The Non-Alcoholic Bottle Our Wine Expert Is Stocking Up on Before the Holidays
As a wine professional, there’s nothing I love more than sharing great wine. But part of being in the hospitality industry is making everyone feel good, whether they drink alcohol or not. If you don’t drink, you’ve probably had enough Martinelli’s to fill a swimming pool and you’re over it. But the beverage world is finally starting to notice that non-drinkers’ palates are just as sophisticated as their wine-sipping counterparts.
When my wife and I first started dating, we chuckled over the fact that her parents and much of her extended family don’t drink for religious reasons, and here their daughter was getting serious with someone who basically has Gruner Veltliner running through her veins. Because wine is such a passion of mine, one of the ways I show affection is by sharing wine I love with the people I love. So at first, I wondered what else I could bring to gatherings that would match a special wine. My father-in-law makes amazing pies, so dessert was out, and fancy candles didn’t seem special enough.
I quickly became the designated mocktail creator, and I came up with some good ones (I made a mean apple rosemary drink for Thanksgiving one year)! But what’s great about wine for group dinners and holiday gatherings is that you can just pop and pour without mixing or fussing with syrups and garnishes. (And again, it’s also something you can hand to a gracious host.) So when I found Töst, a sparkling non-alcoholic sparkling beverage that tastes like it’s for grownups, I was thrilled — especially since, by that time, I was looking for a non-alcoholic option to serve at our wedding. Something that didn’t feel like an afterthought.
Of course, there are plenty of carbonated beverages that can substitute for Champagne or sparkling wine. But many them, like the aforementioned Martinelli’s or sodas, are sweet in a one-dimensional way. Töst gets its flavors from ginger, white tea, and white cranberry, and it has a hint of bitterness and spiciness to balance its sweetness. And clocking in at 45 calories per eight-ounce serving, it has fewer calories than most cocktails or wine and less sugar than most sodas.
The packaging is also modern and sophisticated-looking. The bottles looked right at home at the bar along with the Austrian wines we served at our wedding. And in addition to the wine-like 750-milliliter bottles pictured above, it comes in 12-ounce bottles that come in four-packs as well. What’s key about Töst is that it’s marketed as a sophisticated beverage for adults that’s made to pair with food, just like wine. You don’t feel like you’re drinking a ginger ale or a Shirley Temple. In our culture, we mistakenly associate things like wine and spirits with sophisticated adulthood, which is obviously silly. People who don’t drink deserve more than a Diet Coke with nice meals.
Töst isn’t the only player in the growing category of grownup nonalcoholic beverages. It happens to be a favorite of mine, but I’m so glad it’s not the only one. This holiday season, I’ll be stocking up on both alcoholic and non-alcoholic bubbles, so everyone can toast with something delicious.