After the lights and trees have been taken down and the credit card bills from holiday shopping excess start rolling in, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. January, a time for making good on New Year’s resolutions, is embraced as Dry January for many. This public health campaign, encouraging abstention from alcohol for the month of January, originated by the charity Alcohol Concern and first occurred in January 2013 in the U.K. 
Global marketing research firm Nielsen conducted a poll of Americans in January 2021, finding that 13 percent were participating in “Dry January.”  Whether participation is aimed at improving health or simply trying to consume less alcohol in general, one thing is clear – the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon for alcohol sales. Despite in-house capacity restrictions for restaurants and bars, some states have changed their liquor rules, allowing establishments to sell alcohol with take-out food orders. Online liquor sales complete with home delivery became “a thing” in 2020. Market data from Nielsen cites an increase of approximately 24 percent for total alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants during COVID. Of particular concern is the finding that sales of higher alcohol spirits rose 27 percent over last year. 
But it’s a new year and all is not lost! There are delicious ways to enjoy Dry January or any month thanks to the plethora of fresh mixers, alcohol-free spirits, low-ABV canned cocktails and mocktail recipes (cocktails without alcohol) available. Now more than ever mocktails are scaled up in appearance and flavor. Think how sophisticated you’ll look at your next zoom happy hour with that stylish mocktail in hand!
Cold pressed juices and fruit & botanical blends offer professional and home mixologists consistent flavors to work with regardless of whether the fruit is in season. Many of these mixers can stand on their own as a beverage and add layers of flavor to drinks with and without alcohol.
Fresh Victor is a new line of clean label cold-pressed premium juices available in seven classic and creative blends that can be shipped to all 48 continental U.S. states. Choose from:
- Mexican Lime & Agave
- Pineapple & Ginger Root
- Three Citrus & Mint Leaf
- Jalapeno & Lime
- Cactus Pear & Pomegranate
- Lemon Sour
- Cucumber & Lime
ROOT artisanal cocktail mixers are handcrafted using all natural, organic ingredients. At the SIP Awards International Spirits Competition, ROOT’s The Lemongrass was awarded the 2020 Double Gold SIP Award and ROOT’s Au Pear was awarded the 2020 Bronze. Available for purchase in select U.S. locations and online.
- The Lemongrass – Lemongrass, Elderflower, Hint of Sweetness
- The Grenada – Pomegranate, Lemongrass, Lemon
- The Hound – Grapefruit, Tart Cherry, Hint of Sweetness
- Au Pear – Pear, Lemon, Hint of Orange
- The Cuke – Cucumber, Lime, Elderflower
- Hibi-Hibi – Hibiscus Tea, Elderflower, Hint of Lime
The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley offers forty flavors of fruit & herb purees, blends and concentrates that are ideal for use in beverage and culinary recipes as well as in brewing. While virtually any flavor can enhance a mocktail or cocktail, two new flavors stand out as a key way to elevate your beverage experience. For a bold, savory essence to your low- or no-alcohol beverage, new Red Jalapeño Puree delivers a spicy blend puréed with rice vinegar. Another new flavor, Peach Ginger, brings summer to your glass with ripe peach flavor accentuated with aromatic ginger and fresh citrus.
Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Beverages
Suntory ALL-FREE is a sparkling malt & hops beverage with 0.00% alcohol and zero calories. Although this Japanese distiller is better known for producing whiskies, Suntory has decades of brewing experience which led to Suntory ALL-FREE, it’s crisp, non-alcoholic beverage.
A new, premium spirit from the Netherlands with no alcohol has been recently launched in the United States. Fluère Spirits (pronounced “flew-air”) incorporates botanicals for balanced taste and an after-bite typical to alcoholic drinks but without the alcohol. It is available in four flavors:
FLUÈRE Original bursts with carefully selected botanicals. Juniper and Lime peel give a bright and fresh character to the nose while lavender and coriander add floral and herbal notes. Recommended with Light Tonic Water.
