What happens when two Harvard Business School Grads walk into a bar? Well, you might think they would order a drink. But in fact, these two would create an experience longed for by many – to enjoy a grown-up drink with friends, family, or coworkers, without consuming alcohol. Mariah and Vanessa of Tilden have created some of the best non-alcoholic cocktails you can buy, which don’t neglect the beloved ritual of drinking. I sat down with Mariah to talk Tilden. From product development to packaging to the belief that sustainable businesses should also be cost-effective – we covered it all. Read on to learn more about how Tilden is shaking things up and becoming the best non-alcoholic cocktail to buy.
Getting together and having a drink with friends, family, or coworkers is a ceremonial activity. Pouring drinks, clinking glasses, and raising a toast to health and good times are aspects across many cultures. However, a rise in focus on health and wellness in the US has caused many to take a step back and think about how much alcohol they are regularly consuming.
The holidays are an especially challenging time for those trying to limit alcohol as it comes up in many places. Whether it’s for mental health, fitness, or just trying to make sure they can wake up the next morning and feel ready to conquer the day, there are many reasons why people might choose to skip the drinks at a social gathering or after a long day. So much so, the mocktail market’s rise has really boomed over the past two years. But out of all the non-alcoholic beverages to choose from, which is the right non-alcoholic cocktail to buy? Today we’re doing a sustainable spotlight on Tilden.
What is Tilden?
Tilden is a premium non-alcoholic cocktail that’s made ready-to-pour. It’s different from other non-alcoholic beverages in the space because it wasn’t designed to be a cocktail imitation, a sugary elixir, or an adaptogenic beverage that helps you relax. Tilden non-alcoholic cocktails were designed to be a unique and full drinking experience. From the first sip to the mouthfeel and the complex flavor, Tilden delivers a beverage that acts like a cocktail without pretending to be one.
Tilden cocktails require no mixing, measuring, or shaking, just pouring. Grab a drink, some ice, and maybe a garnish if you’d like. These non-alcoholic cocktails are great to buy because they provide a pour-and-serve experience. This makes the ritual of enjoying a good drink easier than before.
Why is Tilden different from other non-alcoholic drinks on the market?
Tilden is not an anti-alcohol company but a company that believes in offering options. They are friends with the mocktail club but don’t aim to be a replica of their alcoholic counterparts. They create unique, complex flavors using carefully selected ingredients while keeping the nutrition profile in mind. Tilden Cocktails have <1g of sugar and around 35 calories per pour. Compared to traditional cocktails or mocktails, this is a huge calorie reduction. Since it is a pour-and-serve option, you don’t need another trip to the grocery store to enjoy it. It’s a single purchase vs several ingredients, making it a great non-alcoholic to buy.
How did Tilden Get Started?
Mariah and Vanessa, Founders of Tilden, met at Harvard Business School. While neither drank alcohol, they were both seeking an inclusive social experience. Tilden aims to create a social experience that involves bringing people together without the pressure to drink alcohol. It creates an environment where everyone can enjoy the celebration of gathering. The founders believe that everyone can have a good time and still enjoy their favorite flavors.
Why Buy this Non-Alcoholic Cocktail?
I spent a long time talking with Mariah about her development process for creating the best non-alcoholic drinks. She strived to create something not only low calorie, but that contains natural ingredients while providing unique flavor. Some of these distinctive ingredients include fermented lemon grass and de-sugared juices. Ultimately, they settled on a zero-proof beverage that is simply pour-and-serve. This means there’s no need to add things like club soda, sugar syrups, tonic water, or other non-alcoholic spirits to enjoy it.
Mariah started formulating in her kitchen. Then quickly moved to focus groups to see what elements made a drink a social beverage. They found a team in Brooklyn and worked with them for seven months to formulate a commercially viable beverage. While Mariah learned the ropes about formulating, she shared that the team helped get them to about 80% of the way. Then she worked on finalizing the beverage with plant-based and no artificial ingredients.
They also keep the beverage as minimally processed as possible, relying on natural sweeteners and pasteurization to keep the produce preservative-free. This means you won’t experience an off aftertaste. You’ll need to finish the bottle within two weeks of opening it, which they assure you will not be a problem!
Made to Sustain Tasting Notes
This meticulously crafted non-alcoholic cocktail not only satisfied my palate but had an amazing depth of flavor. The drink is a vibrant concoction of fresh herbs, exotic fruits, and artisanal botanicals. The complex flavor profiles unveil a symphony of tastes with every sip. What struck me most was the ingenuity behind creating a beverage that mirrored the sophistication of traditional cocktails without the need for alcohol. The layers of flavors, from the zesty citrus notes to the subtle herbal undertones, left me thoroughly impressed and satiated from a nightcap. I personally enjoyed the Tandem flavor. It delivers an oaky flavor with bitter orange, resembling warm brown notes that I like in a classic cocktail, but can never stomach.
This experience has reinforced my belief in the evolving landscape of sustainable and mindful drinking, proving that you can indulge in the art of mixology while still prioritizing eco-conscious choices. Cheers to a world of non-alcoholic great options that redefine the boundaries of taste and sustainability!
