So it’s #SoberOctober and you want a drink. A classy one. You just don’t want the booze. With the official Washington, D.C. launch of Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits at The Hamilton, Lyre’s has you covered.
But what the heck is a lyre? Did you know the Australian Lyrebird, called one of the world’s greatest mimics and where the brand gets its name, is capable of mimicking all kinds of sounds, even the ring of a cell phone? Per Lyre’s, their range is “designed to mimic the taste, bouquet and mouthfeel of their alcoholic originals.[These] spirits are nonalcoholic homages to the greatest tipples of all time.”
Warren Hode, master Lyre’s mixologist, loves “being able to make any classic or elevated classic cocktail with Lyre’s in the same way [he’d] have done so in a great restaurant bar without compromise.” Hode and the bartending team at The Hamilton, part of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, offered a trio of zero-proof cocktails to guests that absolutely delivered on taste, presentation and ritual.
Lyre’s Amaretti Sour
Lyre’s Amaretti, lemon juice, Fee Foam, aromatic bitters, maraschino cherry, lemon peel
Lyre’s Rosa Negroni
Lyre’s Italian Spritz, Lyre’s Dry London Spirit, Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso, lemon, rosemary
Lyre’s American Malt, Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso, aromatic bitters, maraschino cherry
“Lyre’s isn’t trying to change bar culture,” Hode says. “We are offering a plug and play alternative to no or low alcohol cocktails and more specifically allowing bars to replicate their cocktail menu with a no alcohol version.”
Maria Denton, Lyre’s southeast regional manager, believes that what Lyre’s can do for bars and hospitality in D.C. (and beyond) is manyfold.
“Those that don’t imbibe alcohol have been an underserved market for years. A guest can go anywhere and get a tonic and lime or a sugary, juice-based ‘mocktail.’ When a bar or restaurant offers Lyre’s, they’re signaling inclusion and ultimately, a well-made cocktail is a great enhancement to the guest experience.”
The Hamilton provided the backdrop for Lyre’s Mixlab, a cozy and wacky “laboratory” where guests could roll up their sleeves and get creative (or channel their inner mad scientist, with beakers and goggles galore).
Of the Mixlab, Denton states, “It was fun to see everyone who hadn’t tasted our products before have the light bulb go off — how Lyre’s can make nonalcoholic versions of classic cocktails that taste like their alcohol-driven cousins. Even more fun when people started getting their hands on the bottles to make their own creations. Even novice mixologists could see the benefit of using a product that is a plug and play for “‘the real thing.’”
This fall, you can order one of three Lyre’s cocktails at The Hamilton — an early adopter of zero proof inclusivity in DC: Espresso No-Tini (like an espresso martini), No-Kick Mule (like a Whiskey mule), No-Key Sour (like a Whiskey Sour).
Guest Kitima Boonmala, former bartender and founder of Thai noodle pop-up Toh Rong (translation: until dawn), is super excited about the booze-free movement in D.C. Her pop-up, opening soon at The Neptune Room, will have plenty of nonalcoholic options for patrons. An advocate for recovery from substance use and mental health concerns, especially in the hospitality industry, Boonmala strives to shatter the stigma with her work.
“With nonalcoholic options, we are creating a safe space for customers and our restaurant workers who are either in recovery or wish to cut back on their drinking. We’re not trying to change how people drink alcohol, but we do want to make it easier for those who want to change their relationship with it.”
So whether you want to feel bright and chipper for, say, yet another Zoom meeting in the morning or you’re training for a marathon, are booze-free for the next nine months, or just want to experience the sober curious life this month, there’s no better time than now to give Lyre’s a try.
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