The Margaritas Are Coming Home

The Cinco De Mayo Edition

Wotcha! It’s Cinco De Mayo tomorrow and it’s time to bring the margaritas home.

In this week’s edition: 

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

  • 🥃 SPIRITS: Trejo’s Spirits - Tequila Alternative

  • 🍹 SODA: De La Calle - Tepache

  • 🍹 MIXER: SAYSO - Skinny Spicy Margarita

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Read time: 7 mins 09 sec


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Virginia Commonwealth University students, Catherine Emblidge and Celeste Chance have launched Everything But The Booze, a line “shocktails”. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: California’s Firestone Walker are launching their 8ZERO5 to add to the brewery’s flagship 805 line. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Is this a first? Mash Gang have teamed up with Commonwealth Brewing Company to produce the same beer with alc (8.2%) and without (0.5%). (link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Pentire have announced the launch of their new RTD canned Margarita. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Pilot Project Brewing is working on a new nonalcoholic brewery called Years. (link)

  • 🍺 BEER: Corona Cero will be the official NA beer of the Paris Olympics. (link)


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 Spirits


  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Calories: 5

  • Sugar: 1g

  • Serving: 25 fl.oz. (2 fl.oz. per individual serving)

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • Total Wine • Amazon • other online stores

  • Price: $36.00

The ModSub thoughts: One thing I always look forward to when visiting Los Angeles is lunch at the Original Farmer’s Market. The depth of cultural cuisines and the hustle and bustle of the place are always such a treat. On my last few visits, I have inevitably gravitated towards Trejo’s Tacos. The food is good, and the experience always leaves me with a full tummy and a smile on my face.

Danny Trejo’s film career, stretching back nearly forty years, is prolific, to say the least—I counted 71 films (including voiceovers and documentaries) in the last 5 years alone. In his spare time, he’s also the face and owner of a restaurant business with five locations around LA, along with a host of spin-off businesses including coffee, beer, donuts, cookbooks, and nonalcoholic spirits. 

I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on a bottle of Trejo’s Spirits Tequila Alternative for months, and I had high expectations when I finally got around to popping the cork. Immediately strong notes of earthy vanilla and citrus filled my nostrils, and I knew I was in for a treat. Taken neat, your taste buds take over from where your nose left off—a wash of citrusy marzipan with that aforementioned earthiness tempering the sweetness and rapidly enveloped in a peppery kick as it trickles down your throat.

Does it taste like a shot of tequila? The jury’s still out for me on that. Maybe it resembles more a shot of tequila and triple sec combined, but if there are no mixers at hand, I’d be more than happy to sip this straight. The strength in this spirit, though, is more for the cocktails it can enhance.

I followed the recipe on the back of the bottle, and it was, without question, one of the best NA margaritas I have had since I quit drinking alcohol two years ago. Mrs. ModSub looked like she’d won the lottery when she tried it! Hardcore tequila fans will likely not share the same excitement as we both do about the tequila, especially if they are also still drinking the real thing.

However, though I have by no means exhausted the supply of NA tequila alternatives out there, this is the first time I can say that I’ve finally found a tequila substitute that allows me to enjoy a quality margarita again. For that, I’m more than thankful. 

How does Trejo’s Spirits describe their Tequila Alternative: This unique spirit has been crafted to capture the essence of a Tequila with flavors that are distinct and complex and make the perfect Agave based cocktails like Margaritas, Bloody Marias and Palomas.

Learn more about Trejo’s Spirits at


  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Calories: 40

  • Sugar: 6g

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • store locator • widely available online

  • Price: $2.79-$3.99 (per can)

The ModSub thoughts: The origins of tepache date back to the Mayans, with recipes handed down family lineages for generations. Much like Italian grandmothers pass down their tomato sauce recipes, Mexican grandmothers teach their tepache recipes, which they learned from their own grandmothers. With each passing of the baton, there comes an opportunity to tinker with different ingredients at hand.

When the Spanish arrived, they introduced pineapples, transforming the drink from a fermented corn base to one made from the rinds and cores of the spiky tropical fruit. Adding cinnamon, pepper, piloncillo, and some secret family spices sets you on your way to making tepache. Today, you’ll find tepache sold in street carts and restaurants all across the country.

