It’s mid-February and many people may be welcoming this second month of the calendar year for one reason. Hint: It’s not Valentine’s Day (ugh) or the lovely weather (…rain). It’s because Dry January is now in the rear-view. We can all pat ourselves on our backs and feel accomplished that we went one whole month without the sauce. I mean, given the state of the world these days, it feels especially meaningful. I participated in Dry January and felt so good during this time that I decided to continue it on until…whenever. Some days are easier than others and when I think about all the wine in our cellar, liquor in the bar and the wine club we are still members of, I wonder, is it a greater crime to let good alcohol linger or to give my liver a bit of a challenge?
Perhaps I will come to a sort of middle ground at some point. Maybe that’s what getting old is – a meeting of two extremes at a place of mediocrity. Oh joy.
It many ways, being sober and keeping things interesting in the drinks department is more difficult than not. Previously, when I wanted something tasty to drink, I would open a bottle of nice wine, mix an extra dirty martini, or pour an interesting amaro. Googling “Mocktails” reveals a plethora of shrubs, tinctures, exotic juices and purees that one can utilize to concoct delicious libations that tickle your taste buds and do everything that a cocktail does, except lubricate social situations and ruin mornings. I am at my core a Path of Least Resistance person though, and thinking ahead enough to make a shrub or source mango puree is just not really a priority for me right now. So, in the last month, I have discovered some easy mocktail solutions that satisfy me and involve little more than pouring two liquids into a glass and maybe squeezing some citrus if I am feeling motivated.
The Lazy Ginger: Literally just ginger ale or beer and a squeeze of lime
Make it Fancy: Add a dash of Angostura Bitters and/or a sprig of mint
The Tardy Tart: Blood Orange San Pellegrino and Unsweetened cranberry juice
Make it Fancy: Add a dash of Orange Bitters
The Creamsicle: Orange Juice and Vanilla Dry Soda
Make it Fancy: Add a float of unsweetened cranberry juice
The Pickled Ginger: A replacement for my beloved dirty martini – A shot of pickle juice 🙂
Make it Fancy: Serve with a cornichon/cocktail onion/olive garnish
The Languid Bourgeois: Equal parts Lavender and Vanilla Dry Sodas
Make it Fancy: Bitch, a 4-pack of this stuff is like $8. It ALREADY fancy!
I am sure you can see a pattern start to emerge, so here are a few rules that you can endlessly riff on.
- Bitters added to anything, even plain fizzy water makes it fancy
- Mix sweeter sodas with unsweetened juices for a more interesting and balanced flavor profile.
- Combine fruit juice with soda and feel healthier
- Dry Sodas, which have very little sugar comparatively, are basically mocktails in bottle form. Nothing else needed really.
- You can add pretty much any clear liquor like vodka or light rum to these to make them boozy.
- La Croix has no place here because that shit is the most boring stuff I’ve tasted and if I’m not drinking booze, I’m not going to torture myself with a memory of a lime.