Things were looking pretty good for alcohol-free drinking in 2019. After decades of sugary mocktails being treated as jokes, bartenders started taking nonalcoholic cocktails more seriously. Not only was it good business to offer them, they thought, but making them was also a fun, creative challenge.
During the pandemic, momentum in the space waned. Developing new nonalcoholic cocktail recipes was hardly the most pressing concern of an industry working itself to the bone in order to stay alive.
While things haven’t exactly leveled out, there is enough security for many bars and restaurants to refocus on their alcohol-free drinks — and bartenders now have a plethora of new nonalcoholic aperitifs, spirits, and other products to lean on. European brands had been ahead of the U.S. until the last two years, a time during which American-made products have been showing up strong. (This is especially true in the realms of alcohol-free beer and wine, as the technology has improved to allow for gentler dealcoholization methods.) Even the bartenders who have decidedly eschewed these bottled ingredients in favor of a fully from-scratch approach admit that tasting them got their creative wheels turning and drove them towards more innovative methods.
Here are seven of the best nonalcoholic cocktails in New York City right now.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.
Julia Bainbridge, a writer and author of Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason, is the recipient of the Research Society on Alcoholism’s 2021 Media Award and one of Food & Wine magazine’s 25 first-annual “Game Changers” for being “a pivotal voice in normalizing not drinking alcohol.”Read More