A few years ago, Melanie Masarin decided that drinking just wasn’t for her. But she still wanted to do the activities alcohol is often associated with—engage in deep conversations with her friends over dinner, feel a culinary connection with good food, and, well, have fun. “On a trip to Milan last year with friends, I started thinking about how I could bring more intention to drinking, in the same way there’s intention to enjoying a great meal. I looked around the table and saw people sipping on Aperol Spritzes and wanted to bring that same element of togetherness and spirit to drinking non-alch,” she says.
Enter Ghia. A non-alcoholic beverage inspired by the low-ABV aperitifs Masarin’s grandmother used to serve during summers spent by the Mediterranean Sea, Ghia is an elevated option for mothers-to-be, nondrinkers, or those who just don’t feel like another glass of wine. It’s comprised of orange peel, elderflower, yuzu, ginger, rosemary, and lemon balm. The latter ingredient is particularly important: “The plant is native to the Mediterranean and works as a natural mood-enhancer to help allay temporary stress,” says Masarin.
Ghia can be enjoyed on its own over rocks, or combined with ingredients of your choice. (Each Ghia bottle comes with a cocktail recipe book, like this one for a Ghia Citron: lemon juice, agave syrup, sparkling water.) And, yes, you can even use it as a mixer for spirits.
Formerly of Dig Inn and Glossier, Masarin knew that the bottle’s design was of the utmost importance. So she hired Willo Perron & Associates to create a label and packaging that served as an homage to old-school resort towns. “We were inspired by classic hospitality signage, which we then stacked on top of each other into a single totem pole inspired by postmodern Italian design,” she says.
The Ghia bottle.
Starting June 19, you can order Ghia online or, if you are in New York, get it at King’s new spritz window in Soho.
Sober-curiosity, once a wellness buzzword, is officially a movement: 21% of American drinkers participated in Dry January last year, and sales of non-alcoholic beer are experiencing a double digit rise. In 2018, Nielsen found adult beverage sales were slowing due to “shifting demographics, stagnant wages, health and wellness trends, fewer drink-led occasions and declining big brands.” A 2019 report found that 52 percent of adults were trying to reduce their alcohol intake.
With artisanal brands like Ghia, not drinking (or just drinking less) is only becoming more of an attractive and effortless alternative. Seedlip, another non-alcoholic spirit brand, is now served in 7,500 locations worldwide—including the world’s best bar, Dante. Whereas you once may have felt like an outlier ordering a mocktail, now they’re totally mainstream.