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The HOP WTR Founders Want You to Have a Better Dry January

January 12, 2022

More and more people are realizing that in order to live the lives they really want to live, they need to cut back on alcohol—or even abstain entirely. 

So what about folks who want to have it all? To enjoy a glass of their favorite wine with dinner or a well-made cocktail, while still having the energy and clarity to do everything they enjoy? That’s how HOP WTR co-founders Nick Taranto and Jordan Bass were feeling when they hit their 30s. “We were busier than ever,” Bass reflects. “Crazy hours, dad duty, and adulting had us working a lot harder to stay on top of everything, all while trying to have some fun. We still craved a cold beer after a long day, but knew we couldn’t keep up if we had to contend with hangovers or feeling weighed down.” 

They wanted to keep those cherished social rituals—unwinding with a cold one after work, raising a birthday toast, enjoying a celebratory meal—“without the next-day brain fuzz or empty calories.” Unable to find a good option, they went to work creating a non-alcoholic drink that they could sip while living life to the fullest.


What is HOP WTR?

It’s all in the name. HOP WTR starts with sparkling water and hops—yes, the same hops that give an IPA its unmistakable bitter flavor. Hops are the flower of the Humulus lupulus plant; HOP WTR uses a blend of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Azacca hops to impart crisp, piney notes to their refreshing non-alcoholic drink.

This crafted blend of hops does more than add distinctive flavor to HOP WTR. “Hops have been used to brew beer for over 1,000 years, but they have also been used medicinally since medieval times,” Bass reports. He adds that the natural calming effects attributed to hops (thanks to the flavonoids xanthohumol and 8-prenylnaringenin and the essential oils humulene and lupuline) may help with anxiety, mood issues, and sleep. 

While the flavor will remind you of your favorite IPA, HOP WTR isn’t a non-alcoholic beer; it’s a beverage with benefits. As Bass explains, it “takes you from stressed to decompressed without a drop of alcohol” thanks to the brand’s proprietary stack of high-quality functional ingredients:

  • Ashwagandha: AKA Withania somnifera, an adaptogenic herb that may help the body manage stress.
  • L-Theanine: An amino acid with nootropic effects, meaning it may help with sleep, stress reduction, and cognitive performance.

“We knew we wanted [HOP WTR] to have a functional benefit—something that could help you unwind and relax without the negative effects of alcohol,” Bass says. “As part of our product development process, we talked with nutritionists and medical experts and tested out a wide variety of natural supplements. All of that work led us to the perfect pairing of ashwagandha and L-Theanine, two of the most popular and fastest growing functional ingredients on the market today.” 

In addition to being free of alcohol, sugar, and carbohydrates, HOP WTR is non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, keto, and appropriate for those following the Whole 30® program—meaning it jibes with all your health goals, whether they’re New Year’s resolutions or intentions for the long haul. 


Dry January Tips from the HOP WTR Founders

Chances are, you know at least one person who’s quit drinking recently, or at least consciously decided to cut back. The so-called “sober curious” movement is on the rise, and the HOP WTR founders say the explosive growth they’ve witnessed in the non-alcoholic beverage sector is just one indication.

If you’re not quite ready to cut alcohol out of your life entirely, committing to Dry January can offer you a glimpse into the booze-free life and all the feel-good benefits that come with it.

What is Dry January? A month off alcohol, appropriately timed during prime “new year, new me” season. (Some people wait until later in the year for their no-booze month, hence “Sober October.”) Initially launched by a British nonprofit organization called Alcohol Change UK in 2013, the movement has spread and grown significantly over the years, with scores of official and unofficial participants worldwide. Surveys suggest 2022 will be no different, as many people reevaluate their relationship with alcohol after relying on it heavily to cope throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We asked the HOP WTR co-founders for their take on the Dry January trend, as well as how they make the most of their booze-free month.

Nick Taranto, HOP WTR Co-Founder: “Dry January offers a great reset to our drinking habits and health goals. When I first started experimenting with Dry January and Sober October, going dry for 31 days was huge for me. It wasn’t easy, but now I look forward to the challenge…and to under-doing at least one thing in my life for a while!” 

Nick’s Dry January tip: “Pour an ounce of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sea salt, and a can of Mango HOP WTR into a wine glass and it’s as good as a cocktail!”

Jordan Bass, HOP WTR Co-Founder: “I’ve enjoyed participating in Dry January for many years, even before founding HOP WTR. It’s an important time to reset and plan for the year ahead. It also always gives me a perspective on how alcohol is so woven into the fabric of our society and how drinking can become reflexive in social occasions and times of relaxation. Doing Dry January always gives me clarity on my alcohol consumption so that in months when I do enjoy a few beers, I can be much more purposeful around when I consume alcohol while also keeping my health and fitness goals in line.” 