FLUÈRE Spiced Cane is full of character with surprising hints of dark roasted coffee, cocoa and liquorice, tonka beans, and toffee. Crafted from pure sugar cane molasses. Recommended with Cola and lime.
FLUÈRE Raspberry has sweet raspberry on the nose with a beautiful fruity and zesty palate. Recommended with Ginger Beer.
FLUÈRE Smoked Agave offers smoke and honey on the nose, and tastes of pear and pear syrup with a hint of black pepper. These flavors develop into eucalyptus and mint for a beautiful, long finish. Recommended with cola or Ginger Ale.
Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits are vegan, allergy-friendly, sugar free and calorie free. If that isn’t enough to make you feel good, the three flavors boast natural ingredients and are offered in sustainable packaging.
- Seedlip Spice – Aromatic blend of Allspice & Cardamom with fresh citrus top notes to balance the long bitter finish.
- Seedlip Garden – Fresh herbal bean of Peas & traditional garden herbs including Rosemary, Thyme & Spearmint.
- Seedlip Grove – Bright citrus blend of Mediterranean Orange, Lemon Peel, Lemongrass and Ginger with a dry finish.
Low-ABV craft canned cocktails
If you are looking for Low Alcohol-by-Volume cocktails without unhealthy additives, Cocktail Squad’s ready-to-drink Classy Casuals™ contain 0g sugar, 0g carbohydrates and no artificial sugar substitutes. Available in two flavors, these 5% ABV beverages are packaged in sleek, artfully branded 12-ounce cans. Classy Casuals™ offer fresh, small-batched flavor and are gluten-free or gluten-removed.
- Vodka Lemon: Vodka, Natural Lemon Flavor, Carbonation
- Whiskey Ginger: Whiskey, Natural Ginger Flavor
Whether or not you participate in Dry January or if you plan to make 2021 a less-alcohol fueled year than the last, restaurant and bar guests who are abstaining from alcohol have more options than the traditional club soda or tonic with lime. Hospitality experts have taken the guesswork out of formulating an instagram-worthy drink packed with flavor but without the alcohol punch. Below are some mocktail recipes from popular eateries across the United States to help you on your voyage to a healthier new year.
You Had Me at Aloe
Lightkeepers at The Ritz-Carlton
455 Grand Bay Drive, Key Biscayne, FL
Rocks Glass–Yields 1 Mocktail
0.75 oz Iberia Aloe Drink
0.75 oz Lime Juice
0.5 oz Agave Nectar
Fever Tree Club Soda
Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin. Add ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass. Top with club soda garnish with a lime wheel.
Le Jardinier – Beverage Director: Juan Carlos Santana
151 NE 41st Street, Suite 135, Miami, FL
Yields 1 Mocktail
1.5 oz Carrot Juice
1.5 oz Green Apple Juice
0.5 oz Ginger Juice
0.5 oz Lime
Top off with tonic
Peel all produce (except lime) and juice in a centrifugal juicer. Combine all ingredients (except tonic) and short shake. Strain and serve over ice in a fizz glass. Top off with tonic. Garnish with fennel fronds.
3161 Cahaba Heights Road, Birmingham, AL
Yields 1 Mocktail
1.5 oz. Seedlip Citrus
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 oz. Hibiscus Syrup
Shake and strain into stemless martini glass; top with soda.
Mull It Over
Toups’ Meatery – Beverage Director: Bryson Downham
845 North Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA
Yields 1 Mocktail
1 oz Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Mulled Syrup (recipe below)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Saline
Shake together and strain into a coupe glass. Top with soda
1 qt Water
1 qt Sugar
1/4 cup Cardamom
1 tbsp Cloves
4 Star Anise pods
2 Cinamon Sticks
The peel of one orange
Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 10 min. Then take off the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer
Lead Image: Mint to Be mocktail; photo credit:rmstudiocorp.jpg/Strange Page mocktail; photo credit Compere Lapin/Watermelon Nojito mocktail; photo credit Kush by Spillover
  Wikipedia
 npr.org , 9/11/2020 https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/908773533/hangover-from-alcohol-boom-could-last-long-after-pandemic-ends