Sober October: the brands behind a new wave of “social drinking”
From adaptogens and antioxidants to cannabinoids, we discover the alcohol-free brands using science-backed ingredients to elevate our evenings
With sober and sober curious drinkers increasing in numbers, there’s a new influx of brands offering pick me up or health-boosting products designed for “social drinking”.
As research continues apace and we learn more about the working of our brain, clever companies are using new scientific discoveries to formulate spirits that interact with our biology to enhance mood, or bring benefit to our bodies and minds.
Whether a fan of adaptogens and antioxidants, CBD’s chemical sway, or discovering the neurological role of gaba (more on that shortly), we take a look at some of the new names to know:
Focusing on active ingredients, Three Spirits botanical alchemy blends adaptogens, nootropics, herbs, distillates and ferments to create a concise range of mood-supporting drinks. The B-Corp brand use high-grade, ethically sourced ingredients to maximise functional potency and flavour, and promises to pick you up, calm you down, and even reduce inhibitions…
Party starter Livener is a potent pick-me-up packed with natural caffeine, apple cider vinegar, fiery ginger, guava and fresh watermelon. The Social Elixir promises to lift spirits and deepen connections, with flavours of spiced apple and cacao, and active ingredients such as lion’s mane, yerba matte, and damiana; while Nightcap offers a relaxing end to the evening, blending adaptogenic ashwaganda, calming lemon balm, and smooth vanilla and hazelnut notes.
Sentia proudly sets itself apart in a category alone, positioning itself as the world’s first, science-backed functional spirit. Purported to give a social buzz while sober, without the depressant affects of alcohol, the plant-based formula seeks to encourage activity in the brain’s gaba neurotransmitter, which is newly understood to be behind the ‘good’ alcohol experience.
The brand’s two delicious plant-based blends – Sentia Red and Sentia Black – offer mindful drinkers a healthier alternative to traditional spirits, being low calorie, packed with antioxidants and natural ingredients.
With spiced berries and herbal notes reminiscent of a chilled mulled wine, Sentia Red is refreshing and bright, while Sentia Black is peppery and smoky – a delicious warming spirit for an autumn evening with friends.
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Having successfully shaken off its illicit image, CBD has been gaining popularity for some time as a means to wind down – whether looking to relieve anxiety, ease pain, or aid sleep. Interacting with interceptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD has no psychoactive properties however is also a mild anti-inflammatory, making it a great all-rounder to boost wellbeing and mood.
At the forefront of this trend, Trip offers a range of potent infused oils and drinks in vibrant pastel hues. Flavours include Lemon Basil, Elderflower Mint and, our favourite, the fiery and fruity Peach Ginger.