For some, the start of the new year is an opportunity to reset intentions, focus on health goals and take part in what has become a new year tradition for many: Dry January. For others, choosing to abstain from alcohol is a lifestyle. Whichever camp you fall under, if you’re on the hunt for nonalcoholic options, try these eight zero-proof drinks available around the DMV.
The Elixir from Salt
The cocktail bar and restaurant located in Rosslyn places a heavy emphasis on classic and seasonal cocktails. But for non-drinkers, The Elixir, made with salted cucumber, ginger, lemon and Q Mixers ginger beer, is a creative beverage option. On The Elixir’s ingredients, beverage director Paul Williams says, “By incorporating the fresh lemon and ginger syrup, it provides a brightness and spice to the cocktail. The salted cucumber juice adds a nice salinity that allows the palate to feel roundness and depth.” Although the pandemic has impacted how many zero-proof options are currently available on the menu, the team plans to continue adapting its offerings to provide more nonalcoholic cocktails as they rise in popularity. “We plan to adapt our menu to those trends, as we are certain they are here to stay,” Williams adds. 1201 Wilson Blvd. g113, Arlington, VA; www.saltrosslyn.com // @saltrosslyn
Foggy Bottom Blueberry Blitz from Crossroads Tabletop Tavern
The restaurant, bar and board game tavern in Manassas, Virginia boasts over 1,400 games in addition to 10 zero-proof cocktails made with elixirs from “Best of Virginia” Red Root Company and J.T. Copper. Try the Foggy Bottom Blueberry Blitz: a combination of blueberry, vanilla, cream soda and cream. 9412 Main St. Manassas, VA; www.ttoptav.com // @crossroads_tabletoptavern
Hong Kong Milk Tea from Tiger Fork
Head to Blagden Alley for contemporary versions of Hong Kong dishes at Tiger Fork and try the restaurant’s take on the popular tea from Hong Kong: a combination of black tea and condensed milk. Order it iced for a refreshing beverage or hot to warm up with on a cold winter day. 922 Blagden Alley, NW, DC; www.tigerforkdc.com // @tigerforkdc
Just Ask Ralph from Topside at Hotel Revival
At Baltimore’s Topside located at Hotel Revival, bartender Anna Welker has curated a list of creative zero-proof cocktails that bridge the flavors guests would expect from alcoholic cocktail combinations. Just Ask Ralph, made with lapsang souchong tea, Giffard aperitif, Stirrings blood orange bitters, Fever Tree club soda and garnished with an orange peel, is one such drink. “I wanted to create something with a little more of a nod to the cocktail world: smokiness, bitterness and some layered complexity,” Welker says of the drink’s inspiration. She notes that lapsang souchong tea, a black tea made by smoking the tea leaves, gives a flavor reminiscent to whiskey. That, balanced with the sweetness of the Giffard aperitif, produces a drink she says is probably the one that most strongly mimics an alcoholic cocktail. On creating options for drinkers and non-drinkers alike, Welker adds, “We want to make sure everyone who walks in our door feels warmly welcomed with whatever it is they need that night, no matter the ABV.” Although Topside is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, guests can enjoy their zero-proof cocktails when they reopen. 101 W Monument St. Baltimore, MD; www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/maryland/baltimore // @topsidebmore
Manhattan Soda from Founding Farmers
Popular for its comfort food dishes, Founding Farmers also offers made-from-scratch spirits from its own D.C. distillery: Founding Spirits. But for those looking to enjoy zero-proof drinks, there are plenty of options including a nonalcoholic rickey, New York egg cream, lemonades and the Manhattan Soda. “The inspiration is derived from the famous Manhattan Special,” notes director of food and beverage Rachel Vistica about the Manhattan Soda, created during the iced coffee craze. Made with coffee, espresso, agave, jerk soda and topped with whipped cream, she says, “Our Manhattan soda is perfect for the brunch or afternoon pick-me-up that you need.” Multiple locations; www.wearefoundingfarmers.com // @foundingfarmers
Post Water-Melone from Summer House Santa Monica
The open, airy restaurant in Bethesda known for its California fare and West Coast vibes also offers refreshing, nonalcoholic beverages like the Post Water-Melone. The drink is filled with bright watermelon juice, fresh mint leaves and a simple syrup to balance out the fruit and herb tones. “We wanted to make something with watermelon juice, as it is a delicious and easily adaptable juice,” says beverage director Edgar Lincoln. When creating any new cocktail, he looks to the base flavor and then adds on to create depth. Something that is always at the core of any Summer House creation? Fresh ingredients. “We have always tried to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into all of our menus – from food to cocktails to nonalcoholic cocktails,” he adds. 11825 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.summerhousesm.com/north-bethesda // @summerhousesm
Prickly Pear Tisane from True Food Kitchen
The health-driven restaurant has multiple locations in the DMV with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients – and it comes as no surprise their beverage menu includes extensive options for teetotalers. For bubbles without the booze, try the Sparkling Prickly Pear Tisane made with prickly pear, hibiscus and lime. Multiple locations; www.truefoodkitchen.com // @livetruefood
Spirit Free LIT from Your Only Friend
Paul Taylor’s sandwich creations have made a name for themselves at Columbia Room’s pop-up, but his drink pairings are equally impressive. His Spirit Free LIT made with pine tea, green pepper and cola is a play on the popular drink known for its high alcohol content. “We take cocktails from our canon, look at what flavors the alcohol brought to them, and then work backward from there to recreate those pleasant flavors in a spirit-free context,” Taylor says. “For example, we would think of tequila not as booze but as vanilla and green pepper.” Using that template, the team was able to rework the traditional Long Island Iced Tea into a delicious, nonalcoholic version that still hits on all of the requisite flavors. 124 Blagden Alley NW, DC; www.youronlyfrienddc.com // @youronlyfrienddc
Download our free Zero-Proof Guide here for more on fantastic local options, leaders in the low- and no-alcohol movement, local booze-free businesses changing the landscape of the DMV, and much more.
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