The best drinks at Sipple, Houston's only non-alcoholic bottle shop

Dry January (and beyond) doesn't have to be boring with these awesome booze-free spirits, wines, beers, seltzers and ready-to-drink cocktails.

Photo of Emma Balter
Sipple in Houston's Rice Village is Texas' first non-alcoholic bottle shop, selling booze-free beer, wine, spirits and more.

Sipple in Houston's Rice Village is Texas' first non-alcoholic bottle shop, selling booze-free beer, wine, spirits and more.

Emma Balter

When Sipple, Texas' first non-alcoholic bottle shop, opened in Houston's Rice Village in October 2021, owners Danny and Helenita Frounfelkner knew the city was ready, but didn't know exactly how thirsty it was for booze-free drinks. As it turns out, the answer was: very.

Business has boomed at the store, which carries dozens of non-alcoholic spirits, beers, wines, CBD seltzers and other beverages that barely even existed five years ago, before "sober curiosity" became a movement. But people have been abstaining from alcohol—permanently or temporarily, and for endless reasons—for eons before this new trend.

So it's about time shops and restaurants around town start catering to them. On a recent Wednesday evening, between greeting customers, Helenita relays that Sipple is having its busiest time yet—a result of Dry January coinciding with a well-read Texas Monthly profile on the store. A half-hour before closing, an older couple walks in, looking apprehensive and out-of-place. Helenita is used to first-timers, and knows how to put them at ease. Within 10 minutes, they've learned key knowledge about the making of non-alcoholic products and their best uses, and have walked out with a couple purchases and a much more relaxed smile on their face.

Because what the shop sells is so new to consumers, education is at the forefront at Sipple. The Frounkelners host free tastings every Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. year-round, and have added some on Sundays during Dry January. Under every shelf are open bottles of most spirits for people to sample, so they don't have to commit to any purchases before trying it for themselves. As well as packs, cans are available as single-serves, and mixing and matching your own six-pack gets you a discount.

When everyone's done with Dry January, Sipple will still be there, offering fun sans-booze beverages to the growing number of those who want it. Here are some of our favorite recent finds, should you venture in this month or beyond.

Cut Above Mezcal ($38)

Cut Above makes mezcal, gin and agave blanco non-alcoholic spirits.

Cut Above makes mezcal, gin and agave blanco non-alcoholic spirits.

Emma Balter

Cut Above is the first and only non-alcoholic spirits company based in Houston, founded by Andrew Solis. He makes gin, agave blanco and mezcal, which Helenita says is the best non-alcoholic mezcal she's had—complex smoky notes guaranteed. A whiskey is being released this year.

ISH Spritz ($6)

ISH makes non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink cocktails.

ISH makes non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink cocktails.

Emma Balter

Copenhagen-based company ISH specializes in the growing ready-to-drink category, offering zero-proof cocktails easy to take anywhere in its slim can. The spritz is particularly refreshing; ISH also makes a ginISH and tonic and lime daiquiri.

Mixer Elixir Ranch Water ($5)

Mixer Elixir makes hemp-infused seltzers.

Mixer Elixir makes hemp-infused seltzers.

Emma Balter

Founded by Ben Meggs of Houston's Bayou City Hemp Company, Mixer Elixir makes seltzer-like beverages infused with hemp and delta 8. Helenita says the Ranch Water is their best-selling item in the shop; the brand also produces blackberry bramble and botanical greyhound versions.

Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay ($22)

Noughty makes non-alcoholic sparkling and red wines.

Noughty makes non-alcoholic sparkling and red wines.

Emma Balter

This U.K.-based company has become one of the most recognized brands in the non-alcoholic wine space. Noughty was founded by former BBC broadcaster Amanda Thomson, who began making regular wine, but dealcoholized bottles have become most of her business. The sparkling chardonnay is particularly worthy, and Helenita swears by the new Syrah ($26). Thomson also makes a sparkling rosé.

Prima Pavé Blanc de Blancs ($26)

Prima Pavé makes non-alcoholic Italian bubbly.

Prima Pavé makes non-alcoholic Italian bubbly.

Emma Balter

Couple Dejou and Marco Marano emulate Prosecco with their sparkling booze-free wines made in Italy. The Blanc de Blancs is one of Helenita's favorite-ever non-alcoholic bubblies, and the Rosé Brut is featured at Heights Italian restaurant Coltivare. The Rosé Dolce is a sweeter version of the Brut.

Wilfred's Bittersweet Orange and Rosemary ($32)

Wilfred's lands somewhere between Campari and Aperol and is non-alcoholic.

Wilfred's lands somewhere between Campari and Aperol and is non-alcoholic.

Emma Balter

Also from the U.K., Wilfred's was started by Chris Hughes when he made a batch of sans-boose aperitif during lockdown with botanicals from his parents' garden. Now a commercially available brand, Wilfred's is perfect for a spritz or non-alcoholic negroni, and falls somewhere between Aperol and Campari on the flavor spectrum, says Helenita.

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