Many people started out 2021 in optimistic spirits, hoping to see an end to the pandemic and vowing to get healthy. For some, that meant trying out the ritual known as Dry January or “dryuary” — taking a break from alcohol for a month to start the year on the right foot, and maybe provide an incentive to get and stay sober. But 2021 had other plans. The nation watched in horror as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and the surreal and terrifying spectacle had many observing that they picked the wrong month to quit. “Worse time to be on the whole 30. And dry January. Just saying,” tweeted actor Colman Domingo. Bravo host Hannah Berner tweeted, “Dry January is cancelled,” while Tom Holland cracked on Twitter, “I was doing really well…. for about 12 hours.”
If you’re looking to attempt a post-inauguration break instead, here are some compelling ways to start.
Seedlip, the first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, is made in England from herbs and flowers in flavors including Grove, Spice and Garden. Mix it as you would gin, and try it in cocktails at restaurants like L.A.’s Providence, Redbird and Cassia.
Kin Euphorics aren’t intoxicating like alcohol; instead they contain adaptogens like reishi mushrooms for calm and rhodiola for stress. Flavors like chili, cinnamon and hibiscus perk up alcohol-free cocktails and spritzers served at spots like Soho House and Venice’s Plant Food + Wine.
Inspired by the canyons, oceans and deserts of Southern California, Optimist Botanicals drink like a gin, vodka or tequila but are distilled in downtown Los Angeles with absolutely no alcohol. Try the Smokey in a virgin margarita or the Fresh with a high-quality tonic mixer.
Try with food:
Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.’s Pineapple Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca, available to go from the new Boyle Heights pizzeria, is perfect with its mole pizza or for taco night. Drinks consultants Lauren Corriveau and Matthew Belanger combine fresh pineapple juice, mint syrup, lime juice and cucumber slices for an ultra refreshing beverage.
On a getaway:
It’s easy to keep up with alcohol-free resolutions at Arizona’s historic Castle Hot Springs luxury resort, where bar supervisor Russell Greene can concoct a Strawberry Basil Smash or Blueberry Sage Smash bursting with fruity herbal flavors that make you forget what might not be in them. To replicate the Strawberry Basil Smash at home, muddle 2 oz. lemon juice with 2 oz. simple syrup and two fresh strawberries. Shake with ice and top with club soda or tonic, then garnish with lemon peel and a basil sprig.
For East Coast Hopheads:
Banish thoughts of the earlier wave of non-alcoholic beers from your memory, because Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Amber from Brooklyn Brewery is nothing like those insipid brews. The brewery uses a special fermentation method combined with generous dry hopping, for a clean finish and a lot more flavor than the typical alcohol-free selection.
For West Coast Hopheads:
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher is zero calories and zero alcohol, but full of taste thanks to Citra, Equinox and Centennial hops and a pinch of brewer’s yeast. Try it mixed with fruit juice for a lambic-like experience, or on its own as a step up from seltzer water.