From Pink Vinyl To IPA

Plus Surely Blanc and Tea & Tonic

Wotcha! I have some great drinks for you this week: an IPA that I think will be a huge hit, an innovative white wine blend with bold flavors and a delicious quick fix for that leftover tonic water before it goes flat.

Thanks to those of you who gave your opinion on including sugar content in the weekly recommendations. I’m going to extend the survey for one more week in case people missed it. Have your say.

Reader Survey: Would you like me to add information about sugar content for each drink?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

In this week’s edition: 

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

  • 🍷 WINE: Surely - Blanc

  • 🍺 BEER: Deschutes Brewery - Fresh Squeezed Non-Acoholic IPA

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Lady Grey Tea and Tonic

First time reading this? (Join here).

Alright, off we go!

Read time: 5 mins 38 secs


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: Maine’s Kit NA Brewing has launched Get Set Wheat and switched up the packaging on the rest of its line. (link)

  • 🍷 WINE: Italy’s celebrated Prima Pavé wine will now be available through Williams Sonoma. (link)

  • 🥃 SPIRITS: The U.S. will finally be able to purchase Sentia Spirits from the U.K. through the company website and Amazon. (link)

  • 🥃 SPIRITS: Exciting news from PARCH as they release a new drink - Sunrise Supertonic. (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 Beer


  • Bend, OR

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: This beer is currently less than a week old and is just making it out of the warehouse! Check or your local bottle shop in the coming weeks!

  • Price: $14 (6-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: As I sat in the Deschutes Brewery Pub earlier this week, I was transported back to a cold, wet Monday morning in April 1989, standing outside a record shop in Swiss Cottage, London. I was there in a solitary line of one, damp but eagerly awaiting a highly disinterested and vaguely irritated store employee to open the store so I could get my hands on a limited edition version of The Cure’s "Lullaby" in pink vinyl.

Back in those days, I would pour over the liner notes on record sleeves, hoping to discover some hidden gem. Where was the song recorded? Who was the engineer? What did they eat for lunch that day? As a music-obsessed 22-year-old, these details were of life-changing importance.

Thirty-five years later, I couldn't help but smile when, as the friendly bartender went to dispose of the can from which she had just poured a gorgeous pint of Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA, I stopped her. "Any chance I could take a look at the can, please?" Some things never change.

But beyond what was written on the can lies the true gem – the beer itself. It is perfection. According to the brewery, they have invested $5 million and five years of R&D into creating this IPA and presumably other beers to come, and it shows. From its vibrant orange-rust coloring, crisp citrus flavor, and hoppy depth that continues to echo around the mouth long after each sip.

I’m no beer industry expert, and I’m no betting man, but I’ll stick my neck out right now and say that Deschutes has a huge hit on their hands. This beer is a new benchmark. As I said, it’s perfection.

How does Deschutes Brewery describes their Fresh Squeezed Non-Alcoholic IPA: So close to the original you will have to check the can! Our non-alcoholic brewing process helps us preserve the bright, juicy aromas and flavors of orange and passionfruit that you enjoy with the “OG” Fresh Squeezed.

Learn more about Deschutes Brewery at


  • Austin, TX

  • Calories: 25

  • Serving: 25.4 fl.oz. (5 fl.oz per individual serving)

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: • store locator • online stores

  • Price: $26.99

The ModSub thoughts: Shirley Temple. Shirley. Surely.

That’s pretty much how Ryan Hanson and his co-founder, Justin Mares, came up with the name for Surely Wines. Despite later discussions in those early months about a name change, the very definition of the word became a reflection of the company the pair were building. So it stuck. Besides what was more important to them was producing a wine product that people could get excited about.

Recognizing the difficulty that nonalcoholic winemakers face with the preconceived expectation of what, say, a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir should taste like, Surely opted to create a unique product with all the attributes of great-tasting wine but without the weight of consumer labeling. The first hurdle cleared, the second was creating a wine with great aroma, mouthfeel, and taste—all things that can suffer when the ethanol is removed during the dealcoholization process. Plus, not adding a heap of sugar to hide the wine’s shortcomings.

So Ryan and his team hired a wine chemist based in Napa Valley to essentially build back what was missing by adding organic teas, botanicals, and natural ingredients. They launched their first wine, the Sparkling Rosé, in November 2020, and sold out of their first run of 250 cases in 30 days. They knew they were onto something. Four years later, Surely has released a whole host of sparkling wines, a still red that barely touches the shelves before it’s sold out, and Blanc, the white blend that's sitting on my kitchen counter as I type.

Blanc blends Riesling, Symphony, and Gewürztraminer grapes from California with botanicals and natural ingredients. The nose gives off a delightful juniper and elderflower aroma, and you could briefly mistake this for a gin cocktail. However, the first sip dispels that notion, with apple, pear, and botanicals coming into play and even a little hint of herbs.

To borrow a word from the press release that accompanied the wine, it’s unconventional, in the best possible way. It’s a unique wine experience that checks all the boxes but on its own terms. If this is the future of wine without alcohol, then count me in.

How does Surely describe Blanc: Refreshing & Complex. Bold, bright notes of juniper, yuzu and botanicals layered atop pear, apple and elderflower. Hints of hops, basil and spice round out the finish.

Learn more about Surely at

NA Cocktail


  • Simply Recipies

  • Calories: 86

  • Serving: Recipe makes 10 drinks

  • ABV: 0%

The ModSub thoughts: Mrs. ModSub and I have recently been on a bit of a “use up stuff in the fridge” kick. One of my bad habits in this regard is leaving half-empty bottles of tonic water to go flat in the fridge.

So this morning, I set about looking for some good options for what to do with my half bottle of tonic water. As my search took me in various directions, one popped out at me that looked like it had my name on it: the Earl Grey Tea and Tonic

It was also super easy to whip up, and for such simple ingredients, it’s a surprisingly complex drink. The black tea and bergamot are given a little extra citrus boost from the lemon, and the tonic water while the bitterness is rounded off by the sugar. 

After reading through some comments on the recipe, I decided to experiment a bit:

  • I used half the sugar to make the simple syrup, which reduced the viscosity but more importantly, the sugar!

  • I also added 6 peppercorns to give it a little spice.

  • I liked the idea of adding some lavender flowers but had none on hand, so I added a couple of dashes of lavender bitters from All The Bitter.

  • I switched out the Earl Grey tea bags for Lady Grey for the increased citrus flavor.

So good! Chances are, you already have these ingredients in your kitchen. Give it a try this weekend and let me know what variations you come up with!

Learn more about Simply Recipies at

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!

Did You Miss The Last Newsletter?

Join the conversation

or to participate.