The days were long in lockdown. As a result, people drank substantially more than usual and I’m totally guilty of that. We were all just trying to get by. In many ways, we still are. But the reality is not everyone drinks alcoholic drinks. In fact, pre-Covid, the trend was showing that younger people (millennials) were actually consuming less alcohol across the board, opting for creative and flavorful mockatils or alternative beverages like this grapefruit-thyme soda.
Non-alcoholic mixed drinks continue to be a hot trend right now, as Americans are increasingly conscious about what they put in their mouths — and not just carbs and sugar. My mocktail section has been extremely popular in recent years and if you believe what the media is saying, it’s the hip and sober crowd that’s responsible for this.
Across the board, drinking tastes are actually changing. For the first time in almost 25 years, wine consumption has declined, falling in 2019 by nearly 1% in volume, according to global alcohol tracker IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. And those that are still drinking alcoholic beverages, are looking for something with more bubble or bite, rather than alcohol.
Over the past decade, a tide of artisanal alcohol businesses popped up to try and met the swelling millennial market promoting booze-based socializing, including microbreweries and distilleries, as well as high-end cocktail bars and wine shops targeting a younger clientele, with fresh tastes. But the 2018, Nielsen data showed that sales growth across alcohol categories began slowing. In 2019, Bon Appétit estimated that the market for low- or no-alcohol beverages could grow by almost a third over the next few years and they are proving correct.
No matter what your angle in abstaining from alcohol is, I salute you. It’s an impressive endeavor and one that has lasting legs in the generations to come. Early reports are showing there is less underage drinking happing across the board and if this is the byproduct of the mocktail craze, I say hallelujah to that!
This grapefruit-thyme soda is light, fruit, and effervescent. With subtle herbal notes and just a touch of sweetness, it’s a keeper no matter what your drink constitution may be.
- 3 thyme sprigs, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoon agave
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- sparkling mineral water
- Step 1 In a cocktail shaker add the thyme leaves from one sprig and the agave. Use a muddler to muddle the thyme leaves slightly.
- Step 2 Add the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and a generous handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into cocktail class. Add some crushed ice, top with mineral water and garnish with the additional fresh thyme sprigs.
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