WELCOME TO 2022, yet another year of living and adapting during a pandemic. For many, alcohol has been a necessary component of survival — and, in turn, lots of people are sober-curious, opting to forego or, at the very least, cut back on consumption. But no matter your stance on Dry January, it’s hard to deny that Houston mixologists have gotten clever, combining high-quality ingredients in a way that elevates the mocktail. Here are several spots serving up zero-proof deliciousness this month — and beyond.
Shake It cocktail at Coltivare
Coltivare A month-long special menu at Coltivare boasts seven creative bevs using non-alcoholic spirit brands like Seedlip — it’s vegan, allergy-friendly, and calorie- and sugar-free — and Lyre’s, which has alcohol-free versions of tequila, gin, bourbon, rum, vermouth and other liquors. Still in the holiday spirit? Try Coltivare’s Shake It, which “presents like eggnog” and uses Lyre’s Coffee, Lyre’s Dark Rum, heavy cream, simple syrup, egg and orange zest. Or perhaps the Hot Toddy-inspired Take Five, which tastes like a seasonal Amaretto tea. Non-alocholic beer will also be on the menu.
Virgin Mojito at Dish Society
Dish Society There’s something for everyone at Dish Society, from cold-pressed juices to spirit-free “elixers,” like a virgin mojito with freshly muddled mint, lime juice, cane sugar and club soda. The Lemonberry drink has strawberries, blackberries, mint, lemon and cane sugar — perfectly refreshing on a warmer January day.
Spritzers at Heartbeet
HeartbeetThe family behind Hungry’s has opened Heartbeet, a vegan restaurant next-door to its Memorial outpost. Besides a new brunch menu — banana buckwheat waffles or tofu migas, anyone? — healthy “Spritzers” await, filled with fresh fruits and veggies. The ginger-turmeric tonic has anti-inflammatory properties, while the kale-mint spritz also has notes of green apple, lemon and ginger. Also try the cucumber-rose version, and the strawberry-chia limeade!
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Brennan’s of HoustonMocktails are a popular request at this Houston institution, where beverages like a blackberry lemon drop and a mojito can easily be made alcohol-free. Just ask!
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Local TableFamily-friendly resto Local Table, which just opened a new location in Garden Oaks, has a beverage menu with great cocktails and mocktails alike. The blueberry-basil or raspberry lemonade is available year-round.
Toronjajaja at Monkey's Tail
Monkey’s TailMonkey’s Tail beverage director Lainey Collum, who has previously shaken and poured at establishments like Yauatcha, Prohibition and Hay Merchant, believes that non-alcoholic cocktails should be more widely available and enjoyable. She frequently updates her alcohol-free — or, as she calls them, “free spirited” — offerings. Current hits include the Toronjajaja, with grapefruit, strawberry, lime, firewater and club soda, and the NYC Special, with café de olla, sweetened condensed milk and Coke.
ReikinaFormer Amazon-worker-turned-chef-restaurateur Thomas Stacy debuted ReikiNa in CityCentre a few months ago, an ambitious Euro-Asian tasting-menu concept. Two popular alcohol-free drinks include the Tangerine Dream, with a base of tangerine, lemon and lime, and topped with warm, crushed clove; and the Hibiscus Zen, an herbal-tea cocktail with dried hibiscus flowers, white pepper and fresh basil that can also be made with gin for those who choose to imbibe.
Mocktails at Tobiuo Sushi & Bar
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar The popular Katy sushi joint is offering four alcohol-free cocktails for just $4 each, including strawberry-basil, lavender-lychee (with a tangy pop of cherry juice!), orange “Dreamsicle,” and honey-ginger.