The Aperitif with the Fiery Bite

Plus a Belgian White and Mystery Red

Wotcha! Welcome to all the new subscribers this week and thank you to those of you that recommended your mates to the newsletter. It is, as always, very much appreciated.

Quick update on the “sugar” survey. Thanks to all of you who voted in the poll. There was a significant response on this with over 80% of you wanting me to include info on the sugar content of the drinks. I will endeavour to include that whenever the information is available to me.

In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - NonAlcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Ghia - Le Spritz Sumac & Chili

  • 🍺 BEER: Force Majeure - Triple

  • 🍷 WINE: Saint Viviana - Cabernet Sauvignon

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Read time: 6 mins 34 secs


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍷 WINE: Sparkling Rosé is the first venture into the wine category for NA cocktail company Free AF. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: UK brand Caleno have added a Mojito to their line of RTD canned cocktails. Watch this space for seeing this on U.S. shelves. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Just in time for Paddy’s Day, Go Brewing have launched Bad Arse Irish Red in a limited run which, as I’m typing, has just sold out ☹️. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: With spring around the corner (🙏🏼) Untitled Art have brought back their Orange Peel Wit. Check out their IG for a 20% discount if you order by the end of this weekend. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Self Care Brewing have just released Citra Circus Cerveza. (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: I’m ready to drive across the country to get my hands on the new Espresso Martini from Little Saints. (link)


NA Drinks

In each edition of The Modern Substitute, ON THE BAR focuses on three drinks you should be on the look out for. We’ll give you a quick rundown of our thoughts on the drink, who makes it, where to buy it or, in the case of mocktails, how to make it.

Please note: due to popularity or limited runs, some drinks may be out of stock - please check with the beverage companies for updates.

NA Cocktail


  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Calories: 60

  • Sugar: 7g (0g added)

  • Serving: 8 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • store locator • widely avalable online

  • Price: $5 (per can)

The ModSub thoughts: It's been 26 months since I decided to go alcohol-free, and during that time, Ghia Soda has become a staple in our household. While I'm constantly on the lookout for new nonalcoholic beverages to try, there are some tried-and-true favorites that I always keep on hand, and Ghia Soda is one of them.

Drawing inspiration from the aperitifs, namely spritzes, she would enjoy with friends and family in her native France, Mélanie Masarin set about making a nonalcoholic aperitif, first and foremost, for herself.

Inspired by the aperitif culture of her French upbringing, Mélanie Masarin embarked on creating a nonalcoholic aperitif tailored to her tastes. Her mission: to solve the dilemma of the first drink of the evening, offering a pre-dinner treat that satisfies the palate while gracefully navigating social expectations. Masarin believed that for those avoiding alcohol, once you conquer the first drink the rest of the drink becomes so much easier.

Despite launching Ghia in June 2020 amidst the challenges of the pandemic, Masarin's venture has flourished. Over four years, the product line has expanded to include two aperitifs, Original and Berry, as well as four ready-to-drink cans of Le Spritz in various flavors.

In July of last year, Sumac and Chili joined the lineup as the fourth Le Spritz flavor, and I'm currently enjoying one as I type. The introduction of this new flavor was a year-long process, involving Ghia's dedicated community of fans in taste-testing mystery cans and gauging various levels of heat. Their feedback led to a 40% increase in the chili content in the final recipe.

The ingredients mix the Original Aperitif with sparkling water, sumac and the aforementioned chili. The result is bold and tantalizing, filling your mouth with a tart, sharp fruitiness before leaving a bitter tang of spice and heat that lingers deliciously on the tongue. It’s got some bite, for sure. If a spicy margarita is your thing, this little can has everything you need. 

How does Ghia describe Le Spritz Sumac & Chili: For those who like it Hot. Our signature bitter aperitivo spritzed with tangy and satisfyingly sour sumac, a passionate pairing to the classic heat of chili. Sharp and fiery like a night at the Cha Cha.

