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Buzzed without the Booze?

A review of drinks that make big claims on giving you the buzz of a cocktail without any alcohol

On my journey to drinking a little less, I've been exploring the new wave of "adaptogenic" drinks that claim to give you the effects of imbibing without any of the alcohol. This new trend of euphoric and nootropic drinks sound great - but is it all just marketing fluff?

In 2022, the sales of non-alcoholic beverages increased about 30% compared to 2021, according to data provided by NielsenIQ. At the same time, there’s also been growing interest in “functional beverages,” or nonalcoholic drinks that make health claims like improving your mood, decreasing anxiety, or providing a euphoric feeling. If you're looking for a more in-depth read, check out this article by the Washington Post, it's got a lot of great information.

Below is a review of 7 different "mood-altering" drinks I tried, and an honest review of how I felt after drinking each.

Buzzed without the booze? Let's find out.
Buzzed without the booze? Let's find out.

Co-founded by Bella Hadid, Kin Euphorics has made a big splash in the market as more and more celebrities launch their own line of drinks. I tried the Bloom flavor and really enjoyed it - floral and not overly sweet. It's infused with adaptogens, nootropics, and botanics like L-Theanine to "awaken passion, conjure a calmer mind, and unlock heart-opening joy." Oh brother. I don't know about all that... but I did feel slightly relaxed after having one. Nothing earth-shattering, but a tasty drink and nice way to unwind in the evening.


Crisp & Crude offers a variety of flavors and one line of canned drinks with just botanicals, and another line with 20mg of hemp extract in each can. I enjoyed the Mellow Mule with hemp extract, which has a nice flavor of juicy pineapple, ginger heat, and muddled mint. I felt chilled out after one can. Again, nothing too major, but a nice evening beverage.


A citrus and bittersweet cocktail with an excellent flavor of grapefruit, agave, lime and hibiscus. Slightly high in sugar, 17g in one can, and I didn't feel much after drinking this one, but it was damn tasty. The drink is infused with a proprietary blend of adaptogens: L-Theanine, Ashwagandha, and American Ginseng. They did tell me that the effects of the adaptogens are most amplified when you have Parch a few times a week, and I would happily drink them more often if it was a bit more affordable. However, this company is Hispanic and woman-owned, which I love to support my dollars with.

A selection of "functional" drinks on the market.
A selection of "functional" drinks on the market.

Several people recommended this brand to me, and I really dragged my feet because of the price tag on these ones. But now that I've tried them, I see the light. I sampled four flavors and #2 was my favorite - a spicy pineapple margarita meets the smoldering ginger and lime of a Dark and Stormy. It's infused with damiana to help you unwind, and after drinking a bottle (2 servings) I really felt the effects of this one. I had a similar sensation to having a small glass of wine, and my face actually starting numbing a little. I read that #2 can can warm your cheeks and give you a pleasant flush because it contains herbs that can relax your muscles. This is one of the top choices for me.


Hiyo offers a "functional" seltzer at the lowest price point, and this was the only one I was able to find in a grocery store (my local co-op, PCC, carries it). I grabbed a couple cans for $3.50 each and enjoyed the Blackberry Lemon flavor quite a bit. It's citrusy, slightly sweet with a mild berry flavor. At only 30 calories and 4g of sugar a can, it's light and easy to drink. I didn't feel any effects of this one, though they claim to, "provide a similar stress-relieving, mood-boosting effect that people usually seek from alcohol, but from healthy, functional ingredients instead." The only effect I felt was being well-hydrated, which isn't a bad thing. But let's be honest - is a $3.50 seltzer really going to give you the same buzz as alcohol? I think not.


One of the newest canned drinks on the market, Bennu offers an "Unwind" beverage to relax your mood and help your sleep. I enjoyed both flavors, Dragonfruit Chamomile and Blueberry Lavender, and I actually did experience an incredibly deep and rejuvenating sleep. I was so surprised I tested it again two nights later, and it had the same effect on me. Each can is loaded with adaptogens and 500 mg of Kava.

Starts at $30/jar

Our Glass is a low-dose, Delta-9, hemp-infused beverage enhancer that makes you feel relaxed and social while promoting restful sleep. Some call this a "California Sober" product, and it's been a helpful and fun alternative to drinking for me.

Watch me review these on Instagram and send me message with some of your favorite n/a products, I'd love to hear from you. Happy clean drinking!


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