Alcohol-Free Travel: How to Find and Enjoy Non-Alcoholic Drinks Abroad

Traveling is an adventure, an exploration of new cultures, cuisines, and experiences. Traditionally, experiencing local beverages has been a significant part of this journey. However, for those who choose to abstain from alcohol, either permanently or temporarily, the options can seem limited. Fortunately, the global rise in demand for alcohol-free alternatives has led to an explosion of non-alcoholic beverages that are just as sophisticated, flavorful, and enjoyable as their alcoholic counterparts. Read on and we will guide you through finding and savoring non-alcoholic drinks during your travels, ensuring that your experience is both refreshing and enriching.



Understanding the Alcohol-Free Trend

The alcohol-free movement is gaining momentum worldwide. Whether for health reasons, personal preference, or simply to enjoy a break from alcohol, more people are seeking high-quality, non-alcoholic options. The beverage industry has responded with an impressive array of choices, from non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails) to dealcoholized wines, sparkling wines, and even 0% Guinness. These beverages offer the complexity and pleasure of traditional drinks without the alcohol content.


Key Terms to Know

Before diving into specific drinks and destinations, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some key terms in the alcohol-free beverage world:

  • Non-Alcoholic: This term generally refers to beverages that contain no more than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). This trace amount is often a byproduct of the fermentation process but is low enough to be considered alcohol-free.
  • Dealcoholized: These drinks are typically wines or beers from which the alcohol has been removed. They start as alcoholic beverages and undergo a process to extract the alcohol, retaining much of the original flavor.
  • Mocktails: These are non-alcoholic versions of cocktails, crafted with the same attention to detail and flavor complexity.
  • Spritz: Traditionally an Italian cocktail made with prosecco, a bitter liqueur, and soda water. Alcohol-free versions maintain the effervescence and bitterness using non-alcoholic sparkling wine and other ingredients.



Finding Non-Alcoholic Drinks Abroad


Research and Preparation

Local Research: Before you travel, research the local beverage culture and available non-alcoholic options. Use online resources, travel forums, and social media to discover popular spots for alcohol-free drinks.

Apps and Websites: Utilize apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and specialized non-alcoholic drink directories to find bars, restaurants, and cafes that offer a robust selection of alcohol-free beverages.

Language Considerations: Learn key phrases in the local language to ask for non-alcoholic options. For example, in Spanish, you can say "sin alcohol" to indicate you're looking for alcohol-free drinks.


At the Destination

Engage with Locals: Ask locals for recommendations. They can often point you to hidden gems that may not be well-known to tourists.

Explore Specialty Bars: Look for bars that specialize in craft cocktails, as they are more likely to offer creative mocktails. Some cities even have dedicated alcohol-free bars.

Visit Local Markets: Farmers' markets and local food markets often have vendors selling unique non-alcoholic beverages made from regional ingredients.

 Wilfred's Aperitif


Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Try


Non-Alcoholic Cocktails and Mocktails

Non-alcoholic cocktails, or mocktails, are a fantastic way to enjoy the artistry of mixology without the alcohol. Many bars and restaurants around the world are embracing the challenge of creating sophisticated and delicious mocktails.

Seedlip Grove 42 Citrus Spritz (UK): Seedlip is a pioneer in the non-alcoholic spirit industry. Their Grove 42 is a zesty, citrus-forward non-alcoholic spirit that makes a perfect base for a refreshing spritz. Combine it with soda water and a twist of orange for a delightful, alcohol-free experience. Here at VE Refinery we offer the PENTIRE Seaward as an alternative. 

Virgin Piña Colada (Caribbean): While visiting the Caribbean, indulge in a virgin piña colada. Made with fresh pineapple juice, coconut cream, and crushed ice, this tropical delight offers the same creamy sweetness as the original without the rum.

Virgin Mojito (Cuba): The classic mojito, with its refreshing combination of mint, lime, sugar, and soda water, is just as enjoyable without the rum. It's a perfect drink to cool down with in the Cuban heat. Alternatively add a dash of PENTIRE Adrift to offer a botanical twist.

Alternatively you could look for a ready to pour cocktail such as PENTIRE Spicy Margarita. With sea botanicals and agave this is a delicious and healthy alternative.



Dealcoholized Wine and Champagne

Dealcoholized wines and champagnes are an excellent choice for those who enjoy the flavors and sophistication of wine without the alcohol.

Eins Zwei Zero Riesling (Germany): This dealcoholized wine retains the crisp, fruity flavors of a traditional Riesling. It's an excellent accompaniment to a wide range of dishes, from seafood to spicy foods. Alternatively a healthy alternative from Thomson and Scott NOUGHTY Dealcoholized Blanc available here at VE Refinery offers a beautifully crafted Chardonnay/Chenin still white wine from South Africa.