Learn more about Ghia at

NA Beer


  • Belgium

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Sugar: Unknown

  • Serving: 11.2 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0.5%

  • Buy: Amazon • Walmart • Local bottle shops • Online stores

  • Price: $4.00-$5.00 (per bottle)

The ModSub thoughts: I've been hearing nothing but praise for Belgium's Force Majeure brewery, so I had high expectations when I grabbed a bottle of their Triple (Tripel) last week.

The story behind Stijn Panis’ reason for creating alcohol free beer is a familiar one. While training for an triathlon he needed to cut back on his beer intake but, of course, found little in the way of good options. It took a couple of years but by 2019 he had released his first two beers, a Blond and a Tripel. 

The Tripel's roots trace back to Belgium's Westmalle Trappist Monastery, with their Westmalle Tripel setting the standard. Its name comes from the strength markings the monks used on barrels: Single, Dubbel, Tripel. You get the idea.

Strange to name it a Tripel then when there is no alcohol. From an interwiew with Panis in 2019, his goal was to create the flavor profile of Tripel, the alcohol part, for him, didn’t matter. While some will miss the 9% ABV, those of that don’t, get a truly wonderful Belgian beer out of the deal. 

It’s a full-bodied and full-flavoured beer, of that there is no question. Smooth, with a fine balance between floral and fruit, a little spice and a lovely sweet maltiness. The pour is a pretty one with a handsome froth to head and a deep golden color. Think somewhere between a pale ale and a golden ale. 

Lately I swear every beer I open just seems to get better and better, but this one is truly in it’s own special category. I think even the most skeptical NA beer naysayer would have a hard time criticizing this beer. Bravo Force Majeure. 

How does Force Majeure describe their Triple: A flavor marathon where your taste buds finish after a soft start with a full, spicy aftertaste. Even the most avid specialty beer connoisseurs give in to this. Three grains, triple flavor.

Learn more about Force Majeure at


  • Pasa Robles, CA

  • Calories: 10

  • Sugar: 1g (1g added)

  • Serving: 24.6 fl.oz. (individual serving - 8 fl.oz.)

  • ABV: 0.5%

  • Buy: • available in online outlets

  • Price: $22.99

The ModSub thoughts: Of all the categories in the nonalcoholic space, wine is undoubtedly the trickiest. Within wine, sparkling wine has won over many people, with numerous options being very well received. However, still wine, particularly red, presents a tougher challenge in winning over consumers.

However, the landscape appears to be evolving, with numerous global brands dedicated to perfecting nonalcoholic wines that authentically replicate their alcoholic counterparts. You are never going to win everyone over, and I maintain that a personal mindset shift is needed if you are truly going to embrace wines in the NA space.

With that said, I have been enjoying a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon from Saint Viviana, a proprietary wine from the online NA store, The Zero Proof. There is very little information available to form a backstory, but seemingly this red, along with its sister release Sauvignon Blanc, are the result of the year-long labors of winemakers and a master sommelier in California.

So that just leaves the taste. I noticed a couple of comments suggesting the wine will benefit from aeration, so I let it breathe while I made dinner. There was a strong plum aroma from the pour, and the first taste is a swirl of blackberries and blackcurrants with a hint of vanilla and a little spice. The tannins give it the gentlest of bitter exits along with a welcome respite from the dark fruits. It’s a tasty red for sure, and while I could see this passing the test for the glass-of-wine-after-work crowd, for me, it is perfect for accompanying the Sunday roast or a nice bowl of spaghetti pomodoro.

Much like virtually all the NA wines out there, some will like this Cab, and others will most definitely not. But if you are like me and in the exploratory phase of NA wines, you should give this one a try. Give it a try; you might be pleasantly surprised.

How does Saint Viviana describe their Cabernet Sauvignon: Saint Viviana Cabernet Sauvignon is from Paso Robles, California. This full-bodied Cab has a bright nose of ripe blackberry and plum. Coffee, vanilla, and toast notes round it out. The fruit continues in the palate with black currant, dark cherry, and baking spices. The wine is ripe and rich with a dusty cocoa powder finish and a palate clearing, robust tannin structure.

Learn more about Saint Viviana at (site is currently not working)

If you enjoyed this edition of The Modern Substitute then please forward it to a friend who might be interested in NA drinks.

Cheers! See you next week!

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