Softly, softly: time for non-alcoholic happy hour

Break for hangover-free happy hour with our edit of non-alcoholic drinks and deliciously sober cocktails 

Artet non-alcoholic cannabis drink with glass against white background: part of a round-up of non-alcoholic drinks
(Image credit: Artet)

An alcohol-rich cocktail has always been a popular choice for those marking special occasions or joining up with friends, but those who avoid, or are cutting down on the hard stuff are still invited to the party, and the non-alcoholic drinks market has opened up to reveal a well-stocked bar of delicious botanical elixirs and cordials. The new generation of soft drinks offers an exciting spectrum of styles and flavours – increasingly sophisticated and with their own characters rather than pale imitations of the alcoholic spirits we know.

Here’s a few non-alcoholic drinks from the Wallpaper* bar…



Amass Riverine non-alcoholic spirit

(Image credit: Amass)

‘Clean’ botanics company Amass, already known for its dry gin and botanic vodka, has now launched Riverine – a non-alcoholic spirit that still delivers the complex depth of flavour that discerning consumers expect. Says Morgan McLachlan, Amass’ co-founder and master distiller, ‘Riverine is inspired by the dense coniferous forests of the Canadian Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. The result is a nuanced, sophisticated spirit in its own right.’

Distilled and bottled in British Columbia, Riverine contains 14 natural botanicals, each one individually created using a hydrosteam distillation process. Its crisp forest flavours range from vibrant citrus, sorrel and coriander to bright notes of sumac and cool mint. Lingering herbal notes of juniper, parsley and rosemary complete the Riverine experience, which may be enjoyed in cocktails, or simply over ice with a splash of tonic.


Artet non-alcoholic cannabis drink

(Image credit: Artet)

Artet is a delicious non-alcoholic aperitif that features cannabis. Made in California, the state that leads the way with all sorts of products offering alternative ways to enjoy THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis), each 50ml shot of Artet provides 2.5mg of THC – a moderate dose that is just enough to give a warm and convivial buzz that has nothing to do with alcohol.

A blend of cannabis and eight botanicals, Artet is inspired by traditional Italian-style liqueurs and aperitifs and has the classic, complex taste of bitters. Bright citrus notes are layered over the spicy, earthy, flavours of ginger, juniper, and cardamom, creating a memorable and elegant drink all by itself, on the rocks, or as the perfect cocktail ‘spirit’. For a more immediate and convenient non-alcoholic cannabis experience, the Artet team has also introduced canned cocktails featuring its flagship aperitif.


wilfred's non-alcoholic orange and rosemary aperitif in glass bottle against beige background

(Image credit: Wilfred’s)

Recalling a time when aperitif drinking was gaining in popularity, Wilfred’s elegant, art deco-inspired bottle will put you in a suitably cocktail-hour frame of mind. The deliciously bittersweet aperitif contained within is designed to be served with tonic water as a refreshing, spritz-style drink.

Using only natural ingredients, the luscious, deep-red concoction gathers keynotes of bitter orange, rhubarb, herbaceous rosemary, and a hint of spicy clove, and may also be made into a warming non-alcoholic mulled ‘wine’, perfect for colder months.


ghia red non-alcoholic drink against red background and next to cocktail glass

(Image credit: Ghia)

The designer behind Ghia, Willo Perron, was inspired by traditional Mediterranean aperitif brands to create an alcohol-free alternative full of vibrant flavour. The visual identity of the brand, taking cues from the hospitality signage of the region and Italian postmodern design, feels both familiar and exotic, and is evocative of bustling bars on balmy Mediterranean evenings.

Satisfying complex, Ghia features earthy botanicals (including gentian root, which gives Campari and similar aperitifs their distinctive bitterness), and summery floral notes, plus the clean cut of citrus. It may be served with ice and soda or tonic, or as a cocktail ingredient.


aplos non-alcoholic drink in brown bottle against beige background

(Image credit: Aplós)

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has firmly emerged as an alternative to a relaxing alcoholic drink. Aplós has created a bold and aromatic non-alcoholic spirit that offers a new way to unwind. Each serving contains 20mg of organically grown hemp extract, with all the calming, mood-lifting effects of the cannabinoid spectrum but without the psychoactive THC.  

Aplós uses nano-emulsification technology to create smaller, water-soluble particles that allow for rapid and efficient absorption of the active ingredient. Taste though, does not play second fiddle to the hemp factor in this delicious non-alcoholic spirit – nuanced layers of flavour include notes of cardamom and rosemary, led by citrus, and it has the versatility to be served neat, on the rocks, in a spritz, or mixed in a cocktail.

Jukes Cordialities

jukes non-alcoholic drink mixers in three wine glasses against white background

(Image credit: Jukes Cordialities)

Jukes Cordialities are a set of drinks that offer the experience of drinking a fine wine, but without the alcohol. Matthew Jukes used the expertise of over 30 years in the wine trade to create a non-alcoholic drink, using only fruit, vegetables and natural flavourings, which undergo a gentle maceration with organic cider vinegar. The resulting cordials are complex and aromatic, with the satisfying mouthfeel and perfume of fine wine.

Jukes cordial flavours range from the bright and fruity to more earthy, mellow, notes, and they are designed to be mixed with still, sparking or tonic water, in proportions that accord with the individual drinker’s tastes.

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms