Lose the booze and enjoy mocktail hour instead

GOB_MockLocal149_0123
A mocktail at Local 149

After weeks of holiday gluttony, many folks who typically spend their nights tossing back a few cocktails attempt to resume a healthier routine. The trend of pledging a “Sober January” or “Dry January” — when people who partied hard from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve vow to remain alcohol-free for 31 days — is a common trend for those feeling sluggish after a few-too-many holiday parties. But for bartenders, catering to guests who aren’t drinking alcohol isn’t just a month-long challenge; it’s a year-long mission.

Young Won is the bar manager of Rialto at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, where she’s created a portion of the cocktail menu titled “Senza Spirito,” dedicated to non-alcoholic libations. While there are those that don’t see the point of a liquor-less cocktail, Won says it’s not as atypical as one might think.

“We see an increasing number of people — whether for health or personal reasons — looking for non-alcoholic drinks,” said Won. “I want to be sure they have a variety of exciting and seasonal options that they know are carefully chosen.”

Without the diversity of liquors to experiment with, Won explores alternative complements. Her personal favorite of the Senza Spirito, the Amalfi Coast, is a combination of jasmine tea, lime and grapefruit bitters.

“I just love tea with food,” says Won. “The tannins in tea develop a complexity in flavor experience when paired with food. For example, it can deepen roasted flavors, or it can cut through sumptuous fats and can lighten the whole experience.”

ToddMaul
Clio’s Todd Maul

Todd Maul, Bar Director at Clio, says that while many of his patrons who order non-alcoholic drinks are looking to cut back on calories, he deals with a vast array of people also looking to cut back on — or totally keep off of — the sauce.

“There’s no real pigeonhole, but it’s nice to have options for people who choose not to drink or decide they’ve had enough and want to drive home safely,” says Maul, who started experimenting with mocktails when his wife was pregnant. “My favorite is the Celine #5, a non-alcoholic Pimm’s and Lemon. I love it because I came up with that drink when both Chef Ken Oringer’s wife and my wife were pregnant, so it has a warm place in my heart.”

Rialto's Amalfi Coast
Rialto’s Amalfi Coast

At popular South Boston spot Local 149, bar manager Matt Whitney is known for incorporating local and seasonal ingredients into his drinks, just as the restaurant does with their food.

“Simply put, it gives people variety,” says Whitney, whose creations range from using local blueberries at their peak in a house-made blueberry shrub to making pomegranate grenadine from scratch, rather than the pre-made bottled type. “Pregnant and sober people — and children — can now also enjoy a well-crafted beverage that isn’t simply a soda or juice.”

For celebratory occasions when champagne corks typically fly, bartenders hope to create equally festive libations without the alcohol content. This is particularly common in college hubs like Boston and Philadelphia, where bartenders are faced with the challenge of pleasing patrons who have yet to cross into legal drinking territory.

Mark Aquilino, bar manager of Davio’s, says beverages like their popular non-alcoholic Sgroppino, a combination of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider and apple sorbet with a mint leaf garnish, prove to be popular with both the younger crowd and those who are just looking to avoid booze.

“We have a lot of college students and/or guests who request them for various reasons,” says Aquilino. “We want to make sure we accommodate everyone.”

Local 149
149 P St., Boston
617-269-0900
local149.com

Clio
370 A Comm. Ave., Boston
617-536-7200
cliorestaurant.com

Rialto
1 Bennett St., Cambridge
617-661-5050
rialto-restaurant.com

Davio’s
75 Arlington St., Boston
617-357-4810
davios.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.