Dry January doesn’t have to be daunting; neither does cutting back or giving up alcohol for good. These non-alcoholic cocktails are great year-round options for anyone who wants a sophisticated sip sans booze.
January and the new year generally have a way of activating a part of your brain that seeks a reset, whether it be from grub, libations, or any other vices (I once even quit my Dunkin’ Donuts addiction in January). Blame it on excess around the holiday season, or general resolution-ness, it’s a time of the year many look to prove out that saying: Everything in moderation, even moderation. Whether you decide you’re ready to reset with a dry January—which consists of not intaking any spirits for the whole month—or are looking to cut calories as part of a New Year’s diet, or you just don’t drink to begin with, these zero-proof cocktails are here to get you through it.
“Taking inspiration from traditional lassi, this rich, decadent drink is layered with mango, coconut, and pistachio,” says Tyson Buhler of Death & Co., Denver.
- 1 ounce mango puree
- 1 ounce vanilla syrup
- ½ ounce cream of coconut (like Coco Lopez)
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- 1 dash cardamom bitters (optional; see note below)
- crushed pistachio, for garnish
- Shake/strain into a fizz glass and garnish with crushed pistachio.
Scrappy's Bitters Exotic Bitters Mini Set, 4 for $22.06 on Amazon
Flavored bitters keep things interesting, and this set comes with lavender, chocolate, cardamom, and grapefruit varieties. But beware: these are based on alcohol, so if you use even just a couple drops, you're not technically teetotaling.
Rosemary Blackberry Mocktail
You won’t have to feel any peer pressure at your Sunday night poker game if you sip on this lovely little alcohol-free cocktail by Claudia Sidoti, Head of Recipe Development at Hello Fresh.
- 3/4 cup frozen blackberries (plus more for garnish)
- 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (plus more for garnish)
- 4 teaspoons sugar syrup
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- 1 sprig rosemary
- sparkling water
- blackberries, for garnish
- Place glasses in freezer to chill.
- Add frozen blackberries, blueberries, and sugar syrup in a pot with a splash of water. Simmer about 15 minutes.
- Add mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain with a sieve and set aside to let cool.
- Meanwhile, rinse blender, then add lemon juice and rosemary sprig. Blend, then strain.
- Remove glasses from freezer and fill halfway with crushed ice. Pour in lemon mixture, then sparkling water. Pour blackberry mixture on top, and garnish with berries.
Oster Pro 1200 Blender with Glass Jar, Smoothie Cup, and Food Processor Attachment, $81.99 on Amazon
Blend cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, and much more to silky perfection (and get some bonus attachments while you're at it).
Cold Brew & Tonic
A refreshing way to get a caffeine buzz instead of a buzz buzz.
- 1 ½ ounces cold brew
- tonic water
- Pour cold brew over fresh cubed ice and top with tonic.
Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, 24 bottles for $30.84 on Amazon
One of the best-loved brands of tonic around—and enough to last you a while.
BFF Zero Proof Cocktail
Simple, healthy, and delicious. Born at Hedge Row, one of Mass Ave.’s best restaurants in Indianapolis, Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk and his team serve up this mocktail on the bar menu.
- 2 ounces water
- 1 ½ ounces grapefruit juice
- ¾ ounce rosemary-lime simple syrup
- 1 ounce lime cordial
- Combine all ingredients in mixing tin.
- Cover mixing tin with shaking tin and shake until thoroughly chilled.
- Strain into rocks glass with ice cubes.
- Garnish with rosemary sprig.
BG Reynolds Lime Cordial, $16.14 on Amazon
Handcrafted in Portland, Ore., this all-natural syrup adds tropical flair to all sorts of drinks and dishes.
Cocktail Shaker Set with Jigger and Bar Spoon, $16.95 on Amazon
Cocktail shakers come in handy even if you're not using booze.
Served at Zuma in Las Vegas, this zero proofer is named after the beautiful space’s interior designer, and features fresh, tropical flavors of passion fruit and pineapple.
