Beer, Wine, Seltzer and Non-alc Recs

Whether for gifting or to bring to holiday parties, The Grind team and friends have recommendations for a variety of budgets.

Nov. 17, 2023

Non-alcoholic drinks

Booze-free drinks are super popular, and with good reason. Be it for physical or mental health or another reason (which you don’t need to ask about), many people are choosing to drink less alcohol, or none at all.

When entertaining, it’s important to have something non-alcoholic to have on hand for guests other than pop and orange juice. These can also make for great gifts.

0% Beers

These have come a long way, and are just as flavourful as boozey beers. Based on our extensive taste-testing, we recommend:

At the pricey end:

Harmon’s IPA: $16.50 for 6 x 355 ml

Harmon’s Lunchbox (Lagered Ale): $16.50 for 6 x 355 ml  

In the mid-range:

Heineken 0.0: $23.95 for 12 x 330 ml

Sober Carpenter’s IPA: $23.45 for 12 x 473 ml

Best value:

Compliments IPA: $9.49 for 12 x 355 ml


You can make your own cocktail using a quality booze-free liquor substitute like Seedlip ($45 for 700 ml). Or try a ready-made mocktail like Clever G&Tonic ($3.49 for 355 ml), which nails the juniper and botanical flavour of the original.

Soda waters

Bubly (multiple flavours): $6.29 for 12 x 355 ml

La Croix (multiple flavours): $6.99 for 8 x 355 ml


There is no shortage of beers to try. A few we dig:

Lagers and Pilsners

On the cheaper end:

Pilsner, Old Style: $13.95 for 6 x 473 ml (5% alc)

Pabst Blue Ribbon: $25.95 for 12 x 473 ml (4.9%)

More elevated:

Stella Artois: $16.95 for 6 x 330 ml (5%)

Steamwhistle: $16.95 for 6 x 341 ml (5%)

Mill St Organic: $19.50 for 6 x 473 ml (4.2%)

Craft Beers

Boneshaker IPA: $3.65 for 473 ml (7.1%)

Collective Arts Good Monster IPA: $4.45 for 473 ml (8%)

Mill St Hazy Organic IPA: $3.60 for 473 ml (6%)

Tokyo Hazy White: $4.20 for 330 ml (5%)

Bellwoods Jutsu Pale Ale: $4.50 for 473 ml (5.6%)

Muskoka Detour: $3.65 for 473 ml (4.3%)


Least expensive but still very drinkable sparkling:

Saintly | the good sparkling: $18.95 for 750 ml (12.5%)

Least expensive but still drinkable red:

Beringer Main & Vine Cabernet Sauvignon (California): $11.95 for 750 ml ($10.95 till Nov. 26 at LCBO)

Many Ontario wines that are not available at the LCBO can make for a unique gift. But they can be pricey. Shop online or head to your local bottle shop.


Looking Glass (Rosewood Winery, Niagara): $33 for 750 ml (11.8%)

Triomphe Cabernet Franc (Southbrook Winery, Niagara): $26.75 for 750 ml (12.2%)

Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir (Southbrook Winery, Niagara): $37.75 for 750 ml (13.7%)


White Rabbit (Rosewood Winery, Niagara): $20 for 750 ml (11.8%)

Seltzers & Coolers

The selection has exploded recently.

If you’re looking for value, White Claw (various flavours, $3.35 for 473 ml, 5%) is still hard to beat.

In the mid-range, give Ace Hill a try, either the Lemon or Raspberry (both are $3.05 for 355 ml, 4.5%). And check out Collective Arts’ Citrus Gin Collins with Grapefruit, Lemon & Thyme ($3.00 for 355 ml, 5.6%).

For something really festive and different, pick up local brewer Willibald’s Ginger Mule ($3.98 for 355 ml, 5.4%). Willibald’s other seltzers, like the Purple or the Fruit Punch, are also really good.

NOTE: Prices may vary from store to store.

This article appears in the Nov/Dec issue.