cranberry Juice

Soda

Juice Spritzer

Grenadine, Tonic Water, and Lemon Syrup

Arnold Palmer

Lemon, Lime, and Bitters

Seltzer with Bitters

Club Soda and Cordial

Virgin Bloody Mary

Virgin Mojito

Kombucha

Ginger Beer with Lime

Cranberry Juice, Ginger Beer, and Soda Water

0% Beer

 

Conclusion

Alcohol alternatives are rapidly increasing in popularity.  They offer a low calorie/low sugar beverage option for those wanting to decrease or perhaps live an alcohol free lifestyle.

Drinking alcohol regularly ages you more quickly. The above alternatives can be an ally in Age-Defying Wellness!  

Keep in mind that claims made by the manufacturers of alcohol alternatives have not been evaluated by the FDA.  Effects from alcohol alternatives will vary, and there is always the placebo effect to consider.

 

Always consult your physician before using any products containing supplements or drugs like THC.  In addition, please reference your employer’s drug and alcohol policy prior to enjoying any THC infused products.

 Kathryn Piper RD, LD, NBC-HWC

Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.


*Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website.

Picture of Kathryn Piper

References

Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/

Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

 

https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/kava/

Adaptogens: What to Know

https://www.webmd.com/balance/adaptogens-what-to-know

 

Adaptogenic drinks advertise a booze-free good time. Read this before imbibing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2022/01/13/adaptogen-drinks-alcohol-replacement/

Kava Kava: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

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