Whether plans to abstain completely or just drink a bit less have so far been successful this month, there’s still time left to partake in a Dry-ish January. Restaurants and bars have embraced low- and no-alcohol menu items, while an increasing number of brands now opt for creative booze alternatives. There’s never been a better time to give what remains of Dry January another shot.
To help inspire readers shake up their drinking routines, VinePair asked wine professionals which beverages entice them the most when refraining from their favorite boozy sips. From honey-based mocktails, to a non-alcoholic twist on a beloved classic cocktail, keep reading for inventive alternatives from the experts.
The Best Dry January Beverages Recommended by Sommeliers
- Athletic Brewing’s Non-Alcoholic Beer
- Brooklyn Brewery’s Non-Alcoholic Beer
- Rambler Sparkling Water
- A Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail
- Fluère Alcohol-Free Spirits
- Killer Quail’s Sparkling Piquette
- Seedlip Garden 108
- In Pursuit of Tea Masala Chai
- Ramona Dry Grapefruit
- Rowdy Mermaid Alpine Lavender Kombucha
- Salcombe Distilling New London Light
- Homemade Honey Soda with Hector’s Honey
- Seedlip Spice
Keep reading for details about all the recommended beverages!
“My wife and I have been on a big non-alcoholic beer kick recently. This used to be one of the gaping holes for spirit-free beverages; options were limited and lackluster, and most did not satisfy a true beer craving. It’s cool to see brewers really lean into this movement. We’ve tried a handful of different brews, but we tend to always have Athletic Brewing stocked in our house. They have a great IPA, as well as a lovely golden ale that I really enjoy. But I am also really looking forward to trying Brooklyn Brewery’s new non-alcoholic beer whenever we get our hands on it down here in North Carolina.” —Ashley Malinowski, general manager/beverage director, chef/owner Scott Crawford’s Jolie, Raleigh, N.C.
“Rambler sparkling water and cold-brew Thai tea for me!” —Matt Pridgen, wine director, Underbelly Hospitality, Houston
“Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail: This has got all the feels of a refreshing Mojito, but none of the sugar and alcohol. The ingredients are simple: honey, fresh blackberries, fresh mint leaves (all muddled to a delicious pulp), lemon juice, water, and seltzer. It’ll have you resetting after the 2020 booze fest, and once you’re ready to imbibe again, skip the water and throw in a little vodka or rum.” —Nicki McTague, sommelier and president, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, Denver
“We normally participate in Dry January every year in our household, but this year is extra special because I’m pregnant! I was fortunate enough to get an early set of samples of Fluère [alcohol-free spirits] to play around with, and I was so excited to have new options to help elevate my non-alcoholic drink recipes after making the same kind of mocktails for months. I like Fluère because it is super versatile and has a great flavor profile and body, which make it comparable to mixing with a standard spirit. At all of the JK Food Group locations, we regularly include a selection of curated mocktails on our menus, and last year at Toro, we even hosted a spirit-free dinner with beverage pairings. I’m really looking forward to carrying Fluère and other products like this so we can continue to creatively expand and elevate these kinds of beverage offerings for our guests.”—Jodie Battles, beverage director, Toro/Coppa/Little Donkey, Boston
“As a proponent of a sustainable combination of both year-round indulgence and moderation, January is inevitably a time when the latter tends to weigh a little more heavily on our minds after the sustained indulgence of the holiday season. That being said, if my lucky stars align, I’m treating myself to a bottle of Killer Quail’s low-alcohol, high-impact Sparkling Piquette of Alder Springs Vineyard Chenin Blanc, which is exactly the sunshine in a bottle we all need right about now. Additionally, I often find myself reaching for a bottle of Seedlip Garden 108 to make either a low- or no-alcohol beverage (weather/mood/pandemic/political climate depending) with some citrus, some sugar, and a little something bubbly — like a splash of that Piquette, if I’m feeling frisky.” —Mary Allison Wright, owner, Yacht Club; wine director, The Proper Pour, Denver
“My go-to is Masala Chai tea in the mornings from In Pursuit of Tea (and if we are getting geeky, I love to simmer it with the A2 organic grass-fed milk from Amos Miller Farm in Pennsylvania). In the evenings, I crack open a RAMONA ‘Dry Grapefruit’ at only 5 percent ABV per serving.” —Jordan Salcito, sommelier and founder, Drink RAMONA Inc., NYC
“This Dry January, I have been enjoying kombucha-based beverages, since I started making my own kombucha in 2020. (It was a year for new hobbies, in case you didn’t hear.) Kombucha is a wonderful option for a low-ABV or no-ABV beverage, as it provides probiotics and antioxidants, plus a little caffeine to keep your day going! Kombucha also makes a great mocktail ingredient, since it lends acid and sweetness to a drink. It is also easy to flavor in whatever way you want by using an infused simple syrup. My favorite to make is lavender kombucha, but a nice local Colorado option you can use is Rowdy Mermaid Alpine Lavender. Try 4 ounces lavender kombucha, 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice, topped with a splash of grapefruit seltzer for an easy, refreshing beverage.” —Julie Masciangelo, sommelier and general manager, Il Posto, Denver
“Even though it just hit the market, my go-to for no-ABV is now New London Light from Salcombe Distilling. It’s super aromatic and definitely achieves a spirited status, even with zero alcohol. I like to enhance its body with some simple syrup and verjus, which lets the fresh, citrusy notes of NLL speak out.” —Will Wyatt, owner, Mister Paradise and Electric Burrito, NYC
“This January, I’ve been enjoying homemade honey soda. I love the natural complexity that unadulterated honey has as a sweetener, and I’ve gone from using it simply to sweeten other drinks, to using it as the main ingredient in some of my non-alcoholic beverages. Sonoma County is rich with high-quality apiaries, and several delicious monoflower varieties can be had — from the delicate star thistle, to the complex eucalyptus. I have fallen in love with varietal honey this year. Until recently, I hadn’t fully appreciated honey’s ability to capture and express terroir. I like to make my honey soda with organic local honey, of which there are several great suppliers, but my favorite is probably Hector’s Honey, which is a third-generation producer making pure, raw varietal honey. Aside from the honey, itself, I will add a little acid to balance out the intense sweetness, making the drink refreshing and light instead of cloying. Depending on the variety of honey, I’ll sometimes add a sprig of thyme or rosemary for a little herbaceousness.” —Jon McCarthy, sommelier and director of beverage, The Matheson Healdsburg, Healdsburg, Calif.
“The Negroni is one of my all-time favorite cocktails. The bitter and herbal tones work wonders for kickstarting your palate before a great meal. For Dry January, I like to recreate those bitter tones and adapt to more winter flavors [by] using equal parts Seedlip Spice, pomegranate juice, and tonic water. Serve over a large ice cube with a lemon peel, and it also pleases the eyes.” —Darlin Kulla, beverage director and sommelier, KNEAD Hospitality + Design, Washington, D.C.
Published: January 27, 2021