I never felt infantilized by my peers until I stopped drinking. But in a city where socializing usually goes down with a bottle of booze, dropping the sobriety bomb can be the ultimate buzzkill.
Hold the hooch, barkeep!
Taking a break from the holiday boozing, but still want something more exciting than a club soda? These liquor-free concoctions, from some of the city’s best drink makers, will set you straight.—Jacob Rutka
Kyle Burch’s The William Temple
The bartender at 25 Liberty, Burch—naming his drink after the man who kept the Junction dry for decades—mixes sweet, earthy, and tart notes to make a bright and savoury bevvie.
1 oz thyme and sage simple syrup*
¾ oz lemon juice
3 oz strong green tea, chilled to room temperature
Splash of tonic water
› Shake the simple syrup, lemon juice, and green tea with ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with tonic water, and garnish with grapefruit zest.
*To make, steep a handful of fresh thyme and sage in 250 ml boiled water for 10 minutes. Strain, then stir in 250 ml of sugar.
Nick Kennedy’s A Month, Less Two Weeks
Salt Wine Bar’s drink master whips up a liver-repairing mocktail so healthy you can probably skip the second half of your sober January.
3 oz coconut water
½ oz liquid milk thistle (available at any health food store)
½ oz lemon juice
5 dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters
› Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
Jacob Wharton-Shukster’s Ginger Cranberry Smash
Chantecler’s barman/co-owner keeps things simple with a sweet and savoury mocktail made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Small handful of fresh/frozen cranberries
3 sage leaves
½–1 oz simple syrup (depending on preference of sweetness)
Splash of Old Jamaican ginger beer
› In a Collins glass, muddle cranberries, sage, and syrup together. Add ice, then top with ginger beer.
Brad Gubbins’ Wildberry Rooibos Fizz
SpiritHouse may be known for its impressive cache of alcohol, but Gubbins’s drink—an adaptation of a gin-based cocktail on the menu—swaps Sprite for the spirit, and remains sweet, fruity, spicy, and refreshing.
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz cold rooibos tea
1 oz fruit puree (or a tbsp of jam)
1 oz simple syrup
4 dashes Fees Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
Splash of Sprite
› Add all ingredients, except the Sprite, into a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain over crushed ice into a Collins glass. Top with Sprite and blackberries to garnish.
Moses McIntee’s Peppermint Teatotaller
The Museum Tavern’s mixologist, who makes beautiful cocktails, used herbaceous, spice-riddled flavours to build a healthy thirst-quencher.
5 oz chilled peppermint tea (5 bags/litre)
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz Fee Brothers Falernum cocktail mixer
4 pieces of julienned raw ginger
6 mint leaves
1 mint sprig
Splash sparkling elderflower water
› Combine all the ingredients, except elderflower water, into a Boston shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Pour the mixture with the ice into a collins glass. Top with elderflower water and garnish with mint sprig.