Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Beverages That Aren't La Croix
When mere artificially flavored seltzer just doesn’t cut it, seek out these spirit-free alternatives.
Yes, summer is about enjoying longer days, pleasant hikes, and cool bodies of water. It can also be about finding reprieve from the damning heat, whether it be posted in front of your AC unit, sitting under a particularly bushy tree with blankets of shade, or sipping on something thirst-quenching and refreshing. This is where this list of refreshing non-alcoholic beverages comes in.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a frosty margarita or pitcher of fruit sangria in the summer, but alcohol doesn’t really lend itself to hydration. If you’re feeling an afternoon slump and want to sip on something bright and bubbly, or are looking for bottled elixirs to bring to your next outdoor picnic, try out one of these canned or bottled beverages instead. We’ve got leisure sodas, sparkling tea, and kombucha in the mix, so there’s something sippable for everyone.
Casamara Club is a non-alcoholic, botanical soda inspired by the “Italian leisure culture” and made from sparkling water and amaro bitters. You can expect a drink that is herbaceous but relatively light—a twinkling afternoon pick-me-up you should definitely stock in your fridge if you’re a fan of fragrant and bubbly cocktails but aren’t trying to dive into spirits at noon. Casamara Club comes in four flavors: Alta, a citrusy soda; Onda, which is sage-forward; Capo, a honeyed and floral spritzer; and Sera, which is cinnamon-infused and dessert-like.
Price: $48 for a case of 12.
Recess is a chiller version of La Croix. It has been there for me in the middle of stressful work week and a moment or two of calm in an otherwise hectic existence. Each can of this sparkling water contains adaptogens, pretty much the stuff in herbal medicine that's intended for soothing, and hemp. Recess is mellow, with fruit-forward flavors like blood orange and pomegranate hibiscus, and meant to leave the drinker feeling “calm, cool, and collected.”
Price: $49.99 for a 12-pack.
After eating a greasy burger or fat-streaked ribs, there’s just something about washing it all down with kombucha that feels healing. And my summer plans definitely include eating more burgers, ribs, and hot dogs. It might be all in my head, but I keep reaching for Health-Ade thanks to its robust flavor and refreshing qualities. Health-Ade’s kombucha is handcrafted and fermented in small, glass vessels for a kombucha that tastes clean, with distinctive flavors. Cayenne Cleanse does not skimp on the heat, which is fantastic for a spice-obsessive like myself.
Price: $49.95 for a variety 12-pack.
Teakoe started out simply producing teas, but the Colorado-based manufacturers also make canned fizzy versions brewed from sustainably sourced tea leaves and the mountains’ snow melt. It’s lightly sweetened with raw honey and has just the right amount of caffeine—between 55 to 130mg, depending on the flavor—to replace your afternoon cup of coffee. The line also happens to come in fun flavors, like cayenne ginger and peach lavender, made with either black tea, green tea, or white tea. If you’re a tea enthusiast, this is a refreshing option.
Price: $30 for a 12-pack.
Better Booch’s kombucha comes in cans, so it’s a little bit easier for transporting in your backpack, lining your picnic basket, or stacking in your fridge. But beyond its portable vessel, the flavors are bright and nuanced, like Citrus Sunrise, which consists of grapefruit, sage, and pu-erh tea, and Cherry Retreat, a blend of cherries, vanilla, and bergamot. They even have a horchata flavor (but it’s still kombucha, so don’t expect the creamy sweetness of your usual cinnamon-filled rice beverage). Better Booch was the first kombucha I had ever tried, which has led me to what will continue to be a life-long love affair.
Price: $34 for a case of 9.
If sparkling water and tea had a baby, it would be named Minna. This bubbly tea hybrid comes in citrusy flavors with zero sugar, and has a gentle caffeine boost we could all use when the afternoon rolls around. Don’t expect the syrup sweetness of a Snapple or dark tea flavor of Lemon Liptons. Minna is light but it’s refreshing, and perfect for when you can’t decide between sparkling water or tea. Just have both.
Price: $35 for a 12-pack.
One of my favorite summer memories when I was a kid was going to Hollywood for Pink’s Hot Dogs and sipping on a peach soda. Why is peach not a more prevalent soda flavor? It’s sweet and familiar and inexplicably juicy. United Sodas, a fledgling brand of leisure sodas that clocks in at 30 calories per can and has chic minimalist packaging, has a peach flavor because they know the world needs it. The adult sodas also come in more interesting flavors, like strawberry basil and lemon verbena, and are caffeine-free so you can enjoy them at any time of day.
Price: $34.99 for a 12-pack.
Olipop has reimagined what a soda can be. With classic flavors like orange cream, cola, strawberry, and root beer, Olipop satisfies my cravings for soda with only a fraction of the calories (a can of vintage cola-flavored Olipop clocks in at 35 calories yet somehow has 9 grams of fiber in it). These prebiotic sodas are good for your gut, highly sippable, and delicious to boot. It’s the perfect summer soda to reach for.
Price: $35.99 for a 12-pack.
There has been a huge influx of Asian-inspired sodas and seltzers within the past year. Moshi specializes in yuzu-flavored seltzers and soda, so depending on if you’re in the mood for something sweeter or something lighter, there’s a glass bottle available for everyone. Moshi’s yuzu beverages come in three flavors: original, white peach, and red shiso and apple. For those who have never had yuzu, the citrus fruit is bursting with tart flavors—it’s like a lemon, mandarin orange, and bitter grapefruit united to create this perfect, refreshing bite.
Price: $49.99 for a 12-pack.