The founders of Tilden didn’t set out to create a health drink, but a drink that could deliver an inclusive experience. Even though Tilden does not put sustainability first in their brand messaging, they believe every product should reflect their values of curiosity and uncompromising quality. This means searching for better ways to do things for both people and the planet. It also means figuring out how to reduce their footprint while delivering the best possible product with more sustainable options. Every package of Tilden shipped to your door is packed with care and purpose.
Let’s talk about Sustainability
They use sustainable business practices, even though they donâ€™t make those practices forefront in their communications. Mariah shared that she believes the best business practices should incorporate sustainable practices. For instance, Tilden uses local suppliers where they can. It has an optimized supply chain network which shortens the length of transportation from manufacturing, distribution, and end user.
Much thought went into the package design of these non-alcoholic cocktails, especially in terms of the environmental impact. Upon receiving a box of Tilden products, you’ll see a brown cardboard box with black ink printed on the box. This box is made from 100% recycled cardboard and encourages its customers to keep recycling the box. There is even a special discount code hidden under the flap of the box, so that customers who break the box down to recycle it are rewarded the next time they purchase. Each box also has slots to create a variety pack, aiming to reduce the number of shipments to each customer.
â€‹Tilden comes in a few sizes: the 200 mL glass flask and a 750 mL glass bottle. The glass bottles not only offer a comparable experience to other delicious cocktail mixers. However, they acknowledge the ability of the glass bottle to be recycled.
Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Ingredients
Talking to Mariah about her product development experience was truly inspiring. She dove in to really understanding the importance of each ingredient in her beverage. According to Mariah, most cocktails are “30-50% sugar syrup”, and most mocktails are even sweeter drinks. They wanted to deliver something that did not focus on a sugary alternative. There’s a thoughtful fusion of natural sweeteners, such as allulose, stevia, and monk fruit, which impart a satisfying sweetness without the guilt-inducing sugar content.
The absence of artificial additives and preservatives further heightened the appeal, emphasizing a commitment to clean, quality ingredients. With each sip, I savored the vibrant interplay of flavors, from the bright citrus notes to the nuanced herbal infusions, while appreciating the mindful balance of calories. This experience reinforced the notion that reducing sugar and calories doesn’t need to compromise taste. This showcased the exciting evolution within the non-alcoholic beverage landscape. It’s a testament to the creative innovation occurring in the industry. It makes it increasingly accessible for individuals to make health-conscious choices without sacrificing flavor or sustainability.
Tilden is a 100% Women-owned company. They are working towards an organic certification, but right now, they are only at ~60% organically sourced.
Tilden Supply Chain
With a solid background in supply chain, Mariah offered some insight as to why she believes it’s important to know all of your suppliers. Many other companies in the start up space rely on their manufacturing partners to supply ingredients. Having direct relationships with suppliers allows Tilden to learn about their sustainability practices and to see if they align with their values.
All partners are US-based but they may source seasonal crops internationally. For example, they use companies in the midwest to create their desugared juices, which are within local distance to both their manufacturing location and their distribution centers. They are soon moving to bi-coastal distribution centers once volumes increase.
Who can enjoy Tilden?
Tilden’s non-alcoholic options create an inclusive experience. Although it’s a fantastic alcohol-free alternative, Tilden is not just meant for sober folks. In fact, the majority of their customers are what they call flexi-drinkers, or people looking at swapping a drink in between other drinks or just taking one night off from drinking. Since Tilden is available at some bars, try to see if you can order it at your next happy hour or cocktail hour!
Where can I buy this non-alcoholic cocktail?
You can use the Find Us page on their website to see if an establishment sells Tilden near you. But if you’re out of luck like me, you can order Tilden from their site here! Sign up for email to get 10% off your first order.
Try Tilden, The Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to Buy
Whether it’s for dry January, or just looking to cut back on alcoholic drinks, the quest for the perfect non-alcoholic cocktail ends with a resounding recommendation for Tilden. Its harmonious blend of fresh and vibrant flavors, meticulous craftsmanship, and innovative ingredients set it apart as the epitome of a satisfying and sophisticated non-alcoholic beverage. Whether you’re seeking a refreshing alternative to traditional cocktails or simply looking to indulge in a guilt-free, flavorful experience, Tilden emerges as the undisputed choice. It elevates the art of mixology to new heights. This exquisite creation promises to redefine your perception of non-alcoholic beverages, making it a must-have for those who appreciate the pleasure of a well-crafted drink without the need for alcohol while still delivering on the experience of classic cocktails. Cheers to a delightful, spirited, and alcohol-free indulgence!
In the interest of full transparency, I want to disclose that I was compensated for writing this blog post. Additionally, I may receive a commission if you purchase any of the products or services mentioned in this post through my affiliate links. I believe in being honest and upfront with my readers about my relationships with the companies and products I promote. I only recommend products and services that I believe in and that I think would be of value to my readers. Please know that my opinions are my own and are not influenced by any compensation I receive. I strive to provide honest and unbiased reviews of all products and services I recommend. Thank you for your understanding.