If you’re one of the millions partaking in Dry January this year, you have a lot to look forward to; cutting back your alcohol intake has been linked to a slew of benefits for your mind, body, and wallet. But what’s a girl to do when her non-teetotaling friends invite her out for a drink, or her S.O. plans date night at a fancy cocktail bar? It’s easy enough to cheers adaptogen-spiked turmeric lattes in the AM hours, but finding a good-for-you swap for after sunset can be a little intimidating.
After seeing too many “dismissive” options for non-drinkers (like iced tea, soda water, or the sugary slushies that give mocktails a bad rap), Gabriella Mlynarczyk, Los Angeles mixologist and author of the forthcoming Clean + Dirty Drinking, set out to craft non-alcoholic drinks that look and taste luscious. “For me, drinking is more of a social activity than anything else; and to be left out with just a glass of bubbly water—it’s kind of pathetic,” she says of her experiences forgoing alcohol at some bars and restaurants. “I think there’s a lot of people out there who feel left out, so I set out to create something that was as enjoyable on the palate as it was visually,” she says.
“I think there’s a lot of people out there who feel left out, so I set out to create something that was as enjoyable on the palate as it was visually.”
But, unfortunately, Mlynarczyk won’t always be the one slinging drinks. So how do you get the bartender at your local establishment to conjure up a next-level mocktail? Mlynarczyk suggests asking for a non-alcoholic drink that isn’t too sweet and uses fresh ingredients (think natural juices from freshly muddled berries and herbs as opposed to processed juice mixes). Sounds easy enough, right?
If you’d rather not freestyle and leave your drink entirely up to chance, Mlynarczyk provides four good-for-you drinks made from ingredients any good bar or restaurant should have stocked.
Keep reading for Mlynarczyk’s go-to mocktail mixes to get your drink on, sans-alcohol.
If you want something light and refreshing…
Order a soda water—it has less sugar than tonic—with muddled cucumber and basil, a splash of lime juice, and a dash of simple syrup. While you can skip the simple syrup if you’re staying away from sugar, Mlynarczyk thinks a touch of sweetness brings out the rest of the drink’s flavors.
If you’re looking for something tropical and fruity…
Ask the bartender to shake—not stir!—pineapple juice, coconut milk, a splash of lime juice, and simple syrup. Top with soda water and, Voila! A spring-break-ready concoction (minus the hangover).
If you want to shake off the chill with something summery…
Ask your bartender to muddle cilantro with a couple ounces of grapefruit juice and a splash of lime juice. Strain and pour into a rocks glass of soda water. The cilantro ties the citrus flavors together beautifully.
If you want something aromatic…
Ask to spice your soda water up with muddled blackberries (or any fresh berries you see on the menu), thyme, and lemon juice. Mlynarczyk contrasts fruity elements in her drinks with more traditionally savory herbs—like thyme, cilantro, or basil—for an innovative flavor combo that’ll have you saying, Shirley Temple, who?
Battling Pinot Noir cravings this Dry January? This study shows meditation could be the key to reducing your cravings during Dry January. If you’re in the mood to DIY a woo-woo wellness beverage, try this adaptogen-packed elixir which might make you more outgoing—without a drop of alcohol.