Besides being a phrase often muttered by politicians, this is also a refreshing way to enjoy a dry January.
Columbia Room cocktail bar created by Derek Brown celebrates the ingredients, techniques and lore of cocktails paired perfectly with food.
It may sound counterintuitive, but in this exciting cocktail renaissance it’s actually never been a better time not to drink. Maybe you are offsetting holiday indulgence. Perhaps you are taking a cue from area bar professionals and committing to what’s been embraced in the industry as “dry January.” It could be that you have graciously volunteered to be your crew’s designated driver. Or, conceivably, you are firmly planted on the wagon. No matter. In this era of crafty sips you are no longer resigned to a glass of yawn-inducing soda water garnished with a dried-out lime wedge—DC’s forward-thinking bartenders have you covered. “Spirit-free cocktails should always be offered in my opinion, as many people don’t consume alcohol but still want to enjoy a mixed beverage,” says Eaton DC Beverage Director Alexandra Bookless. “A key part of the hospitality industry is making sure everyone feels included and welcome,” she adds. We promise you won’t miss the booze in these zero-proof libations. The best part is that each concoction includes ingredients that presumably come with healthy side effects—just don’t call them mocktails, OK? Shirley Temples belong to the under-10 set, not sophisticated urbanites like yourself.
For his Not Tested on Animals, General Manager and Bar Director Tyler Mitchell mixes tarragon and ginger with aloe vera drink, believed to hydrate and protect skin. 1331 Fourth St. SE, DC, (202) 313-7007, restaurantchloe.com
Hawaii native and head bartender Sarah Rosner’s Tiki Tiki uses grapefruit bursting with immune-strengthening vitamin C and heart-healthy lycopene mixed with cinnamon and lemon. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC, (202) 944-2026, michaelmina.net/restaurants/metro-dc-area/bourbon-dc
Beverage Director Alexandra Bookless’ Ginger-Carrot, Seedlip Spice is infused with anti-inflammatory allspice and cardamom and co-mingled with ginger and root veggies that reportedly boost vision and organ function. 1201 K St. NW, DC, (202) 900-8416, americanson1978.com
Citrus ash, black walnut bitters, acid phosphate and soda made from bay leaves—which are said to alleviate congestion, ease joint pain and soothe body aches—make up the fizzy elixir Apollo’s Crown. 124 Blagden Alley NW, (202) 316-9396, columbiaroomdc.com
Photography by: PHOTO BY SCOTT SUCHMAN