Let’s face it, historically non-drinkers have had the small side of the straw when it comes to fun and tasty sips. While cocktail menus and wine lists were chock-full of tasting options for alcohol lovers, those who chose not to soak up once had to settle for a boring old club soda. But not more! Thanks in part to the rise of wellness culture and the ‘curious sober’ movement, there are alcohol-free options far more interesting than ever – and some bartenders are even rethinking their traditional and alcoholic cocktails.
Now that we are staying at home, you may be looking for some low octane options that you can make on your own. Whether you’re doing Dry January, living sober, or just enjoying fun without ABV, these bartender-favorite ideas will ensure you never get confused about what to make when happy hour arrives.
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An alcohol-free spritz
For a little extra flavor with the seltzer, Marissa Mazzotta, manager of the bar at The slum , opt for a Tiki Spritz made with fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice and a pinch of cinnamon, topped with club soda. “It’s super refreshing and reminds me of the warmer weather in the colder months,” says Mazzotta.
Seedlip Alcohol-Free Distilled Spirits Sampler
For an alcohol-free cocktail experience, bartenders love these distilled, alcohol-free spirits that echo the taste experience of non-alcoholic alcohol.
“I’m a huge fan of this product, and there are always at least three mocktails on our Seedlip spirits menu,” says Marshall Minaya, Director of Beverages at Valerie and the blushing bar. Their favorite version? A riff on the Bee’s Knees cocktail with 2 oz Seedlip Garden, 0.75 oz lemon juice and 0.75 oz simple syrup made from honey and infused with sage leaves. “Soaking up a Seedlip Grove paired with a good bottle of tonic is a perfect way to spend a day at home without drinking too,” adds Minaya.
Maxime Belfand, director of the bar at Saxon + Parole uses the spirits in a modified version of a highball cocktail, mixing them with a tangy shrub for a palette awakening drink.
For a real dose of pleasure, Lupa Beverage manager Emilia Aiello advises embracing nostalgia and ordering a childhood favorite. “I love the Shirley Temples. At Lupa, we make our own grenadine and lemon / lime simple syrup, so the drink tastes old-fashioned and intimate, ”says Aiello. “As a family, we never went out much to eat, but when we did, I was allowed to order one, so it’s always like a treat.”
The Devocion tonic
They can keep their espresso martinis — that unexpected sip of NoMad Los Angeles wine manager Ryan Bailey is the caffeinated concoction you’ll crave. “No idea how the grapefruit and cold brew blend works, but it works on so many levels,” says Bailey. “It’s perfect in the morning when you want something hydrating and incredibly refreshing on a hot afternoon.”
1 oz Devocion cold brew
Fever Tree Tonic, to taste
1 ounce of grapefruit juice
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 ounce vanilla syrup
Add all the ingredients to a glass and stir to combine.
Don’t underestimate the power of good glassware. “I drink kombucha in a wine glass with ice, like a rosé spritzer, especially when I try to reduce my consumption, because it is super special in the wine glass”, explains Myriah Quintela, bartender of Sweet Afton. “That’s a good brain trick for me!”
A virgin Mojito
You don’t need rum to enjoy the tangy, minty goodness of a mojito. The Rooster Rico director of drinks Eric Laugier opts for a sugar-free version with lemon, mint and club soda to awaken your taste buds. Nikki McCutcheon, Director of Beverages at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge adds that “virgin mojitos are also easy to use, as the ingredients are already present in most bars and can be taken up a notch with the addition of fresh seasonal fruit. “Break without sacrificing the social aspect of drinking, ordering a blank option like a virgin mojito makes it not only bearable, but enjoyable!”
A sweet treat
“I have a long-standing obsession with caramel candy,” says Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC bartender Pong Sawadviphachi. “Mixing the butterscotch ice cream with the apple juice gives it a nice fresh taste. They add, “I love that it is a drink that everyone can enjoy.”
Bring a healthy boost to your happy hour with this favorite from Santiago Pesantez, Director of Beverages at Felidia. “My soft drink of choice is our hibiscus iced tea,” Pesantez says. “Hibiscus is known to prevent hypertension, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, aid digestion, and help with weight management, so it’s the perfect drink when you’re avoiding alcohol.”
Central bar, Deputy General Director Kile Duval calls hot cider: “A versatile winter elixir with the perfect blend of cinnamon, cloves, anise and black pepper that shines best when not weathered by spirits. Not only is this a great way to stay warm in the winter, it’s also a great must-have concoction while you detoxify yourself through those lofty resolutions made while toasting to the New Year! “
San Pellegrino Sanbitter
To bring a flavor reminiscent of your favorite cocktails to your zero-proof blends, this italian bitter soda is a must-have for Krissy Harris, co-owner and head bartender of Jungle bird. “One of my favorites is San Pellegrino Sanbitter and soda. It’s like a Campari and soda without alcohol,” says Harris. “If you’re looking for something higher that you can mix at home, I like the pink from our Zero Proof list, which uses Sanbitter, Seedlip Grove, and our homemade pineapple shrub. It’s pretty close to our cocktail. home, the Jungle Bird, but alcohol-free. “
Orange ice cream
“I want everyone to feel welcome in my bar, whether they’re soaking up or not,” says bartender Lydia McLuen of KEX Portland. “If you devote so much time and attention to developing alcohol-free and low-blood alcohol options, it becomes a more inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. We should all feel welcome at the party, it doesn’t matter what we sip. “
Their favorite alcohol-free creation to make? “Orange Creamsicle, with orange juice, our homemade hazelnut orgeat, lime and tonic on pebble ice cream with an orange slice.”
Cocktails n ° 1 curious
“Whether you’re sober and curious, sober for the month or determined to live a newly sober lifestyle, vacations can be tough,” warns Jason Hall, Executive Chef of Legasea seafood brewery and Cathedral “It’s getting better, I promise! For me, it’s really about drinking high-quality, delicious products that are enjoyable with or without alcohol, and today there are more brands than ever before that cater to this market. “
One of those brands on Hall’s shortlist is Curious Elixirs, a line of pre-bottled mocktails that make it much easier to make a sophisticated drink without ABV. “I find any small individual soda or bottled drink to be a great alternative,” says Hall. “You can drink them straight from the bottle or pour them into a glass with ice cubes and a garnish and have a quick, easy drink on hand in no time.”
Mule not so moscow
Billy Potvin, who oversees the bar program at Klein’s in The Hoxton tends to take a nostalgic sip like root beer or orange soda when not drinking alcohol, but suggests that: “If you’re looking for something a little more ‘adult’, a ginger with fresh lime juice can trick your feeling like you’re drinking a sip of alcohol when you’re in the wagon. However, Potvin advises checking your labels if you’re looking to be completely alcohol-free, although most ginger beers are zero-proof, some brands contain a hint of alcohol.
Jörg Geiger Winterbirnentraum
Fancy a sophisticated champagne sub? Rafael Sanchez, director of wines and beverages at Addison love this complex German bottle without ABV. “This is a blend of ancient pears, infused with winter spices,” says Sanchez. “A delicious seasonal sparkling drink for school evenings.”
Sometimes you just need a shot, so why not go for a more liver-friendly option at bartender Kristin Muri at Spanish? “I take shots of ginger juice, lemon juice and honey at home and behind the bar at The Spaniard when I’m not drinking and still want to take shots, or if I’m feeling exhausted and need a boost, ”says Muri. “It’s a perfectly balanced shot, plus it’s similar to the penicillin cocktail (minus the scotch!)”
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