CT bars rock mocktails for Dry January and beyond

If you stay away from alcohol for “Dry January” – or for whatever reason – you’re not alone, and Connecticut’s restaurants and bars are responding to a demand for alcohol-free options that go beyond water and soda.

“Dry January” has become a popular initiative to abstain from drinking alcohol for the first month of the year, promoting the physical and mental (and financial) health benefits of stopping drinking for 31 days. But Connecticut bar professionals say they’ve seen year-round interest in unique, complex and intriguing alcohol-free creations.

“I have the impression that the industry as a whole is evolving,” said Alejandro Vilacorta, the manager of the bar at Sherkaan Indian Street Food in New Haven. “I have read many articles on this subject and have seen it with my own eyes, while traveling [around the country]… many more cocktail menus have a separate sheet or a separate menu with their alcohol-free options. “


At Sherkaan, flavors like mint, ginger, rose, cardamom and saffron are highlighted in alcohol-free libations. Spices like ginger or cloves mimic the “warm” effect of alcohol in a drink, Vilacorta said.

AT Donation memo in Westport, guests have responded well to a menu of aguas frescas, said managing director Branden Hahn, with seasonal flavors like horchata, avocado, hibiscus and chia limón – like a lime with chia seeds. In summer, the bar offers a basil watermelon version.

“They hit the mark for us to have something unique, not just like a soda. They are fresh, seasonal and refreshing,” he said.

AT The Charles in Wethersfield, the bar offers alcohol-free wines and the mimosa-style “Mama Said Mock You Out” offers alcohol-free sparkling wine Fre, Lyre alcohol-free orange alcohol, grapefruit and lemon. The bar also uses Lyre’s coffee liqueur for an espresso martini.

Here’s a sample of Connecticut’s zero-proof cocktail menus.

Sherkaan Indian Street Food

New Havre


Sherkaan’s soft drinks include lemongrass mojito, rose lemonade, and passion fruit with wild guava tea.

Winter Caplanson / CT Food & Farm

Eight “noble experiences” make up the alcohol-free menu of Sherkaan, including the best-selling rose lemonade with Rooh Afza rose syrup, rosehip tea, lemon and sparkling water. A lemongrass mojito with cane juice, mint and lime can be made with or without Plantation rum, and Jal-Jeera Collins contains mint, ginger, masala infused cordial and lemon. . “Our nonalcoholics tend to sell quite well,” Vilacorta said.

65 Broadway, 203-405-5808.



Wheel

Stamford


The Wheel in Stamford has teamed up with Stratford-based Athletic Brewing Company to celebrate Dry January with an all-new mocktail menu, featuring five drinks made from Athletic beers.

The Wheel in Stamford has teamed up with Stratford-based Athletic Brewing Company to celebrate Dry January with an all-new mocktail menu, featuring five drinks made from Athletic beers.

Courtesy of the Village / Jeremy Brugo

The Village restaurant team up with Stratford Sports Brewery to create cocktails with its non-alcoholic beers. There’s a Golden Bird, with Athletic Upside Dawn lager, cranberry juice, lemon, and agave, and an Apres Wild, with a Run Wild IPA, spicy apple cider, and ale ginger. Two cocktails feature Free Wave Hazy IPA and grapefruit flavors, and the Campfire Brew, along with All Out Stout, features cold brew coffee and almond milk. The Village also offers Athletic beer on tap.

4 stars, 475-270-1300.



The cottage

Westport


the

The Cottage in Westport’s “Them Apples” mocktail features apple and celery juices and salted rosemary caramel.

Courtesy of the chalet

The cottage offers two soft drinks: Them Apples, with apple and celery juice and salted rosemary caramel, and a green tea lemonade with honey. There are also two low alcohol options, with the averna amaro and the amontillado.

256, chemin Post E., 203-557-3701.


