By Sally French | NerdWallet
In Orlando, Florida, there’s no scarcity of bars that’ll make you a mocktail.
Many are virtually actually designed for the under-21 crowd, together with “The Simpsons”-inspired Flaming Moe. The effervescent, citrusy, nonalcoholic concoction is served at Universal Studios Florida.
But within the metropolis recognized for being family-friendly, there’s a completely totally different set of bars particularly not for teenagers, comparable to The Bandbox, a Twenties Art Deco-inspired speakeasy. Customers should be 21 or older, and whereas there’s no official gown code, there’s a extra elegant vibe at this intimate lounge.
The Bandbox proprietor, Kevin Zepf, emphasizes that his bar doesn’t serve conventional mocktails, which are usually ultra-sweet and comprise elements like juices, syrups and sodas.
In distinction to classics like Shirley Temples, virgin Piña Coladas and even the Flaming Moe, The Bandbox serves nonalcoholic craft cocktails utilizing various or distilled spirits.
The inside of The Bandbox in Orlando. (Photo by Hamilton Nguyen)
When The Bandbox opened in 2022, it turned Orlando’s first spirit-free cocktail-tasting lounge and bottle store. While it’s Orlando’s first, it’s simply one in every of a rising listing of bars, resorts and cruise strains worldwide that serve high-end, alcohol-free cocktails.
The similar month that The Bandbox opened, the ette-brand resort in Orlando opened close by. The ette resort doesn’t serve any alcohol (although friends can pack their very own). Unlike the myriad kid-friendly resorts close by serving up Mickey waffles, the 126-room luxurious property distinguishes itself with quiet grounds and a serene spa — a pointy distinction to Walt Disney World only a mile away.
It’s not simply Orlando that’s booming with nonalcoholic drinks. In Portland, Oregon, a metropolis recognized for craft beers, the nonalcoholic scene is brewing due to manufacturers like Portland-based Lolo Hops. Lolo Hops makes use of Pacific Northwest-grown hops to make glowing nonalcoholic drinks that promote at markets all through town.
Napa Yard – Oxbow Gardens. (Photo by Sally French)
In Napa, which is way and away California’s prime wine area, locals flock to Napa Yard – Oxbow Gardens, which is a beer backyard type restaurant simply on the sting of downtown Napa. Though the spot does have a sturdy beer backyard and cocktail menu, there are only some wines on the menu — and folks flock there for causes that don’t entail ingesting in any respect.
There’s a yard for teenagers and canines to play all types of garden video games, plus they host pig roasts and paella events. Rather than alcohol, the beer backyard’s crown jewel is the meals that comes straight from the backyard, like fried zucchini blossoms.
Food (not alcohol) is the star at Napa Yard – Oxbow Gardens. Clockwise from prime left: fried zucchini blossoms, miso dip & spring crudites, grilled burger, fish tacos, roasted cherry tomatoes & sourdough. (Photo by Sally French)
Big journey manufacturers are becoming a member of within the booze-free pattern, too. This spring, Carnival Cruise Line’s Alchemy Bar launched a menu of seven cocktails made with nonalcoholic spirits. Note that you just’ll nonetheless should be at the very least 21 years previous to get in.
With the brand new menu, Carnival has claimed the title of first cruise line to supply a full vary of mocktails. Similarly, bars inside the most recent Hilton model, Tempo by Hilton, serve what the corporate calls “free-spirited” cocktails. Carnival and Hilton use merchandise from nonalcoholic spirit-maker Lyre’s as main elements, reasonably than juices and sodas seen in typical mocktails.
Who are alcohol-free drinks for?
Nonalcoholic drinks aren’t essentially designed only for individuals who received’t drink alcohol. In reality, 78% of people that say they drink no- or low-alcohol drinks additionally partake in full-strength alcohol, in accordance with IWSR, an organization that provides information and evaluation on the worldwide beverage alcohol market.
While simply 18% of people that drink nonalcoholic drinks are individuals who chorus from ingesting alcohol altogether, IWSR says that determine is rising, led by youthful (drinking-age) customers.
“People come in for a variety of reasons, from women who can’t drink because they are pregnant, to folks looking for a sober-curious experience,” says The Bandbox’s Zepf. “Because we don’t offer alcohol, it takes pressure off those that don’t like to be pressured into drinking.”
The Flaming Moe, as pictured in “The Unofficial Universal Theme Parks Cookbook.” (Photo courtesy of Ashley Craft)
Nonalcoholic craft cocktails are pricier than most different nonalcoholic drinks.
The Flaming Moe — which “The Unofficial Universal Theme Parks Cookbook” writer Ashley Craft concocts utilizing three elements: Fanta Orange, fruit punch and dry ice — will be bought inside Universal Studios Florida for $9. It features a collectible cup that’s specifically designed, which Craft says is critical given the dry ice compartment.
While $9 is excess of the roughly $4 the identical restaurant prices for merely a Fanta Orange, it’s nonetheless lower than the $12 value for a draft beer.
When crusing with Carnival, cruisers can decide in to limitless soda and juice packages, beginning at $9.50 per day. But the bundle that features cocktails begins at $59.95 per day — and that’s whether or not you go for alcoholic or nonalcoholic cocktails.
At the Alchemy Bar on Carnival Cruise Line, you’ll be able to order nonalcoholic drinks such because the Spicy Chipotle Pineapple Martini. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Why are trip spots adopting alcohol-free choices?
Whether or not value is a motivator, individuals eat nonalcoholic drinks for loads of causes.
“The pandemic changed the mindsets of Americans to reevaluate their drinking habits and the money spent on going out and drinking,” Zepf says. “Folks were searching for healthier alternatives during the pandemic, and that’s when the nonalcoholic drink industry really started.”
With alcohol comes the danger of a hangover — an consequence that mixes poorly with vacationers who would possibly trek miles by means of theme parks and be tossed round on thrill rides the subsequent day.
“As the theme-park capital of the U.S., where experiences and entertainment are paramount, Orlando is such an untapped market when it comes to the world of nonalcoholic drinks,” Zepf says.
There’s additionally the truth that extra firms now are manufacturing nonalcoholic spirits. Seedlip, which payments itself because the world’s first distilled nonalcoholic spirits model, continues to be comparatively younger. Founded in 2015, Seedlip manufactures the three top-selling nonalcoholic spirits on Drizly, an e-commerce alcohol market.
Drizly recorded a 50% enhance in gross sales year-over-year for its nonalcoholic spirits in 2022. But whereas curiosity in booze-free drinks is rising, the market continues to be small. Drizly says nonalcoholic spirits accounted for simply 0.06% of its total 2022 gross sales.
“We’re not trying to get you to give up drinking,” Zepf says. “We’re trying to help you see what alternatives are available, and our goal was to create a space that is a ‘can’t-miss’ destination in Orlando for both locals and tourists.”