Pierre Zéro Rosé (France): For those who enjoy sparkling wines, the Pierre Zéro Rosé offers a delightful blend of red fruit flavors and a crisp, effervescent finish. Perfect for celebrations or simply enjoying a sunny afternoon in a French café. Our Noughty Organic Sparkling Rosé or REAL Drinks Peony Blush also offer a delicious non-alcoholic alternative for those rosé all day moments.

Natureo Muscat (Spain): Produced by the renowned Spanish winery Torres, Natureo Muscat is a dealcoholized white wine with floral and fruity notes. It's a great option for wine enthusiasts exploring Spain. If a sparkling alternative is more your thing, try the Noughty organic non-alcoholic sparkling Chardonnay for a delicious champagne alternative. 


Non-Alcoholic Beers

The craft beer movement has also embraced the demand for non-alcoholic options, resulting in high-quality brews that cater to beer lovers.

0% Guinness (Ireland): Guinness, known for its rich, creamy stout, offers a 0% ABV version that maintains the iconic flavor and texture. Enjoy it at a local pub in Ireland for an authentic experience.

BrewDog Nanny State (Scotland): BrewDog, a leader in the craft beer scene, offers Nanny State, a hoppy, non-alcoholic ale. It's packed with flavor and is a great choice for beer aficionados.

Heineken 0.0 (Netherlands): Heineken's non-alcoholic beer is widely available and provides the familiar taste of the classic lager. It's a reliable option when exploring cities across Europe.




Enjoying Alcohol-Free Drinks in Different Regions


Europe's diverse culinary traditions and sophisticated beverage culture make it an exciting destination for alcohol-free travelers.

Italy: In Italy, the tradition of aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks) is a perfect opportunity to explore non-alcoholic options. Enjoy a non-alcoholic Spritz made with dealcoholized sparkling wine and a splash of soda water, garnished with an orange slice. Here at VE Refinery our Wilfreds Spritz Alternative or PENTIRE Coastal Spritz is an excellent alternative.

France: French cafés often serve a variety of non-alcoholic options. Try a dealcoholized red wine paired with a cheese platter or a refreshing citron pressé (lemonade). Our Thomson & Scott Noughty Dealcoholized Rouge is the perfect dealcoholized red wine.

Germany: Germany's beer culture includes several high-quality non-alcoholic beers. Pair a 0.0% ABV beer with traditional German fare such as pretzels and sausages.



Asia offers a rich tapestry of traditional and modern non-alcoholic beverages that are integral to its diverse culinary landscapes.

Japan: Experience Japan's tea culture with a variety of green teas, including matcha. Many restaurants also offer non-alcoholic versions of sake and umeshu (plum wine).

Thailand: Enjoy Thailand's vibrant street food scene with a fresh coconut water or a refreshing Thai iced tea made with condensed milk and spices.

India: India's array of non-alcoholic drinks includes lassi (a yogurt-based drink), masala chai (spiced tea), and coconut water, all perfect accompaniments to the country's rich cuisine.



From the bustling cities of North America to the vibrant cultures of South America, there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages to discover.

USA: The craft cocktail movement in the United States has embraced mocktails with enthusiasm. Visit a speakeasy in New York City or San Francisco for inventive and beautifully crafted non-alcoholic cocktails.

Mexico: Try traditional Mexican drinks such as horchata (a rice and cinnamon drink) or agua fresca (fruit-infused water) while enjoying the country's bold flavors and vibrant street food.

Brazil: Sample Brazil's refreshing non-alcoholic caipirinha, made with lime, sugar, and soda water, as a perfect complement to a sunny day on the beach.



Tips for Enjoying Non-Alcoholic Drinks While Traveling

Stay Hydrated: Traveling can be dehydrating, so always have water with you. Many non-alcoholic beverages can be quite rich or sweet, so balancing them with plenty of water is essential.

Experiment and Be Open-Minded: Embrace the opportunity to try new and unusual non-alcoholic drinks. You might discover a new favorite that you can recreate at home.

Communicate Your Preferences: Don’t hesitate to ask bartenders and waitstaff about their non-alcoholic offerings. Many are happy to create something special if they know your preferences.

Share Your Experience: Engage with other alcohol-free travelers by sharing your discoveries on social media or travel forums. Your insights can help others enjoy their alcohol-free journey.

Plan Ahead: Some regions or establishments might have limited non-alcoholic options. Researching and planning your stops can ensure you have enjoyable alcohol-free experiences throughout your trip.

Traveling alcohol-free does not mean missing out on the joy of discovering new flavors and beverages. The growing popularity of non-alcoholic drinks has led to a wealth of options that cater to every taste and occasion.