As we say goodbye to another strange year, most of us will likely see it with some sort of celebration – a muted celebration, probably, given the latest wave of COVID-19 in Maine, but a reason to clink glasses and sing nevertheless.
But while some may want to drink champagne and other alcoholic drinks on New Years Eve, many others will choose a non-alcoholic libation as the beverage of choice for the midnight hour. While all the attention is usually on cocktails, mocktails are an almost equally popular drink.
In honor of those who choose not to drink or can’t, or who started their Dry January challenge a little earlier, here are six Maine options for ringing in the New Year without a drop of booze to be found.
The most obvious choice for a soft drink is soda, and there are two major manufacturers of soft drinks right here in Maine. Maine Root, bottled in Portland, is one of the East Coast’s most popular craft sodas, with its spicy ginger ale that makes a fantastic Dark and Stormy or Moscow Mule. But the company’s other flavors like orange, blueberry, cream, black cherry and cola are just as tasty, as is its bottled lemonade. It is available in supermarkets, stores, restaurants, and bars across the state.
Cap’n Eli, also based in Portland, is one of the country’s first modern artisanal soda lines, founded in 1996 alongside its sister brand, Shipyard Brewing Company. Its root beer is a Maine classic, as are its other flavors, such as strawberry, blueberry, cherry and ginger. It’s also available in supermarkets, restaurants, and bars across the state.
And, of course, there’s always Moxie. Love it or hate it, it’s the state of Maine soft drink, and although it was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2018, and is actually manufactured and bottled. in New Hampshire, it will always be associated with the State of Pine.
Seltzer and teas
For something a little less sweet, there are several Maine options for seltzer, teas, and less sweet drinks. Brunswick-based Green Bee makes both honey-based sodas and sodas. Their honey sodas all contain between 60 and 130 calories per bottle and are available in natural flavors like cider, green tea, blueberry, lemon, and ginger, while their seltzer comes in three flavors (ginger, lemon, and ginger). blueberry) and all contain 15 calories or less. It is available in stores and cafes across the state.
Vena’s Fizz House products
This Portland bar and beverage company manufactures an extensive line of pre-made mixers, syrups and cocktail mixes or non-alcoholic cocktails that will take your home mixology to another level. Much of Vena’s offerings can be made alcohol-free, and the company also has step-by-step instructions on their website on how to make it, along with other mocktail recipes. You can purchase Vena products online at venasfizzhouse.com.
Technically, kombucha is not alcohol-free, as it typically contains between 0.5 and 1.5 percent alcohol. That’s such a low number that it would take several bottles of booch to drink quickly to get a buzz, meaning that for people who only accidentally abstain from alcohol, it’s probably safe to drink. Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland makes several delicious products, including its original kombucha, in flavors like ginger, blueberry, chaga chai, and toasted oak, and seasonal flavors like cranberry and elderflower, most of which are available at Hannaford supermarkets statewide. It also makes Jun, a probiotic green tea sweetened with honey and flavored with botanical ingredients.
A relatively new addition to the Maine craft beer scene, non-alcoholic beers are gaining popularity across the country among people who love the taste of beer, but don’t want alcohol. KITna Brewery in Portland – Maine’s first alcohol-free craft brewery – debuted this fall, while Woodland Farms Brewery in Kittery also makes non-alcoholic beers.
What better way to enjoy a drink that tastes of Maine than with blueberry juice? Wyman’s, Maine’s venerable wild blueberry processor, makes a plethora of blueberry products, including their blueberry juice, which is 100% fruit. It’s good on its own, but it’s also great added to seltzer water, or made into a punch with other mixers like lime or lemon juice, ginger beer, or iced tea. Right now it’s only available on the Wyman website, but it ships from Maine, so it shouldn’t take too long to get to you in the state.