For every new wine, beer, or canned cocktail that hits the market, it seems as if there are two or three non-alcoholic choices joining them on the shelves. The non-alcoholic beverage industry is booming, as more and more people are experimenting with drinking less — for Dry January, and beyond. There’s even a name for devotees of this movement: sober-curious.
But while non-alcoholic options abound, and they’re certainly pretty enough for your bar cart, they don’t come cheap. That’s why we’re letting you in on a super-easy, super-tasty, non-alcoholic drink that also happens to be super-cheap. In fact, you may already have the ingredients for in your kitchen right now.
The Easiest, Cheapest Non-Alcoholic Cocktail
Bits and bubs is short for bitters and bubbles, or the combination of club soda and aromatic bitters. It’s easy to make — just pour club soda into an ice-filled glass, add a few shakes of bitters, and sip. It’s tasty, thanks to the complex flavor profile of bitters. And it’s refreshing, due to the effervescence of club soda.
It’s also customizable, meaning you can use whatever bitters you happen to have on hand. Or feel free to experiment: The fun lies in the wide variety of flavors of bitters out there. Beyond traditional Angostura and Peychaud’s, which are aromatic and herbal, I love the brightness of grapefruit bitters and the spice notes of ginger bitters.
High-quality brands, such as Bitterman’s, Fee Brothers, and Hella Bitters range anywhere from $10 to $20 for a 5-ounce bottle, but that bottle will take you far since you’ll only use a dash or two per occasion — you’ll get 100 or more drinks from it.
A Note on the Definition of “Non-Alcoholic”
One important thing to note is that the majority of bitters do contain anywhere between 35-45% alcohol. You’ll only add a few dashes or shakes to your club soda, which is less than 1/4 of a teaspoon. As a result, there’s only a trace amount of alcohol — about .36% ABV — in a drink. For a commercial beverage to be labeled “non-alcoholic”, whether that’s non-alcoholic beer or kombucha, which naturally contains trace alcohol due to the fermenting process, it must contain less than .5% ABV. In other words, bits and bubs comfortably falls within the category.
However, if you are looking for a 100% alcohol-free drink, there are a few non-alcoholic bitters out there, such as selection from Dram, if preferred.