Food Business News featured a trend article on the Mocktail Movement.
Craft cocktails on the lighter side - that's what the no- and low-alcohol better-for-you beverage movement is about. These are spirited beverages that may be consumed without fear of a hangover the following day. Often lower in calories, mocktails and "lighter" adult-only beverages are being shaken up by bartenders to serve patrons who are losing interest in drinking to get drunk but want to explore sophisticated, often exotic-flavored beverages in a social setting. The beverages also are appearing in ready-to-drink, single-serve formats that provide convenience and portion control.
"There is a sober-curious movement that is a natural outflow of plant-based eating and lifestyle diets," said Lori Smith, creative director, ZoomEssence, Hebron, Ky. "The idea is that you can get a 'buzz' by eating and drinking in a more conscious way.
"We are seeing more apothecary-like flavor combinations appearing in R.-T.-D. beverages. These sort of new-age, health-infused natural flavors incorporate herbs, citrus and edible florals."
A challenge in formulating many no- and low-alcohol beverages is compensating for the sweetness that many of the traditional cocktails possess with the use of fruit juices and simple syrup.
"Sugar plays a part in how the flavor is perceived," said Holly Mason, senior applications manager, ZoomEssence. "This can be overcome by the use of high-intensity artificial or natural sweeteners, along with various gums or texturizing agents to provide mouthfeel. Sweetness enhancers may assist with imparting more sugar-like sweetness."
Low-alcohol and malt beverages tend to need a boost in different spirit notes to better mimic traditional cocktails. The processing of the R-.T-.D. beverages creates challenges, too.