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Friday
Jan262018

Reinventing non-alcoholic drinks on the menu for 'Dry January'

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Giving up alcohol does not mean you have to hibernate, as an increasing number of mixologists have responded to the growing demand for zero-proof cocktails on the menu.

This month, "Dry January" exploded in popularity on social media, with scores pledging to take part in the challenge of giving up alcohol for 31 days, including ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

"Non-alcoholic drinks are really popular," Max Reis, the beverage director at West Hollywood's Gracias Madre restaurant, told ABC News. "You don’t want to exclude somebody because they can’t enjoy alcohol."

“Whether you’re on a cleanse, or you’re a kid, or you just don’t drink, sometimes you want to feel like you have something less mundane than a soda or a glass of tea,” he added of the recent rise in popularity of buzz-free beverages at bars.

Cutting back on alcohol has been anecdotally linked to myriad wellness benefits -- from better-looking skin to weight loss -- and may even decrease your risk for certain cancers, according to a recent study.

Reis shared his recipe for his original yuzu, kumquat and chamomile soda mocktail recipe, but added that you can get creative with mocktails using your favorite ingredients at home.

"One of the things that’s really easy and inherent to the palette is just the balance of citrus and sugar," he said. "As long as you keep that balance, you can add whatever you like."

Eliminating alcohol from your diet does not mean that you have to give up the fun and flavor of a good cocktail. Top mixologists at restaurants and bars across the country shared these recipes for how to create delicious and complex cocktails that feature no alcohol.

1. Yuzu, Kumquat and Chamomile Mocktail

Recipe:
5 kumquats, halved
1 oz yuzu
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz brewed chamomile tea
1 cucumber ribbon
1/3 a glass of soda water
Mint and baby's breath for garnish
Method: Muddle the kumquats and yuzu in a bar tin. Add chamomile tea, simple syrup and a single ice cube to the bar tin and shake vigorously to combine. Fill a highball glass halfway with ice and add the soda water. Pour the tin’s contents into the prepared glass without straining. Top any remaining space in the glass with soda water and garnish with a straw, mint sprig and baby's breath.

2. Napoleon Smash

Nick Bennett, the head bartender at Porchlight, a bar and restaurant under Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City, created a refreshing drink with black tea, lemon juice, simple syrup, grenadine and raspberry vinegar.

Recipe:
1.5 oz. black tea
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
.25 oz. grenadine
.25 oz. raspberry vinegar

Method: Mix the ingredients together with a whip-shaken procedure and then pour into a rocks glass over pebble ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

3. Salted Rosemary Paloma

"It's essentially just a riff on a classic paloma from Mexico but made with our somewhat famous 'fluffy' grapefruit juice," Dante creative director Naren Young told GMA. "It's altogether savory and refreshing and just shows that we care as much about the quality of our non-alcoholic drinks as our regular cocktails."

Recipe:
2 oz. grapefruit juice
.5 oz. salted rosemary syrup (see recipe below)
Top with Perrier
Glass: highball
Ice: cube
Method: Mix the ingredients on ice and then garnish with a grapefruit slice and add citrus salt to the rim of the glass.

For the salted rosemary syrup:
70 oz. water
30 oz. sugar
3 rosemary sprigs
3.5 oz. maldon salt
Method: Bring to a low boil. Turn off immediately and allow to cool. Strain and store in the fridge. Lasts two months.

4. Mind Your Hibiscus

"We wanted to create a vibrant mocktail that offered a glimmer of spring during Pittsburgh's cold winters and really highlight the beautiful winter citrus we have available," Randy Wright, a mixologist at Acorn, a restaurant in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, said of this drink.

Recipe:
10 oz rich hibiscus tea (cold brewed iced tea, let steep 24 hours)
40 oz blood orange juice
40 oz guava syrup
30 oz fresh pineapple juice
Method: Mix the hibiscus tea, blood orange juice and guava syrup. Pour the pineapple juice over ice and slowly add the hibiscus mixture on top. Garnish with lime, lemon and blood orange.

5. Strawberry Lavender Soda

Mixologist Milos Stevanovic from the Commons Club at the Virgin Hotel in Chicago shared this recipe for a unique, lavender-infused, buzz-free cocktail.

Recipe:
For the lavender syrup:
1 L sugar
1 L water
4 oz (by volume) lavender
Combine strawberry puree and lavender syrup; two parts strawberry, one part lavender syrup.

To make soda:
2 oz strawberry/lavender flavoring agent
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz agave nectar
Method: Add all ingredients to shaker and shake to combine, pour into pint glass -- ice and all -- and top with soda.

6. Matcha Matcha Man

Bar director Zach Cramer from New York City's Tiny’s and The Bar Upstairs shared these two recipes for a tumeric-infused, matcha-flavored cocktail.

Recipe:
2 pinches of mint muddled
2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 oz fresh pear juice
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 lime juice
Method: Shake and strain into a highball glass. Top with soda water, mint sprig and pear slice for garnish.

7. Turmeric Lime Soda

Recipe:
Muddled thumb-sized nub of turmeric
1 oz lime juice
1 oz agave syrup
Method: Shake and strain into a highball glass. Top with soda water and a lime garnish.

8. Habanero Limeade

Beverage director Bryan Shneider from New York City's Quality Eats shared this recipe for a spicy-sweet mocktail featuring his original habanero ice cubes.

Recipe:
Fill a tall glass with habanero ice cubes (see recipe below)
Add: 1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Top with chilled water
Method: Stir briefly, then garnish with a sprig of tarragon.

Recipe for habanero ice cubes:
Juice fresh whole habaneros in a vegetable juicer. (Shneider's tip: You might want to wear a mask to avoid sneezing and watery eyes.) Dilute one part habanero juice with 10 parts water. Add to 1-inch ice cube molds. Freeze overnight.

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