As we enter our third Covid summer, the question begs to be asked: Will this finally be the hot vax summer Instagram and cable news promised us? And what would that even look like?
It’s 2022. We’re in therapy. We’ve got a nine-step skincare routine. (Which we remember to do at least twice a week.) We DIY everything, from home decor to probiotics. Why not add dopamine to the list?
Sober curious is the vibe of the season. Maybe you want to have a full on That Girl Summer, or are just trying to avoid feeling hungover by 10PM at the end of a long day of drinking on the beach. Either way, there are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic bevvies to keep you refreshed without making you feel like you’re sitting at the kid’s table.
We spoke to Aqxyl Storms, the Founder and Co-Owner of the Brooklyn booze-free bottle shop Minus Moonshine, to get some recommendations on the best non-alcoholic wines available this summer. Stop by their Prospect Heights location, and look out for their online store, coming soon.
I’m a musician, first and foremost. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and vocalist. However, it’s essential for me to have a day job that I love and one that helps people. I was an optician for seven years prior to opening the shop, a professional raw and vegan chef before that for eight years, and a yoga instructor for 14 years.
I’d always been interested in living a healthy lifestyle, but being queer and a musician kept me around people and places where alcohol was involved. I started tracking my sleep a few years ago with an Oura ring. I noticed that alcohol was dramatically affecting the quality of sleep I was getting. I quit drinking for maybe the 5th time in the past 20 or so years on January 1, 2021. This was the first time I’d quit drinking that there were NA spirits I could play around with. I became obsessed with trying to find them near my house (because it’s New York and when we want something, we walk and pick it up), but there wasn’t a store near me that had all of the brands I found online. I thought, why not open a store myself? I discovered that someone in Manhattan had already opened something similar [Spirited Away], so it could be done. I now have access to amazing beers, wines, spirits, canned cocktails, etc., when a decade ago I was stuck making mocktails in my kitchen with fresh fruits, juices, and seltzers.
Our products are for anyone who isn’t drinking, whether it’s for the night or forever. We have pregnant customers, tired parents, people on medication, folx in recovery, people like me that just don’t feel great the day after drinking, and some people who just want other options for whatever personal reason.
I think people will always be curious about quitting drinking for at least a short period of time. Those of us who did or do drink are familiar with those moments when we swear to ourselves we’ll never drink again. And then we’re out a night or two after, surpassing the promise of “I’ll just have one.”
I believe that we’ve always needed options like this, but it took a brave few to really get down to creating innovative products that go beyond the non-alcoholic beer that we saw our dad’s cousin who was in AA drink. Trying something new is often scary, but I think people have always been ready. We offer tastings on Saturdays and Sundays so the public can try before they buy. Nobody wants to waste money on things they might not like. I can assure everyone that I don’t stock products that don’t taste good. It’s lovely to be able to recreate your favorite drink at home with alcohol-free spirit alternatives. I think once the word gets out and this way of drinking is more normalized, everyone will be a little sober curious all the time.
Now we just have to prove to the bars and restaurants that they won’t lose any money or integrity by offering options for everyone. No more mocktails! We want non-alcoholic cocktails and alcohol-removed wine that is wine, not juice.
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Studio Null Sparkling Rosé is floral perfection. Not too sweet and full of flavor. You’ll never know it’s non-alcoholic. It’s delicious and a customer favorite.
Portugieser and Silvaner grapes.
Studio Null Blanc Burgunder is a crisp white. It’s my go-to still white wine. My partner Juan and I drink a lot of this at home because it tastes just like the wine he and I drank when we first started dating.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grapes.
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Sovi Sparkling Rosé has notes of rhubarb and strawberry, and is made using Tempranillo grapes.
Sovi Sparkling White is a sparkling Chenin Blanc with notes of green apple, lemon peel, and white flowers. It’s a new release for them and we are so impressed! It’s definitely my favorite sparkling white in a can. Can’t wait to bring this with me to the beach all summer.
These are both organic and absolutely fantastic! A longtime favorite of mine and my customers, both of these are dry and crisp. They even hold their bubbles overnight in the refrigerator. These are exactly what everyone wants bubblies to taste like.
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Surely makes a wide range of fantastic, easy to drink, ultra-low sugar wines. We love that they offer both a still Rosé and a still Sauvignon Blanc along with their sparkling wines. Their Sparkling Rosé is available in both bottles and cans. They also offer a Sparkling white in a bottle and an incredible Brut in a can. All are delicious and made from a variety of California grapes.
Catherine Rickman is a writer and professional francophile who has lived in Paris, New York, and Berlin. She is currently road tripping around Europe, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman.