January marks a time to hit reset and commit to starting new, healthier habits. If part of your New Year resolution has been to do Dry January or even just reduce your alcohol consumption for a while, you can still enjoy tasty libations, alcohol-free. From at-home mocktails to a healthy dose of dedicated non-alcoholic drink brands, you certainly have your choice when you pony up to the bar.

The skinny on giving up booze, from experts

While you might be wondering whether swapping a cocktail for a mocktail is worth the reward, there are benefits to hitting pause on the booze. “Lots of people typically do Dry January because perhaps they overdid their cocktailIng during holidays,” says Keri Gans, a Registered Dietitian, and author of The Small Change Diet. “This year some have already felt they’ve been overdoing it because of the pandemic and the related stress. In either instance, they might hope to cut back on excess calories, get a better night’s sleep, or wake up in the morning with a clearer mind being more likely to start their day on the right track.” Weight loss as Gans notes is often a motivation for relinquishing alcohol as it can add easily excess empty calories, and often cause a loss of inhibitions, leading to poor food choices while under the influence. Eliminating those excess calories, and staying clear-minded can aid in the weight loss goals you’ve set for yourself.

Your sleep also stands to benefit from cutting out alcohol consumption. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical in your body, rises when you drink to help you nod off, but it shortly after plummets causing you to wake up. You’ve certainly had the feeling of jolting awake at 3 am with a groggy feeling and perhaps a pounding heart and uneasy feeling. That’s in part the adenosine drop-off effect. Alcohol also degrades your quality of sleep with high and even moderate volume since it diminishes REM sleep, demonstrated in research from the Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research.

The best non-alcoholic beverage brands to make a habit of all year round

1. Kin Euphorics

The ultimate non-alcoholic zen-inspired drink brand, Kin Ephorics hits all the right tasting notes.

Their menu of mood-defining drinks is designed to elevate the spirit and relax the body. Made with adaptogens and other botanicals, check out their signature canned Kin Spritz infused with citrus, warm spice, hibiscus, and ginger. Break out your fancy glassware; it’s a splurge for your tastebuds (and wallet) so you’ll want to savor and sip in style. Available online.

2. Grüvi - Non-alcoholic wine and beer

Grüvi offers a line of full-flavored, alcohol-free beer and wine experiences that are nearly identical to the real thing. From prosecco to IPAs, Rosé, and more, you’ll have a plethora of doppelganger alcohols to choose from. They even have a Dry January kit which is a curated box of goodies to help you on your booze-free journey. Order online here.

3. Droplet

Crack open a can of Droplet for an aromatic cocktail-like taste minus the alcohol and calories. This women-owned and operated sparkling, stress-balancing beverage brand packs adaptogens, whole fruit juices, and superfoods into one easy-sipping drink. Always vegan, made from organic ingredients and non-alcoholic, their drinks are low on the glycemic index and low in sugar. Pour your Droplet in a fancy cocktail glass and add an orange wedge or cherries on a stick for a little mocktail flair.

4. Seedlip

Seedlip replaces your traditional spirit with three different non-alcoholic blends to choose from. You simply mix Seedlip with tonic, as the company recommends, add a garnish, and you have your tasty cocktail minus the booze. As a nice bonus, the company is environmentally focused on sustainable packaging with a promise to be carbon-neutral by 2021. Cheers to that!

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Mocktails done right: How to create your own delectable non-alcoholic cocktail

We caught up with Katie Stryjewski, recipe developer, cocktail photographer and author of the soon to drop (February 16, 2021) book, Cocktails, Mocktails and Garnishes from the Garden. “It's really a golden age for mocktails right now,” Stryjewski explains. “There are many ‘non-alcoholic spirits’ on the market that have really changed the game when it comes to non-alcoholic cocktails,” noting some of her favorites to work with like Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits, Monday Non-Alcoholic Gin, and Ritual Zero-Proof Whiskey Alternative, to name a few—and there are a number of non-alcoholic beverages that can be mixed with or enjoyed on their own, like Töst or Curious Elixirs she points out. “But if you want to mix up your own non-alcoholic cocktails without buying anything too fancy, there are plenty of options.”

A simple mocktail template Stryjewski recommends is citrus, sweetener, and fizz. (See her “In Vogue” recipe below as an example.) “You can change up any of these components to make new drinks. Lemon, lime, and grapefruit are all fantastic citrus options. You can sweeten with simple syrup, honey, agave, maple syrup, or flavored syrups like the cranberry-orange syrup I use on the mocktail recipe 'In Vogue'. And for a bit of bubble and to help add volume to the drink, you can use club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, or non-alcoholic sparkling wine or cider.”

From there, she explains, you can start to get more creative by incorporating other ingredients like fresh herbs or tea. Sometimes it can be fun to try and mimic a classic cocktail with your mocktail, like with her Nuevo Cubano below. It's based on the Old Cuban, and it's a remarkably faithful alcohol-free adaptation of the drink. “I loved it when I was pregnant,” she says. “Non-alcoholic spirits make it much easier to make a mocktail that's similar in flavor to a cocktail. But at the end of the day, it's never going to taste exactly the same, so I think the best mocktails are really the ones that stand on their own and don't try to be something they're not.” Below are a few must-try mocktails compliments of Katie Stryjewski:

In Vogue

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. cranberry-orange syrup
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 4 oz. club soda

For the Cranberry-Orange Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • Peel of 1 mandarin orange, torn into pieces

Instructions

  1. Add cranberry-orange syrup and lime juice to the bottom of a Collins glass. Fill with ice and stir briefly. Top with club soda.

For the Cranberry-Orange Syrup 

  1. Combine sugar and cranberry juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the orange peel and simmer for three more minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing on the peels with the spoon to release their oils. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep 30 minutes. Strain and let cool before using.

Nuevo Cubano

Ingredients

  • 9 mint leaves
  • 1 oz. simple syrup*
  • 1.5 oz. lime juice
  • Non-alcoholic sparkling wine, to top

For the Simple syrup 

  • Sugar
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Combine mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker and muddle gently. Add ice and shake until chilled. Fine-strain into a coupe glass and top with nonalcoholic sparkling wine.

For the Simple Syrup

  1. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely before using.