- 8 mint leaves
- 20 mL fresh passion fruit pulp with seeds
- 40 mL pineapple puree
- 30 mL orange juice
- 10 mL simple syrup
- Muddle mint, then add all other ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake, strain, and pour into highball glass with ice.
- Garnish with half passion fruit and mint sprig.
Kolder Mini Measure Shot Glass, $6.74 on Amazon
This shot glass gives you measurements in ounces and millileters, so there's no need to do conversions.
This tiki-inspired mocktail by Brian Miller of NYC’s The Polynesian will mentally transport you to a luau.
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- ½ teaspoon lilikoi puree
- ½ ounce Don’s Spices #4 (1 part cinnamon syrup to 2 parts grapefruit juice)
- 1 ounce coconut cream
- 1 ounce club soda
- Flash blend all ingredients except club soda for 5 seconds with ice.
- Add club soda, strain into a mug, and top with crushed ice.
- Garnish with a half orange wheel, grated cinnamon, and a parasol.
Fred MY TAI Reusable Drink Umbrellas, 6 for $10.99 on Amazon
Paper drink parasols are kitschy-cute, but usually just get thrown out. Solve that problem by buying reusable ones!
Here’s to You
“A grapefruit and cinnamon combo lends refreshing yet complex flavors to this booze-free take on a Champagne cocktail,” says Daniel Zacharczuk of Bibo Ergo Sum in Los Angeles.
- 1 ounce Seedlip Spice
- ¾ ounces clarified lime juice
- ¾ ounces cinnamon syrup
- 1 teaspoon ginger syrup
- 4 ounces seltzer
- Shake/strain ingredients.
- Pour into flute glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits Spice 94, $37.50 on Amazon
This innovative non-alcoholic spirit has notes of allspice, cardamom, grapefruit, and lemon, and is meant for mixing with other flavors to form sophisticated concoctions that won't intoxicate.
The Cardi Tea
We bet Sen Sakana’s Beverage Director, Zachary Gross, thought up this zero-proof cocktail when this year’s biggest music act, Cardi B, was pregnant with her first child.
- 1 ½ ounces steeped green tea
- ½ ounce agave
- ½ ounce bergamot orange juice
- ½ ounce lime juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- egg white
- Dry shake all ingredients, then shake with ice.
- Double strain into a coupe.
- Garnish with a seasoned lemon slice.
Schott Zwiesel Air Coupe Glasses,$18 - $108 at Sur La Table
These lovely glasses are delicate yet dishwasher safe, and can be purchased singly or in sets of six.
Salted Cucumber Lemonade
The definition of easy drinking right here, folks!
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ English cucumber with skin on, cut in large chunks (about 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed lime juice
- Place warm water and sugar into a large pitcher. Stir with a spoon until sugar is dissolved.
- Place the cucumber, salt and cold water into a blender. Puree in blender, and then strain cucumber mixture into the pitcher.
- Add lime juice, stir.
- Serve over ice. Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Zulay Metal Citrus Press, $9.35 on Amazon
A heavy-duty citrus squeezer makes getting every last bit of juice from your fruit a breeze.
Developed by H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco, this frothy mocktail will instantly put you in good spirits.
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- 2 ounces honey syrup (1:1 honey and water)
- ¾ ounce egg white
- ½ ounce Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters
- 3 maraschino cherries on a pick
- Add all ingredients to a mixing tin and fill with ice.
- Shake well and strain up into a cocktail glass.
- Garnish with the cherry pick resting on the rim.
Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters, $9.52 on Amazon
While these bitters are often touted as non-alcoholic, they do contain a tiny amount of alcohol (a lot less than vanilla extract, for comparison), so you may choose to leave them out for a truly virgin drink.
Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries, 2 jars for $33.02 on Amazon
Skip the neon-red maraschinos you'd fish from a well drink and upgrade to these dark, lush Italian imports that actually taste good.
For more ideas and support, see how not drinking affects your health, and get tips for going sober. If banishing booze completely sounds a bit too extreme to you, consider trying some low-alcohol cocktails instead, and see our guide on How to Build a Low- and No-Alcohol Bar Cart.
Header image by Chowhound.