Whether it’s an all-out Dry January, or just a desire to step away from daily drinking for a week, a slew of non-alcoholic and low-ABV products have made forgoing the daily glass (or three) of wine easier and more fun than ever.
To discover what’s currently inspiring drinks experts, VinePair asked bartenders for the teetotaling beverages that keep them satisfied while abstaining. Many see Dry January as a chance for renewed focus on the myriad flavors found in tea and coffee, while others are turning to creative and intricately balanced low-proof cocktails and mocktails. Keep reading for a list that will help make the remaining booze-free weeks in January a breeze.
The Best Dry January Beverages Recommended by Bartenders
- 221 BC Berry Hibiscus Kombucha
- Nuun Sports Hydration Tablets
- Aplós Non-Alcoholic Spirits
- Twice-Brewed Oolong Tea
- Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Drinks
- Sobrii 0-Gin
- Avec Grapefruit & Pomelo
- Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
- Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- Corpse Reviver’s Chai Spice & Banana Kit
- Conniption Barrel-Aged Gin
- Suntory ALL-FREE Beer
- Kin Euphorics
- Q’s Grapefruit Mixer
- Wayan’s Tumeric Tonic
- Rare Tea Cellar’s Freak of Nature Oolong
- Artet Cannabis Apertif
- Bammy’s Non-Alcoholic Painkiller
- Zoe’s Mocktail at Zoe’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant
- Lyre’s Spirit Co.’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits
- Fresh Victor Cucumber & Lime
Keep reading for details about all the recommended beverages!
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“Dry January for me means lots of coffee, tea, and kombucha! Hot chai lattes get me going: I love the ginger and black pepper notes. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of kombucha, but I’ve recently been enjoying a berry hibiscus blend that we have on tap at work. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so I have Nuun sport hydration tablets at the house. Drop one of those in 16 ounces of water, and I don’t worry about cramping up on my 5K runs.” —David Roth, Beverage Director, KOJO, Sarasota, Fla.
“I’ve been making different shrubs to use in non-alcoholic drinks at home. They’re really easy to make and customize. My current beverage of choice has been an apple shrub with bitters and soda water. Having something fun and flavorful at the end of the day is key!” —Rachel Ramirez, Head Mixologist, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville, Tenn.
“Since bars were closed down in Texas, and because I am a social drinker, I decided to take a long break from drinking alcoholic beverages. I’m currently 10 months alcohol-free, and I plan on staying the course for at least a year. But for anyone who is doing Dry January, I highly recommend Aplós, a hemp-infused, non-alcoholic spirit that is plant-based and uplift[ing]. My beautiful and talented friend, Lynnette Marrero, is the flavor consultant for this product. [It’s] so unique that I found it incredibly tempting during these times.” —Alba Huerta, Owner, Julep, Houston
“I’m always drinking coffee and soda water regardless of what month it is, but I’ve been adding in oolong and other kinds of tea. If I’m drinking it at night, I brew it once to remove the caffeine, and then brew it a second time to drink. Mostly, I’m thinking about when I get to drink tequila again.” —Nick Pratt, Assistant General Manager/Bar Manager, Hojoko, Boston
“For Dry January, I’ve been enjoying Highballs made with non-alcoholic bases (Seedlip etc). At Queen’s Park, we have a cocktail on our menu called Here’s the Thing, with Seedlip Grove, honey, pineapple, lime, and soda that I usually grab to-go on my way home from working on the new bar.” —Laura Newman, Owner, Queen’s Park, Birmingham, Ala.
“This month, I’ve been drinking Sobrii 0-Gin with Avec Grapefruit and Pomelo. Avec is a new line of better-for-you mixers, and this flavor has beautiful vanilla and peppery notes. The fresh grapefruit sings together with the gin without the need for any sugar. I’ve been enjoying this combo strained over fresh ice. The beauty of this low-sugar, non-alcoholic drink is that there’s no need to stop at just one!” —Matija Whitenton, Head Bartender, Palihouse Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.
