Mastering Dry January


A delicious dry January is possible.: Photo Credit: PamelaJoeMcFarlane/iStock/Getty Images Plus collection/Getty Images

The idea of starting off the year by taking a break from the hard stuff has gained legions of January abstainers. A booze-free beginning of the year offers several key benefits: Cutting out a month of happy hours can do wonders for your bank account and may offer the clarity that comes with an extended detox.

In order to ensure a successful “Dry January” without letting your social life suffer, it’s essential to line up restaurants and bars that offer innovative and enjoyable alternatives to beer, wines and spirits. After all, how much O’Doul’s and iced tea can one person drink?

Here’s a look at places near EVEN Hotels that (like EVEN’s Cork & Kale bar) take mocktails, low ABV ferments and soft drinks seriously:

Craft Kombucha, Washington, D.C.

Craft Kombucha, considered the premier kombucha fermentation operation in the nation’s capital, supplies the city with fizzy pours of unique brews. Antioxidant, probiotic and detoxifying benefits are bonuses, but the real appeal here are Craft’s array of seasonal flavors that range from wintry apple-cherry cider and spicy ginger to a hopped Bavarian Falcon that’s sure to satisfy any IPA cravings. You can sample up to six flavors at its Taproom at Union Market.

Artera, New York City

If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion during Dry January, there’s no place better to indulge than Manhattan’s Artera. Here diners have the option of enjoying an 18-course tasting menu with a temperance pairing made up of zero-proof alternatives inspired by everything from a chilled bottle of vintage Champagne to an aromatic martini scented with bay and juniper.

Gramercy Tavern, New York City

A Manhattan institution, Gramercy Tavern is home to one of the most well-thought out beverage programs in the country. The bar mixes up booze-free mocktails based on favorites like Negronis and Swizzles, pours glasses of zero-proof Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Noir juices, along with tart glasses of single origin French cider.

Battery Harris, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The cocktail menu at Battery Harris, a sunny slice of the Caribbean in Brooklyn, is full of tropical fruit juices, deeply spiced infusions and exotic additions. A well-stocked bar like this means that even if you’re foregoing the rum, sun-soaked long drinks and tasty Tiki tipples are not only readily available but customizable. Even without the gin, a Bungalow made with elderflower, cucumber, mint and lime is infinitely refreshing.

Salt 88, Omaha, Neb.

Elegant New American spot Salt 88 boasts an extensive wine cellar and bar program complete with a sub-menu devoted to mocktails. The bar kicks up familiar combos with fresh herbs for a dill-spiked lemon-limeade, sparkling raspberry-mint soda and a rosemary-citrus sparkler.

Fragrant Basil, Norwalk, Conn.

Fragrant Basil, a petite breakfast and lunch destination, has a comprehensive drinks list that lines up everything from superfood lattes to cold-pressed juices to house-made nut milks. Think of a Forget-Me-Not as a non-alcoholic Madras with fresh cranberry, orange and pineapple juices, while a Nuts About You satisfies like a banana daiquiri with cashew milk, vanilla and dates.

Cheers to you!

About the Author

Caroline RussockCaroline Russock is a local editor for Zagat. Past gigs include vetting thousands of recipes for Serious Eats, bartending in rural Sicily, and running a French bistro in San Diego.