NEW YORK (PIX11) – If you’re looking to cut back on drinking this month, Dry January is a trend where participants remove alcohol from their diet, but abstaining from alcohol for 31 days doesn’t mean you have to stay away from your favorite restaurant or bar during that time.
“We do sell a lot of alcoholic drinks, but we sell a tremendous amount of non-alcoholic cocktails,” said Jason Hedges, beverage director at LT Hospitality in New York City.
Many restaurants are tapping into the mocktail market to make it easier for those participating in Dry January – a time when people choose healthier habits without committing to giving up drinking entirely.
It’s a trend seen mainly in the younger generation interested in the sober-curious movement.
“A lot of times you’re not going to get a boomer to give up their nightly nightcap whether that be wine, beer, or a bourbon,” said Michelle Westerkamp of Ohio Recovery Center. “But you could talk to a millennial, and they might’ve gone weeks or a month without drinking, and [they have] not even thought about it.”
Westerkamp said health benefits range from weight loss to better sleep and mental health.
“Some of the other benefits besides health can be saving money, being able to make more deliberate choices, more intentional choices in what you do with your time,” Westerkamp added.
Hedges has a book coming out called The Seasonal Cocktail.
“It’s a guide to creative drink-making, and it takes the four seasons and what’s fresh in the market and to incorporate those fresh flavors into cocktails,” Hedges said.
The book has non-alcoholic options, and he says using what’s in-season makes it fun.
At The Vine at Hotel Eventi on Sixth Avenue in midtown, he demonstrated how to create the Crimson and Clover, a drink made with fresh blood orange juice, fresh lemon juice, club soda, clover honey syrup, and Seedlip Spice – a non-alcoholic distillate which can be compared to gin. The finished product is a colorful, flavorful mocktail with natural ingredients.
Whether you’re looking to get a little healthier just for this month or you want to kickstart a sober life, there are hundreds of different mocktail recipes that you can rely on.