“For Dry January, I’ve been doing a lot of alcohol-free Mojito-style and ginger beer cocktails. They’re simple but tasty and not too sweet, so you feel like you’re still sipping on a great cocktail.” —Al Hofeling, Bartender, Strange Bird, Indianapolis
“Topo Chico [with a] twist of grapefruit [and] a squeeze of lime juice. The high carbonation, along with natural grapefruit flavor and fresh lime juice, makes for a bright, bubbly, and refreshing non-alcoholic beverage option. Vermouth is often thought of as just a modifier for cocktails like the Manhattan or Martini, but it is also great on it’s own for a low-ABV option. I love a good sweet vermouth like Carpano Antica Formula, or a blanc or bianco style such as Dolin Blanc, either on the rocks or as a vermouth and tonic.” —Nick Touch, Brand Ambassador, The Family Jones, Denver
“My go-to Dry January drink is a basil, mint, [and] lemon slushy mocktail. It’s been an at-home staple during the pandemic, as adults and children alike love it, and it’s super easy to make with simple and accessible ingredients. I blend basil leaves, mint leaves, lemon juice, agave nectar or honey, and then add some ice and continue to blend to get that slushy-like consistency.” —Joe Palminteri, Beverage Director, Hamilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.
“I think it is always important to take care of yourself. I often take breaks from drinking to reset both my body and mind. Whenever I’m taking a break, the first thing I turn to is tea. The complexity of flavors you find in various teas are as interesting as wine and spirits. For me, it is a lot of fun to take the flavors I love and share them with others through what we do at Corpse Reviver. This year, I am especially excited about a new house-made chai spice blend and banana kit we created. Add hot water, and you have a beautiful handcrafted chai tea that is a great alternative to a Hot Toddy. For those who want to add booze, I recommend a gin like Conniption Barrel-Aged Gin.” —Megan Corbally, Bartender, Corpse Reviver Bar & Lounge, Durham, N.C.
“I’ve been sippin’ on a session cocktail (no liquor, super-low ABV) that I call the Pretty in Pink: sage simple syrup, lemon, Aperol, ginger beer, soda water, and some lavender bitters in a Collins glass with ice. I drink mine with a half rim of pink sea salt and a shaved lemon.” —Eric Vanderveen, Bar Manager, The Empire Lounge & Restaurant, Louisville, Colo.
“A product I’ve been enjoying quite a bit recently, and will continue to do so for Dry January, is the beer-like beverage [called] Suntory ALL-FREE. It’s zero percent alcohol and sugar, with no artificial flavorings and zero calories. It also fits really well in my lifestyle, whether I’m fresh off a workout or doing a midday conference call. I’ve also been experimenting with it in non-alcoholic cocktails, like a Blackberry ALL-FREE Shandy. It’s really versatile, and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for non-alcoholic options to keep on hand at home.” —Elliott Clark, Founder, Apartment Bartender, Denver
“We have a huge bag of dried Jamaica at the bar right now left over from some R&D, so we almost always have a batch of Agua de Jamaica on hand. I love soft drinks — probably a consequence of growing up in the Midwest — and having something sweet and tart to enjoy helps to quench one’s thirst for a cocktail.” —Matthew Belanger, Head Bartender, Death & Co, Los Angeles
“Honey is currently experimenting with Kin Euphoric’s Adaptogenic concentrates as a staple ingredient in our Non-Alcoholic Potion program. We love healthy ingredients that still physically alter the body and mind!” —Jocasta Hanson, Owner/Bartender, Honey Elixir Bar, Denver
“Recently, I’ve learned the value of not putting too much pressure on myself, and I’ve certainly carried that into what I’m calling a ‘dry-ish’ January. Moderation and intention are the name of the game for me this month, so low-ABV cocktails have been my saving grace. My favorite ingredients when making low-proof cocktails are sherry, fun sparkling seltzer flavors, and freshly squeezed winter citrus, like grapefruit or orange. I definitely prefer to keep it really simple and often opt for a Highball. A fun one to try is oloroso sherry, grapefruit soda (Fever Tree and Q Mixers make great ones), and a splash of pomegranate juice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.” —Veronica Correa, Bartender, San Diego
