Pick your poison: Beverages made in Connecticut
The weather’s hot and sticky, and so are you. Why not crack open a tall, cold one and relax? For many consumers, grabbing a beer isn’t as refreshing as one might think. The alcohol can actually be dehydrating and—for lack of a more gentile term—it’s just too burpy.
You could always stop off at any one of the local juice bars like The Stand Juice Co., Catch A Healthy Habit, or even Robeks. But sometimes, you just want to have something on hand at home.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives—from hand-crafted juices made only days earlier to homemade sodas with a history dating back to the early 20th century. Try these on for size:
Ripe Bar Juice
Launched in 2008 by a couple of guys in Meriden frustrated with the juice mixes on the market, they decided to make their own. A cocktail mix—or frankly any glass of juice—shouldn’t have preservatives, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, or other artificial flavors. But so many of them do, which is why these guys hand squeeze their juices. All produce is fresh and either shipped within the U.S. or Mexico as the seasons change. They use no GMO products and they only use agave nectar to sweeten. They are sold in stores throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey.
Where to Buy: Mo’s Wine & Spirits, Harry’s Liquor Market, and Whole Foods Market
12 NtM Sparkling Beverages
CIA-trained chef David Burke concocted this fizzy little number as a blend of herbs, spices, fruit juices and teas meant to be consumed any time. Hence, the name: 12 “Noon to Midnight.” They can be mixed in other drinks (prosecco, anyone?) or alone. Try their two signature flavors in blanc or rouge, the Citrus-Ginger blend or the Pomegranate-Black Currant.
Where to Buy: Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market, Balducci’s, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market
Allyn Brown, Maple Lane Farms owner and grower of the largest black currant crop in the U.S., planted his 65 acres of fruit in 1999. Since then, he has been honing his skills on packaging black currants as a delectable fruit juice. And did we mention the antioxidant properties of black currants? Too good to pass up! It is sold by itself or in blends with cranberry juice or apple cider.
Where to Buy: Shop Rite, Super Stop & Shop, Stew Leanorad’s, Whole Foods Market, or through CT Farm Fresh Express
Avery’s started out with simple ingredients and a horse-drawn carriage in 1904. While they might have upgraded their horsepower, they haven’t changed their recipe for simple, natural sodas. Still produced in the same red barn it started in, they only use natural well water, natural ingredients, and pure cane sugar. No fructose corn syrup here, folks. They have 35 flavors including some of the old-time soda pops like Birch Beer, Orange Cream, and Sarsparilla.
Where to Buy: They only deliver in and around the New Britain/Hartford area or ship. 12 bottles of soda for $15. Call them at 800-340-0830 to get your 12-pack.
Making quality sodas since 1922, New Haven county has a tradition of grabbing a slice of Pepe’s pizza with a bottle Foxon Park. Try their famous Iron Brew, White Birch, or Gassosa along with such other crowd-pleasers as Strawberry, Orange, Root Beer, and Lemon-Lime.
Where to Buy: You can purchase a 12-pack for $18.60 or 1-liter bottles for $32. Or you can just head up to New Haven and grab a slice and a soda!
Hosmer Mountain Beverages
For that old-time soda jerk experience, you can have their myriad flavors delivered right to your door. Family-owned and operated since 1912, all natural ingredients are bottled in glass and then recycled. No need to get your fizzy drinks from the supermarket. They deliver to your door and pick them up when you’re finished. For those in this area, however, it may be best to take a visit to their Willimantic or Manchester storefronts. Available in 12 and 28 ounces.
For those of you looking for that alcoholic kick but like the idea of buying local, check out Onyx Moonshine from Manchester. Homemade Prohibition-era hooch with the subtle flavors of honey, apple, and an oaky finish, this can be enjoyed on the rocks or in other cocktails to replace vodka or whiskey. You won’t go blind drinking this stuff! It is sold locally at Mo’s Wine & Spirits, Harry’s Liquor Market, and Super Discount Liquors. It can also be found on the drink menus at Ash Creek Saloon and Viale in Black Rock and River House Tavern in Westport.
Who says you can’t drink local when you buy local? Enjoy!