sparkling wine without the sparkle
I've never been able to truly grasp the idea of a dry January living in New York; however, I do believe in dry-fertility (I just made that up). I took this as a joke until my infertility journey became very real, and I have since been on the hunt for the perfect non-alcoholic beverage. Allow me to explain.
First and foremost, you read the intro correctly, fertility journey! I have no plans of ignoring sharing a topic that many others may be going through. In part because every fertility support group I find feels like a mental death trap. 100's of women struggling. It's not fun to read at all. You start googling every condition you can find, then your mind does a 360 with every doubt in the world, and don't get me started on the YouTube videos. I instead share my journey to win. To do all I can to get to the end goal, and if it makes you laugh along the way, trust me, it has me cracking up at times.
After trying to conceive naturally for six months or so, keep in mind the doctor will generally tell you if you are over 35 not to go longer than six months without help. I recall hearing the doctor the first, second, and third time tell me, "you should stay away from alcohol altogether if you're trying to get pregnant." In my head or maybe not, I think I pretty much said, "girl, bye." How many insta-pregnancies happen from a night out, night-in, and so on? This information couldn't possibly be right. But at some point, you start to realize with the investment that comes along with IVF, taking a break from the booze after a year-long pandemic and being on lockdown seems like a small task and one that may help the scale as well.
For anyone else also on this search for the perfect non-alcoholic beverage, what I can tell you is that there is NOTHING that is going to be able to substitute the "ah" feeling you get after a long hard day of work with a glass of wine or a spirit, however, after testing out four brands, I did manage to find one that did just enough to keep me satisfied.
Scrolling through Instagram, I came across Seedlip. Some of you may be saying this is old news; however, before starting my TTC journey, I had no intentions of saying goodbye to Prosecco or a proper Gin & Tonic.
Traveling to England is like the second home I wish I had, so I was thrilled to find out that Seedlip is a British company that makes plant-based liquor substitutes for use in non-alcoholic mixed drinks. Seedlip describes its products as "the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirits."
Seedlip had me at hello with the packaging, branding, and of course, "calorie-free." I tried the Gove 42, and it is supposed to be a sophisticated, bright, citrus blend of Mediterranean Orange, Lemon Peel, Lemongrass, and Ginger with a dry finish. I'll give them the sophisticated, but more like sophisticated water/mixer?! For $32, you get 23.7 fl oz / 700 ml bottle. I went through it very quickly, trying to find the je ne sais quoi about it. It just wasn't there for me. I will say, though, I enjoyed playing around with it and would use it as a zero-calorie mixer.
Next up, Drink Monday! The breakdown on this...
FREE OF ALCOHOL, FULL OF SPIRIT
MONDAY Gin is a complex, aromatic blend of juniper, natural botanicals, citrus, and spices that satisfies like a classic London Dry, finishing with the familiar kick of your favorite spirit. I have to agree with this. It smelled like Gin; it tastes very similar to Gin, just without the Gin. The packaging is also gorgeous, but of course, you're paying for it at $39.99 for 750 ML which is literally almost the price of a 750 ML bottle of Hendrix, depending on where you live.
You can't go wrong with ZERO CARBS, NO SUGAR, 0 CALORIES, and VEGAN. The downfall of this is after a while; it no longer provided the same intensity as it did with the first glass. If you're looking for something to take the cravings away, I'd recommend this. It's a nice addition to the household for guests who don't drink. I'd even go as far as saying they got it right by calling it Drink Monday unless your Thursday treats you like it's Monday all over again.
Moving right along. TÖST was created to fill the immense space when consumers are looking for more than sparkling water when they are not drinking alcohol. Hm! Yeah, I don't get that at all. THE TÖST EXPERIENCE
is supposed to be equally as satisfying as a daily refreshment as it is paired with fine dining. I still didn't get that. Refreshing, yes. A replacement for alcohol, um I plead the fifth there. My main issue with TÖST is that there are far too many products already on the market that TASTE very similar. It reminded me of a peach sparkling cider. Neutral partisan on this product.
As my search went on, I was beginning to think, how many more brands do I have to go through to at least be satisfied enough to want to stock up on a few bottles? And then, finally, a sigh of relief came along with the brand FRE. Again, I may a bit late to the game with many of these but better late than never.
FRE claims to be the leading alcohol-removed wine brand for nearly 30 years. Their goal is to help you to cruise through the annual challenge of a dry January without sacrificing the wine and cocktail experience that you love.
FRE alcohol-removed wines are sourced from premium California vineyards and crafted using traditional winemaking practices, making them the perfect companion all Dry January long. I agree with this completely. I tried the sparkling brut, and it was the closest thing to make me feel like I was sipping on some Prosecco. The taste, the sparkle, it just worked! I only needed one glass and was completely satisfied. Unfortunately, out of all the brands I tested, this packed the biggest punch on calories which may be why it tastes so damn good; however, they redeem themselves when it comes to value. Non-alcoholic drinks shouldn't cost more than the real thing. At least you would assume so.
You can try FRE's Sparkling Brut for under $10 and as the weather changes and my fertility journey continues, I am looking forward to trying some of their other products, including the Rose.
Final thoughts, it's hard to completely throw in the towel on my search with so many brands on the market and friends constantly sending new ones your way. I am curious about Athletic Brewing Companies' non-alcohol beers and a few more that have piqued my attention.
Stay tuned for part two of this!