Malibu Taco

Fairfield


Malibu Taco, a California-style coastal restaurant, has made a point of adding fruity and refreshing mocktails to its drink menu, with a Malibu Passion with passion fruit, pineapple, lemon, orgeat and coconut water, and the Gracias Madre with blueberry, rosemary, lemon juice, agave and sparkling mineral water. Mama’s Mule has messy mint and cucumbers, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer.

1177 Post Road, 203-292-8544.



Don Memo, Kawa Ni, The Whelk

Westport


Aguas de Don Memo frescoes in Westport

Aguas de Don Memo frescoes in Westport

Courtesy of Don Memo

In addition to Don Memo’s agua frescas, Bill Taibe’s other Westport restaurants also feature highball-style mocktails, including a ‘ginger pop’ with blackberry and basil and a citrus sparkle with a citrus shrub at Kawa Ni. whelk has a “Palomita” with grapefruit juice and sparkling Mexican soda, and the Tadpole, with fresh cucumber, ginger and lime.

“In all restaurants, we have placed an emphasis on non-alcoholic cocktails with the same attention to detail and quality as a specialty cocktail,” said Hahn.

Don Memo is at 90 Post Road E., 203-557-6198.
Kawa Ni is at 19A Bridge Square, 203-557-8775.
The Whelk is at 575 Riverside Ave., 203-557-0902.



The Charles

Wethersfield


The Mama Said Mock You Out at The Charles in Wethersfield includes Lyre Orange Alcohol Free Spirits, Fre Brut Alcohol Free Sparkling Wine, Orange Zest, Grapefruit Juice and House Lemon Juice

The Mama Said Mock You Out at The Charles in Wethersfield presents
Lyre orange alcohol-free spirits, Fre brut alcohol-free sparkling wine, orange zest, grapefruit juice and homemade lemon juice

Winter_Caplanson, Winter Caplanson / CT Food & Farm

Putting de-alcoholized wines to work, The Charles offers a “Sincerely Sangria”, with homemade ginger syrup, lime juice, apple and choice of red or white wine. Charlotte’s Webb offers hibiscus tea, barley, pineapple and lime juices, and Tall Grande Venti offers all the punch of an alcohol-free espresso martini, with the alcohol-free coffee liqueur, Lyre’s cream and chocolate.

161 Main Street, 860-785-8499.



Quarter

Stamford


Quarter, a “neighborhood Italian” restaurant, offers mocktails like a Stamford Sunset, with orange and pineapple juices and grenadine; a strawberry lime with club soda, “The Flirt” with raspberries, orange juice, ginger ale, pineapple and grapefruit; and a cucumber cooler with cucumber, mint, and simple syrup.



Shell & Bone

New Havre


The What's Up, Doc cocktail from Shell & Bones in New Haven features carrot juice, ginger, coconut and lime, and can be served with or without vodka.

The What’s Up, Doc cocktail from Shell & Bones in New Haven features carrot juice, ginger, coconut and lime, and can be served with or without vodka.

Courtesy of Shell & Bones

Shell & Bone ‘ “temperance cocktails” include Cranberry Jones (cranberries, ginger, bitter Fee, sparkling cider); Stevie Ray (lemon, pineapple, ginger, apple, Angostura bitters and soda) and Raleigh (cucumber, mint, lime and soda.) What’s Up Doc? The cocktail, which contains homemade carrot juice with ginger, coconut and lime, can also be made without Broken Shed Vodka.



Zohara Mediterranean cuisine

West Hartford


A selection of non-alcoholic drinks at Zohara in West Hartford.

A selection of non-alcoholic drinks at Zohara in West Hartford.

Courtesy of Zohara

by Zohara featured mocktails include a spicy carrot, with fresh carrot juice, shaken lemon and honey with fresh cut jalapeños and spicy bitters; a “non-Paloma” with grapefruit, lime, agave and club soda, and a hibiscus tea with club soda and peach bitters. The restaurant also offers selections from Athletic Brewing.

991 Farmington Avenue, 860-955-0300.



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