The founders of De La Calle, Rafael Del Campo and Alex Matthews, bonded over their mutual love for the drink. Campo had grown up watching his grandmother make it in his family home, while Matthews fell in love with it during his many visits to Mexico City. Introduced by a mutual friend, they quickly teamed up and traveled around Mexico, gathering recipes from region to region.

Launched in 2021, De La Calle's growth has been explosive, with major retailers like Target, Whole Foods, and Sprouts Farmers Market all stocking the line. With ten flavors now on the market, it's hard not to find at least a couple that would have your name on it. While Mango Chili and Tamarind Citrus are enticing, I opted for one of the founder’s favorites, the Cactus Prickly Pear.

Prickly pear is an unusual but nonetheless appealing flavor, a strawberry-melon like combination with a sweetness that is subtly rounded out by a hint of bitterness. These flavors are understated but not lacking depth, making the drink even more appealing. A touch of carbonation is added to the mix, resulting in a wonderfully rewarding experience.

The soda space is flooded with countless options, many of which are unremarkable. However, it seems De La Calle may have hit upon a winning formula by bringing their interpretation of this traditional Mexican drink to the north. It has certainly captured my attention and there’s no doubt I’m going to be exploring the rest of the line. Cheers to that—Salud por eso.

How does De la Calle describe their Cactus Prickly Pear: Delicate sweetness with earthy undertones, the prickly pear’s tart brightness pairs with our Tepache to make it as delicious as it is stunning. The vivid pink hue hints at the stunning painted sunsets of the mexican desert.

Learn more about De La Calle at

NA Cocktail


  • Brooklyn, NY

  • Calories: 20

  • Sugar: 1g

  • Serving: 8 Cocktail Sachets (1 sachet per drink)

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • store locator • widely available online

  • Price: $14-$16 (per packet of 8 sachets)

The ModSub thoughts: When I picked up a packet of SAYSO Skinny Spicy Margarita at Sprouts Farmer’s Market about a month ago, I was filled with skepticism. "How can this possibly be a thing?" I thought. Silly really, coming from someone whose country strongly believes that the ills of the world can be solved by sitting down and discussing things over a cup of tea. If a teabag has essentially propped up an entire nation for over a century, then why can’t a sachet reinvent how we create cocktails?

The two founders, Chloe Bergson and Alison Evans, met at Harvard Business School, and SAYSO started as a pre-semester startup class. Their goal was to provide a cocktail mixer that, when added to spirits, actually resembled the mixed drinks they were both used to enjoying in bars.

Too many off-the-shelf cocktail mixers were sugar-laden and ultimately poor substitutes. The wave of new seltzers hitting the market at the time also didn't scratch the itch. So, they decided to make their own—first in a mason jar, and then transitioning to adding dehydrated ingredients to a teabag-like sachet.

The original idea was to create a cocktail mixer for spirits, but it turned out that SAYSO’s customers opened the founders' eyes to the additional potential in the adult non-alcoholic cocktail space.

Here’s how it works: You combine 3 fl.oz. of cold water with 1.5 fl.oz. of spirits (in my case, I added the Alternative Tequila from Trejo’s) and wait 3 minutes. That’s it! Oh, you are supposed to swish the sachet around a bit to ensure all the contents dissolve. If you don’t have any non-alcoholic tequila, just add an extra 1.5 fl.oz. of water.

The results are nothing short of astounding. I’m here to tell you that what comes out of this 3-minute exercise, is a non-alcoholic margarita every bit as good as anything you are going to get in 95% of bars out there. I’d say 100%, but I’m hedging my bets.

The taste? Lime is predominant with a hint of orange and a pleasant ginger jalapeño kick. There’s a freshness to it though that really would have people fooled that you had squeezed the limes yourself. I removed the sachet after the suggested steeping time, but leaving it in while you drink will enhance the flavors and the spice.

I’m completely blown away by the Skinny Spicy Margarita. Between the extraordinary flavor these sachets deliver and the ease with which you can slip one or two into your pocket or purse to enjoy pretty much anywhere, SAYSO has nailed it. Well played.

How does SAYSO describe their Skinny Spicy Margarita: Our best seller: a low calorie, low sugar Skinny Spicy Margarita. Steep in cold water and spirits for 3 minutes, swap spirits with more water for a mocktail. Certified: Vegan, Gluten-free, Non-GMO, and Kosher. Sachets are NOT individually wrapped. They are "naked" inside a resealable pouch, eliminating packaging waste.

Learn more about SAYSO 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!

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