Winning Over New Orleans

Plus My First Japanese NA Beer and a Dancefloor Cocktail

Wotcha! After I stopped drinking a couple of years back, my sugar cravings went through the roof. In the last few months, I’ve been working on addressing that and I’m paying more attention to my sugar consumption.

I currently do not have sugar content listed when I recommend drinks and I’m wondering if this is something that is important to you. If enough of you respond to the survey below, I will add it, if you don’t I will assume you are in the “no” category. Please do let me know. This resource is for YOU!

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

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In this week’s edition: 

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

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Mockly - Baron Von Blue and Madam L’Orange

  • 🍺 BEER: Hitachino Nest Yuzu Ginger Non Ale

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: Curious Elixir No. 2

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Read time: 6 mins 51 secs


Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍺 BEER: An exciting partnership between England’s Mash Gang and Pilot Brewing over here in the U.S. will see Mash Gang’s beers stateside in the next few weeks. (Link)

  • 🍹 COCKTAIL: The folks over at Pernod-Ricard are making a push to bring Suze Tonic Zero to U.S. which will music to the ears of French liqueur-lovers. (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 Cocktails


  • NOLA

  • Calories: 120 (BVB), 60 (ML’O)

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • store locator • Amazon Prime

  • Price: $15.99 (4-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: The late, great Anthony Bourdain once said, “There is no place on Earth even remotely like New Orleans.” From meeting the Spice Girls, to being transfixed (in motion*) by Nathan & Zydeco Cha Chas, to sitting through a storm from the Gods with a transformer exploding mere feet away and a bird dropping out of the sky like a Looney Tunes cartoon, my three visits to the Crescent City have been anything but dull.

So I knew when I came across the Mockly booth at the Mindful Drinking Fest in D.C. last month, it was likely I would walk away with something to be excited about. Founded by the husband and wife team, Aimée and Tariq Sedky, the couple worked with renowned New Orleans mixologist Jesse Carr to create recipes for a range of unique ready-to-drink cocktails.

They launched their first alcohol-free products in early 2021, selling out of their initial 12,000 unit run in just four months. No mean feat considering they were only selling online and to local markets, restaurants and bars in a city where alcohol is woven into the cultural history. Three years later, their cocktails can be found throughout the southeast and Texas, and it's only a matter of time before they are on shelves throughout the country.

I picked two of the four cocktails to try this week, with the other two saved for a later date. First to hand was the Baron Von Blue, a lightly carbonated blueberry and rose spritz. This had a rich fruity flavor, and I liked how the faint hint of mint takes things off in a completely different direction. While Mocklys can be enjoyed with or without the addition of a spirit, I added some NA gin to my second glass, which was perhaps my preference.

The second one was a proper head-turner. The Madam L’Orange has an orange juice base that is delightfully blanketed in a mezcal-like smokiness with just a tinge of spice and sourness. Complex but in no way overpowering, this one got my full attention without the distraction of a spirit. I could come back to this again and again.

Mockly is part of a small group of beverage creators that are not trying to recreate what has already come before. They are innovators in a blossoming space. I would wager they have a bright future ahead of them and which can only be good news for us. Go find some!

*I know.

How does Mockly describes their two drinks:

Baron Von Blue: Baron Von Who? This guy might be the lowest form of British elite, but to us, he’s royalty. The blending of rose and blueberry is stately bittersweet, while noble notes of mint and lime elevate an effervescent finish! Subtle, smooth, and spiked with delusions of grandeur — just like Baron von Blue.

Madam L’Orange: Ignite your senses with Madam L'Orange, a tantalizing symphony of flavors that dances on your palate like a flickering flame. The essence of smoked orange sets a bold and sultry stage, unfolding into notes of cinnamon and allspice. The curtain closes with a whisper of golden honey and ginger, creating a rich finale to the citrus’ overture.

Learn more about Mockly at

NA Beer


  • Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

  • Calories: Unknown

  • Serving: 11.2 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0.5%

  • Buy: A little harder to find. Available online on a number of sites. Try your local bottle shops or Asian grocery stores.

