These “Zero-Proof” Mocktails Gave Me the Stress-Reducing Effects I’ve Been Missing

cans of recess mocktails
cans of recess mocktails

Pre-2023 I loved grabbing a cocktail to help me unwind after a long day. But, ever since the clock struck 12 on January 1st 2023 I’ve greatly reduced my alcohol intake to the point where I enjoy a boozy beverage twice a month – if that.

Exploring the vast amount of non-alcoholic drinks or, mocktails, has been interesting to say the least. Mocktails are essentially all the elements of a cocktail minus the alcohol. Honestly, some of them can taste like juice while others successfully emulate their liquor-present counterparts. While I love how flavorful mocktails can be, I often miss the stress-relieving sensation that comes from an alcoholic mixed drink. That is, until I received a box in the mail from the beverage aficionados at Recess.

Recess Non-Alcoholic Options

The brand sent me a package of the Zero-Proof sampler pack. Their eight-pack of mocktail drinks come in at $30. Each can contains12-ounces of four sparkling flavors: lime margarita, grapefruit paloma, watermelon mojito, and ginger lime mule. All four varieties of the non-alcoholic drinks have a blend of three stress-reducing adaptogens.

What are adaptogens?

According to UCLA Health adaptogens are herbs, roots and other plant substances like mushrooms that help our bodies manage stress. They also restore balance after a stressful situation. In each of the zero-proof cans there are three adaptogens: guayusa, l-theanine, and lemon balm.

Guayusa contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, per the National Library of Medicine (NIH). The herb is also noted as a nootropic on the Recess site. Accoriding to the NIH, a nootropic is a substance that has the ability to improve human thinking, learning, and memory,

L-theanine is one of the calming adaptogens in the alcohol-free beverages. It’s a chemical derived from green and black tea that can lower stress and anxiety, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Last, but certainly not least, is lemon balm. This adaptogen is touted as a calming herb. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, while helping the body to go to sleep, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. You might even recognize lemon balm from your favorite calming tea blend!

Recess Zero-Proof Cocktail Review

Once the mocktail sampler pack made it through the threshold of my apartment, I unpacked the cans and immediately. I then placed them in the fridge. My plan was to crack open a cold one with dinner. First up for a taste test was the ginger lime mule flavor of the alcohol-free drink. All I can say is that it was love at first sip. It tastes just like a Moscow mule only there’s no alcohol. The notes of ginger and lime worked in harmony to effectively trick my brain into thinking I was actually drinking a cocktail. I was so overjoyed by the believable flavor profile that I immediately scurried to the fridge and grabbed the watermelon mojito to try post-dinner.

All I gotta say is, Recess did that! I could taste the subtle flavor of watermelon. It resembled the flavor of watermelon the fruit and not an artificial candy. And yes, it did have the freshness that you’d expect from sipping on a real mojito – only with these drinks you don’t have to worry about it getting watered down by ice in a glass.

The next evening I grabbed my usual go-to drink, the lime margarita. Let me tell you. I knew from the moment that I tried the margarita that I needed to write about these cans of sparkling goodness. I kept looking at the can with a side eye as I sipped. This zero-proof margarita had the slight zing I normally taste from the tequila in the original version of the beverage.

Before I get too excited, I must say that the paloma was tasty. But, I’m not a huge paloma fan. So even though the flavor was nice, I can’t say I’m hopping on the paloma train anytime soon. However, if the alcoholic version of the grapefruit drink is your favorite libation, then definitely give the Recess version a try.

More Than Just The Taste

In terms of taste all of the Zero-Proof cans passed my test. But the real star of the experience was how I felt after having two cans on the first night. I felt so calm. It was as if my inner body was giving me a hug saying, “we worked hard, now it’s time to rest.” What was causing this feeling you ask? The aforementioned blend of three adaptogens floating in each can, of course. For reference I’m 6’2” and about 300 pounds. So while I did feel calm after one can, I truly felt like my body and brain could relax after two cans.

Other Alcohol-Free Canned Mocktails to Try

Here’s a list of other great mocktails to try when you’re looking to relax after a long day.

Lightwave by Kin Euphorics


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Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Co-founded by model Bella Hadid, Kin Euphorics, makes beverages that contain a blend of adaptogens that aim to prepare the body for a particular part of the day. The goal of the Lightwave variation is to send the body into dreamland with its combination of nootropics and adaptogens

Crisp Apple Sparkling Tonic by OLIPOP


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Olipop is known for their colorful sodas but did you know that they have a replacement for a spiked cider? The Crisp Apple Sparkling Tonic aims to support your gut health with its unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and nine grams of dietary plant fiber. The tonic is great to pair with a meal to aid in the digestive process.

Non-Alcoholic Le Spritz by Ghia


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Ghia’s Non-Alcoholic Le Spritz brings Mediterranean apéritif culture to your home in an alcohol-free way. Before your meal, grab a can of Le Spritz. It will help soothe your body and mind with the brand’s lemon-balm infused botanical ingredient blend.

De Soi Non-Alcoholic Drinks by Katy Perry


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De Soi’s canned mocktails blend botanicals and adaptogens in three flavors: Golden Hour, Champignon Dreams, and Purple Lune. Golden hour aims to help you unwind before bed. Purple Lune’s goal is to help reduce fatigue. Champignon Dreams aims to support your creativity and libido.

Havana Twist Non-Alcoholic Cocktails by Mocktail Club


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Lime, cardamom, cucumber, and mint shrub fill the cans of Mocktail Club’s Havana Twist. It’s the taste of a vacation in a can. The lightly sparkling beverage has a classic flavor-profile that makes it a zesty go-to for a night of socializing.

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