Sensational Alcohol-Free Beverages Are the New ‘Must’ For Your Bar Cart

It’s no secret that the pandemic had a severe effect on the drinking habits of many. According to data from

It’s no secret that the pandemic had a severe effect on the drinking habits of many. According to data from YPulse, daily drinking jumped from 4 percent in May 2019 to 13 percent in May 2020. However, in October 2021, daily drinking habits were back down to an even lower 3 percent with the trend of alcohol-free alternatives on the rise.

Sober curiosity has grown in the minds of many but that doesn’t mean the fun of mixing together quality ingredients has to come to an end. Raising the Bar is raising a glass to those newly sober, cutting back on pandemic vices, pregnant, or just taking a break from alcohol with their monthly subscription to mocktail creations. And, CELEB had the pleasure of talking to Raising the Bar’s Founder and CEO, Abbie Romanul about her inspiration behind the innovative idea. 

“For *Anyone* Who’s Interested In Alcohol-Free”

Courtesy of Abbie Romanul

For four years and counting, the brand founder has been on her own sober journey which she explains has given her more clarity on what she values and what she wants to give her time and energy to – one of those things being Raising the Bar. “To wake up every morning with a clear head and know that I will never ever go to sleep again and experience a hangover in the morning is exciting to me,” Romanul laughed.

The Philadelphia native got the idea of the curated zero-proof cocktail discovery service a few weeks before the holidays, after deciding to go sober. She told CELEB, “my husband and I were driving to meet some college friends for a New Year’s Eve party and I remember just feeling like, ‘what am I going to drink at this party?’, ‘what is it going to feel like to not have a drink?’, and, we were in the car for two hours and, I googled ‘alcohol-free cocktail kits’ and there was nothing out there.” The lack of options inspired Romanul and her husband to toy around with the idea of creating their own mocktail kit service and, within a few years Raising the Bar was born and launched in September 2020.

Raising the Bar quickly gained traction from those looking to adjust their daily habits six months into the pandemic. And, when the holiday season rolled around they received attention from companies looking for more inclusive options to offer their teams when doing virtual happy hours. Romanul shared, “I think having an alcohol-free option that is safe and enjoyable for everybody and doesn’t make assumptions about someone’s lifestyle is also a great option. So, I look at our offering as being in the broader category of inclusivity and thoughtfulness.” Adding in, “we’re not out to demonize the choice to drink. We’re here to provide options for those who are reevaluating their choices and, I think that’s a really exciting thing.”

A Boxed Up Good Time

Alcohol-Free Mocktail Kit
Courtesy of Abbie Romanul: Alcohol-Free Mocktail Kit

“What I think is so exciting about this alcohol-free movement is the idea that you can still have something really delicious, elevated, sophisticated, and enjoy the ritual of what a drink is, without the side effects,” said the Massachusetts resident.

Each [monthly] kit includes a balanced amount of ingredients to achieve a sophisticated drink to be sipped slowly as you would a real alcoholic drink:

  • Your base: alcohol-free spirit alternative/tea concentrate or bag
  • juices/ mixers/ bitters
  • decorative pieces: garnishes/peppercorns/ cocktail umbrella
  • a piece of barware (ex. jigger, bar spoon, citrus peeler, etc.)
  • recipe card
  • a QR code with tips on additional recipes to use any leftover ingredients

Romanul and her husband put plenty of thought into each box to represent the season and of course, develop a delicious drink. She explained to CELEB, “I’ll come up with some concepts and then go to that warehouse of ingredients and just start experimenting. So, sometimes you will see one of our recipes as maybe like a rift on a traditional drink.” Adding in, “it really is just a lot of experimenting and all of the recipes are developed in-house. But, it’s been so much fun and I’ve been surprised, after two plus years doing this now, there’s no repetition. There are just so many incredible ingredients out there that we’ve really been able to come up with something different each time.”

The mocktail connoisseur expressed her excitement for this new wave of sober curiosity whether it be for a night, a period of time, or a lifetime. She shared, “just having the option to cut back when you want to or need to. I think also, this idea of self-care. Self-care is not just a bubble bath and manicures. Self-care is taking care of your physical and mental health and, for a lot of people that means re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol.”