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
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."