Jordan’s Dry January tip: “When I feel like I’ve had a stressful day and previously would turn to a beer and Netflix, I’ll put on my workout clothes and take a run, followed by cracking open a refreshing HOP WTR when I get home.”


3 HOP WTR Mocktail Recipes for Dry January

A cold HOP WTR straight out of the fridge is a refreshing way to toast another successful Dry January day. But if you’re feeling fancy, try one of these alcohol-free drink recipes featuring HOP WTR created by Elva Ramirez, author of Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking.

Spice World Tour

Ingredients

2 1/2 ounces fresh pineapple juice

1/2  teaspoon fresh lime juice

3/4 ounce Spiced Syrup (recipe follows)

Mango HOP WTR, well chilled

Cinnamon, to garnish

Instructions

In a mixing tin or shaker, combine juices, syrup, and several ice cubes. Shake briskly until well-combined and thoroughly chilled.

Pour mixture and ice into a glass, then top with scoops of crushed ice (see note). Slowly pour Mango HOP WTR (about one ounce) to top. Set can aside to top off as needed.

Garnish with fresh grating of cinnamon across the top.

Note: To make crushed ice, place a handful of ice cubes on a clean dish towel. Wrap ice tightly into a small bundle, then hit the bundle on a counter with a hard object (metal water bottles work well). Continue until all the ice has splintered into small shards. Scoop up the small bits of ice with a spoon.

For the Spiced Syrup:

2 cups water

1 tablespoon toasted coconut flakes

1/2 ounce cinnamon sticks (1 or 2)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup light brown sugar

In a medium saucepan, add water, coconut flakes, and spices. Heat gently over very low heat, then add the sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Cook over very low heat (at the lowest heat seating) for about 20 minutes. The mixture should never boil.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Allow to infuse in a container, ideally overnight. Strain and discard solids. Keep syrup in the refrigerator.

Moodboard

Ingredients

1 ounce raspberry syrup (recipe follows)

1/2 teaspoon orgeat syrup (a syrup with almonds and flower water; if you can’t find it, try amaretto)

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Colored Ice (recipe follows)

1 ounce Classic HOP WTR, well chilled

Instructions

In a mixing tin or shaker, combine raspberry syrup, orgeat syrup, lime juice, and several colored ice cubes. (Note: Wear gloves while handling the colored ice, as it will stain fingers temporarily). Shake briskly until well-chilled and most of the ice stops rattling in the tin. The longer you shake, the darker the color of the drink.

Open tin, add chilled Classic Hop WTR, and swirl. Gently pour drink, including remaining colored ice, into a tall Collins glass. Serve with a straw.

Top with more HOP WTR and fresh colored ice, as needed. The remaining ice will slowly melt, changing the color of the drink slightly.

For the Raspberry Syrup:

6 ounces fresh raspberries

1 cup water

About 3/4 ounce sugar (or about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries and water. Cover and cook over the lowest heat setting for one hour. The raspberries will turn pale, while the liquid will be bright pink.

Remove from heat and let thoroughly cool. Strain away solids, gently pressing to extract liquid. Measure the remaining liquid; whatever the new volume is, add an equal amount of sugar. For example, you may likely get 3/4 cup of liquid after straining away the raspberries. In that case, add 3/4 cup sugar, then stir until fully dissolved. Store in the refrigerator.

For the Colored Ice:

Purple and blue natural food coloring or egg dye

2 cups water

2 ice cube trays

In a small saucepan, heat water to just under boiling. Pour water into two heat-proof containers. Add multiple drops of purple dye in one container, and blue dye in the other. The more dye you add, the brighter the colors will be. Typically, about 4 to 5 dashes will get the water deeply tinted.

Pour purple water into one ice cube tray, and the blue in the other. Set aside to freeze until needed. Note: An ice tray with smaller-sized cubes  (such as petite spherical molds) versus larger molds works very well for this.

Digital Nomad

Ingredients

1  1/2 ounces grapefruit juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

2 ounces Pineapple Sherbet (recipe follows)

1 ounce Classic HOP WTR, well chilled

3–5 dashes chocolate bitters

Instructions

Remove sherbet from the freezer and let it soften slightly (about 10 to 15 minutes).

In a mixing tin or shaker, combine grapefruit juice, agave, and several ice cubes. Shake until mixture is cold and well-combined. Open tin, add about 1 ounce of HOP WTR, and swirl in the tin.

Pour mixture, including ice, into a coupe.

With a spoon or knife, break up the frozen sherbet to make ice shavings. The slushier, the better. (Think of how one makes sno-cones or shaved ice.) Gently gather the ice shavings in a spoon or jigger, then place in the center of the drink. The ice shards don’t have to sit packed in the jigger, they will be slightly fluffy.

Add several dashes of chocolate bitters and serve.

For the Pineapple Sherbet:

12 ounces fresh pineapple juice

12 ounces water

2 whole limes, juiced

Combine juices and water in a plastic quart container. Cover and freeze.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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