Stock Your Spirit-Free Cocktail Cabinet With This Bright, Herbal Beverage

DRY Botanical Bitters & Soda is a drink that hovers somewhere between a soft drink and a cocktail.

We have officially reached the point of the year where anyone who wants to engage me in conversation will have to sit through at least five minutes of complaints about the heat. I do not understand people who love the summer, and I never will. My body prefers to stay comfortably air conditioned indoors, but alas, that cannot happen this summer: since I have mostly forgotten how to interact with other human beings, I am about three 100-degree days away from going full-on Grey Gardens. Thus, I must force myself to attend every pool party, beach gathering, and cookout I (or more accurately, my kids) get invited to, no matter how sweaty or miserable it makes me.

Besides the sweltering, I have another issue with most outdoor shindigs: I'm sober, and there is never anything "adult" for me to drink. While it would be nice if more people considered sober people in their party menu planning (we are tired of Diet Coke and generic LaCroix!), I just make sure to bring something I can enjoy amidst the other adults knocking back craft beer, canned cocktails, and White Claw.

To make sure I'm always prepared for socializing, I've been putting together a cabinet of non-alcoholic beverages that are refreshing on a hot summer's day, and enjoyable enough to make me temporarily forget that the sun is killing me. I've got a few six-packs of Recess in there, some Casamara Club sodas, and an assortment of excellent non-alcoholic beers. The newest addition to my adult-hydration cabinet is DRY Botanical Bitters & Soda, a drink that hovers somewhere between a soft drink and a cocktail. They're light enough to relax with but interesting enough to keep your attention.

Of the three varieties available, I'm particularly keen on the Bright/Herbal. Flavor-wise, it feels substantial enough to be worth its price tag of $39.99 for a 12-pack of 250mL bottles. It's carbonated water made cloudy with fresh ginger juice, tinged with notes of citrus, cardamom, and sage; though on the surface it looks like soda, on the palate, it's as bubbly and herbaceous as a gin and tonic.

I love the way DRY's Aromatic tastes—bright, crisp notes of orange peel, bitter gentian root, and woodsy pops of clove and cinnamon—but it feels a little too close to something I could easily make at home for literally pennies. Would I be happy if someone served this to me at a summer soiree? Absolutely. Would I buy it myself? Maybe for outdoor use only.

Personally I am not a fan of the Sweet/Spicy, which has the right idea, but doesn't pull it off. Though made with apple cider vinegar and orange juice, neither are detectable; instead, there are "natural flavors" of mangoes, habaneros, and jalapenos that are eerily reminiscent of Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe that's something people are into, but it's not for me. I'll stick to keeping a few bottles of Dry/Herbal in my purse, because I don't want to ruin a party by complaining about the fact my drink tastes like dipping sauce from Domino's. I have plenty of other things to complain about, like how much sweat has pooled inside my bra.