“Our Turmeric Tonic is one of my favorite non-alcoholic alternatives. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, slightly bitter, and refreshing, making it a great healthy option for a Dry January detox. It can be enjoyed hot — perfect for the chilly winter months — or served cold over ice; both delicious. This recipe is super easy for everyone to make at home.” —Eileen Chiang, Beverage Director, Wayan, NYC
“While I’m not fully participating in Dry January, my consumption, in general, has been quite moderate since quarantine began. I’ve always been a big fan of intentional, thoughtful, non-alcoholic cocktails. I’m pretty fanatical about tea — the Freak of Nature Oolong from Rare Tea Cellar is a regular in my rotation. Their smoky lapsang souchong tea is fantastic too — great to plug it into non-alcoholic cocktails to play the role of the whiskey. I was also making some cocktails recently with juice blends from Natalie’s. They have some really interesting profiles that are easy to twist into a fully composed non-alc cocktail. The ‘Purify’ from them (blood orange, grapefruit, dandelion, and ginger) is a favorite.” —Charles Joly, World-Champion Mixologist & Co-Founder, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago
“I’m currently loving shrubs and amaro for no- and low-ABV options. As part of our zero waste program, we make both in house — utilizing what would be waste, such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grinds, chocolate scraps, etc. We serve each with seltzer water or ‘caldo’ with hot water, and right now, we’re featuring an apple fennel shrub with fresh lemon juice and soda. I’m also big on vermouth — Dolin Blanc, specifically. I’ve been making sours with it for myself that are super-low ABV, since the vermouth is the only alcohol in it.” —Melissa Brooke, Bartender, The Musket Room, NYC
“When I’m in the mood for a cocktail but also want the chill vibe, my route is always an aperitif. I recently discovered Artet, a non-alcoholic cannabis aperitivo that hits those bitter notes I’m looking for, along with a modest dose of THC. It’s perfect for the early evening on the rocks with soda water, and versatile enough to lend itself to a fun cocktail creation.” —Karl Steuck, Owner, Spirit & Spoon, Los Angeles
“Without a doubt, I’ll be drinking the crowd favorite, the non-alcoholic Painkiller — pineapple juice, orange juice, and creamy coconut goodness, finished with a generous dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. It’s been a rough year in this world. True to its namesake, the non-alcoholic Painkiller cocktail served at Bammy’s surely numbs the pain and eases the mind. Honestly, I barely miss the rum.” —Chad Henry, Bar Manager, Bammy’s, Washington, D.C.
“While options are plentiful for observing Dry January, I created the Zoe’s Mocktail. This deliciously refreshing drink is one part Goya Jamaican-style ginger beer, four parts San Pellegrino, with a splash of lime juice and Pom pomegranate juice, [and] garnished with a lime rind spiral. It’s flavorful with a nice little zing, and pairs well with rich dishes.” —Marc Sauter, Bartender/Sommelier/Owner, Zoe’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant, Virginia Beach, Va.
“I love a Negroni, and I love trying variations on them as well. And a Negroni is a cocktail that before you could not get non-alcoholic because its components are basically all alcohol-based. But now, there are amazing non-alcoholic spirits like Lyre’s Spirit Co. that offer an homage to classic spirits we know and love, like a Dry London spirit, Vermouth Rosso, and Italian Orange, which is their version of an Aperol, just [without] alcohol. Of course, then I take my style of blending tropical island flavors with classics. With Sweet Hibiscus from the Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, it delivers just that harmonious blend.” —Tim Rita, Brand Ambassador/Bartender, Lyre’s/ T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
“I’ve defaulted to making Martinis at home using inverse proportions: 2 ounces of vermouth and .75 ounces of gin. It’s every bit as satisfying as a regular Martini, but significantly lower in proof!” —Shannon Tebay, Head Bartender, Death & Co, NYC
“I’ve been intrigued by the multitude of new tonic expressions on the market and have been playing with them in combination with different Fresh Victor flavors. I find that 1 to 2 ounces of Fresh Victor with 4 to 6 ounces of tonic is a great formula. Fresh Victor Cucumber & Lime plus classic tonic water is a go-to for me on a regular basis; I like Q’s new Light Tonic in particular. —H. Joseph Ehrmann, Owner/Chief Mixology Officer, Elixir/Fresh Victor, San Francisco