The sober-curious movement is alive and well, and this wellness-focused lifestyle isn’t showing any signs of letting up post–Dry January. Ghia has staked its claim across social media and beyond as the must-try alcohol-free aperitif to serve during your next social gathering. Here, founder Mélanie Masarin discusses why she launched the viral brand, her favorite Ghia recipe and more.
Why did you decide to start Ghia?
I wanted to make the occasion of enjoying a drink more about social connection than a buzz. I’ve always loved bringing people together through hosting dinner parties for my friends and creating safe spaces that spark real, meaningful conversations. Within the past few years, I realized that alcohol wasn’t for me and that there weren’t many alternatives on the market that were easily adaptable to people with different lifestyles and comfort levels with drinking. While a on trip to Milan, I started thinking about how I could bring a clearer intention to drinking in the same way behind enjoying a great meal. I saw people socializing and sipping on spritzes and wanted to create that same spirit without the alcohol.
Where does the name Ghia come from?
It’s inspired by famous Italian car designer Giacinto Ghia, who established the Carrozzeria Ghia. We really liked the name Ghia because it sounds just like the feeling of the brand: fun, positive and approachable in many languages.
How would you describe the flavor profile of Ghia for those who haven’t tried it?
I absolutely love bitters and Italian amaro, and I wanted to make a bitter drink that has the complexity of an alcoholic beverage without trying to mimic a specific spirit or buzz. Getting the flavor right while also being health-conscious (Ghia has zero added sugar) was both fun and technically very challenging. We asked ourselves: How can we make a bitter that tastes like you made it with real plants and herbs picked from your garden? 37 iterations and 1,001 pours later, we did it!
Do you have a favorite Ghia recipe?
I’m definitely a purist, so one of my favorite recipes is the Ghia Soda (see recipe below) garnished with rosemary from my garden and a twist of lemon or lime. It’s so simple, and I love that anyone can make this recipe their own by using different herbs or their favorite sparkling drink.
Any resolutions or dreams for the year ahead?
I think the past couple years have been hard on everyone, so no resolutions and only dreams for me this year. I’m trying to prioritize activities outside of work. I just got a Big Green Egg and want to get really good at grilling for outdoor parties. I also want to go surfing in Costa Rica, Bali or Hawaii.
Pure Ghia: unexpected, complex, bitter and refreshing. The founder’s favorite.
2 oz. Ghia
2 oz. sparkling water
1. Combine Ghia and sparkling water.
2. Stir gently.
3. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig and bright orange zest.