  • Price: Prices vary considerably with anything from $4.50 to $6.50 a bottle. It’s a treat beer but very much worth it!

The ModSub thoughts: I'd be lying if I didn’t say I’m quite excited about this one. Not only is it the first nonalcoholic beer from Japan that I have tasted, but it also turns out to be a bit of a corker. The ridiculous thing is, it's been in my fridge for nearly two months, and I keep reaching for it, and then thinking, “Eh, maybe later.” If only I’d known sooner I had such a treasure gathering dust.

Located to the northeast of Tokyo, the Kiuchi Brewery dates back to the early 1800s, with a focus on producing sake and other traditional spirits. Fast forward to 1994, where the repeal of the Beer Tax Law, which had been in effect for close to a hundred years, marked a pivotal moment. This law had favored big corporate breweries, stifling competition from smaller regional players until its repeal leveled the playing field.

The change in law allowed Kiuchi to expand into beer sales, and by 1996, they had released their first three beers. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength and become renowned for combining European and Japanese brewing styles to produce some highly-praised beers.

I haven’t been able to nail down exactly when Hitachino Nest Yuzu Ginger Non Ale was first launched by the brewery, but from what I can gather, it was late 2019. It is also, again as far as I can gather, their first and only NA beer.

Upon pouring, the aroma is a delightful blend of floral and citrus notes. However, it's the initial sip that truly grabs you. The exceptional taste is undeniable, but it's the intriguing blend of flavors that gives pause for thought. Is it a beer infused with ginger and citrus, or perhaps a ginger beer with a unique beer-like quality? With zesty citrus undertones and lively carbonation, it boasts a malty richness and a satisfyingly hoppy conclusion. Then again, one might argue it's a reinvented shandy, featuring real ale and complemented by a hint of lime juice for a refreshing touch.

You know what, who cares. It’s flipping amazing. One more addition to my ever-expanding list of favorites.

How does Hitachino Nest describes their Yuzu Ginger Non Ale: Unfortunately, despite wide availability of the Non Ale, there is no mention of it on their website.

Learn more about Hitachino Nest at

NA Cocktail


  • New York, NY

  • Calories: 40

  • Serving: 11.5 fl.oz. (two servings per bottle)

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: • store locator • available at online stores

  • Price: $40 for 4 bottles (8 servings) or $98 for 12 bottles (24 servings) - Monthly Club Members discount available

The ModSub thoughts: Continuing in the ginger realm, it’s time to talk about Curious Elixir No. 2. It’s been a good few months since I wrote about No. 1, and as I get a little weird about numbers and having to do things in order, let’s dive into No. 2.

I liked the first a lot, but I luuuuvvvve the second. This is a drink that could never be accused of being shy. It’s punchy, and it ain’t gonna let you forget it. With a pineapple and orange juice base that’s ginger-driven and peppered with red chili, jalapeño and ancho, it makes quite the impression. Despite its bull-in-a-china-shop entrance and its delightfully spicy exit, there is a commendable balance to the drink where the fruit, herbs, and spices come out to play.

Sure, this won’t be for everyone; just take a look at the reviews on the CE website—there is no middle ground. However, if you are looking for a drink that gives you a kick, perhaps in the same way that a neat spirit used to for me, then No. 2 is your number.

No. 1 is your pre-dinner Aperitivo, all decked out in your Sunday best and ready to impress. No. 2 demands a costume change and a long night on the dance floor, two-stepping with your partner or breaking out the big box, little box moves to house beats. You choose the music; Curious Elixirs will bring the drinks.

How does Curious Elixirs describe No. 2: Curious Elixir No. 2 is the spicy lovechild of the pineapple margarita and the Dark & Stormy, 100% booze-free. While citrus, ancho chile, jalapeño and ginger wake up your taste buds, the ancient Mayan herb damiana will help you unwind. Enjoy on the rocks with a lime wedge and optional sea salt rim.

Learn more about Curious Elixirs 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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