17 Houston restaurants + bars serving tempting Dry January cocktails
People across the country are choosing to start the New Year with a break from alcohol. Dry January is here, and Houston’s bars and restaurants have created a number of tempting options to make the experience delicious.
The reasons for participating in Dry January vary. Some see it as a way to atone for excessive revelry during the holiday season; others just like the idea of starting the year on a healthier note. More and more bartenders and other beverage professionals are joining the movement. They also see creating a dry January menu a professional challenge.
“It’s an important way to start the new year by not losing the habits and palates of the industry, while being able to try new ways of creating drinks,” says Coltivare bar manager Abner. Barrientos. “It’s also a way to get bartenders out of their comfort zone by allowing them to create drinks like cocktails, without alcohol. It is something difficult both intellectually, physically and mentally.
While the term “mocktails” generally refers to overly sweet concoctions, the new generation of mocktails offer the same complexity and balance as their full cousins; some of the best cocktail spirits in town are sure to create them. Yet making alcohol-free drinks means having to consider more than just a missing flavor component.
“When you are dealing with alcohol, you have something that provides a cocktail backbone and tannins that both provide bitter or invigorating flavors,” says Lainey Collum, Director of Beverages at Monkey’s Tail. “Without this quality, cocktails can easily lean towards drinks that are too sweet, soft or just plain boring. I’m always looking for other ingredients I can use, like tea, spices, and salt.
Others take a more pragmatic view when creating alcohol-free cocktails.
“Does he have a bite,” asks Present Company’s beverage manager Rex Nielsen. “Why am I drinking this instead of tequila?” “
Part of the growth in mocktails goes to products like Seedlip and Kentucky 74 which recreate some of the flavors of spirits like gin and whiskey. They do not have all the qualities of their alcoholic cousins but are a useful starting point for making drinks.
“It has been very exciting to offer alcohol-free cocktails, and all of the new zero-proof spirits make it even more fun by offering familiar flavors to draw from,” says bar manager Rosie Cannonball, Christian Tellez.
Below is a list of restaurants and bars with alcohol-free options for the dry month of January and, in many cases, beyond.
Part of the Asch Building shopping complex in The Heights, this patio bar still serves mocktails alongside natural wine, craft beer, and CBD drinks. The current Afuera menu is inspired by Peru. Some of the selections include a Pisco Sour made with non-alcoholic gin, Don Alfredo with elderflower tonic and lime juice, and Chicha Morada which combines purple corn, pineapple, green apple. and spices.
The downtown bar, which donates a portion of its proceeds to a different charity each month, has five non-alcoholic drinks on its menu. They include the Spicy Daisy, a margarita riff that gets a spicy kick from Tabasco sauce, and the Immaculate Conception, which draws inspiration from both spin and mojito.
With six zero-proof cocktails and a huge selection of non-alcoholic beers, non-drinkers have plenty of options at this Midtown location. Relax in a hammock with a spicy paloma or the Michel-nada that trades Topo Chico for beer. Whiskey drinkers can try a zero-proof Old Fashioned.
Better luck tomorrow
Head bartender Sarah Crowl has made a name for herself for her creative alcohol-free cocktails at places like Coltivare and Rosie Cannonball, and she continued the practice in her last post. Crowl tells CultureMap that BLT’s current offerings are just the beginning of its alcohol-free selections. “Later this month and beyond, we’ll have more free spirited drinks available that are one-off originals, much like the house cocktails we’re already making,” she writes. “Drinks with layers of flavors, textures and aromas in season, with or without alcohol. “
For now, look for options like Sin & Tonic (an alcohol-free gin-tonic made from Seedlip Grove, yerba matte, and grapefruit), Kentucky-based Phony-groni 74, and Jungle Birdie, which is garnished with an origami bird that Crowl folds by hand.
Brennan’s from Houston
Known for their first-rate service, the Houston Classic’s bar team seeks to welcome diners with both a few drinks on the menu and a willingness to make off-menu specials to suit a person’s tastes. On the menu, drinks can opt for zero proof versions of a drop of blackberry lemon and a mojito. Three of the most popular off-menu options are Sweet Mercy (lime and grapefruit juice, prickly pear syrup), Simply Peachy (sparkling cider with peach syrup) and OJ Smash (orange juice with blueberries. and mint).
In honor of Dry January, the bar team at this Italian-inspired restaurant in The Heights rolled out a menu of seven non-alcoholic cocktails and added a few non-alcoholic beers to the menu. Examples include Falling Fox (Seedlip Spice, pineapple, lemon), Not & Tonic (Lyre’s gin, elderberry tonic, etc.) and Walks Like a Duck (Lyre’s Ameretti, lemon, egg white).
Guard and Grace
The ultra-stylish downtown steakhouse offers five different Dry January options, including a watermelon and basil lemonade, a spicy watermelon and mint agua fresca, and a Moscow mule-inspired sip that includes cucumber, honey syrup and mango puree.
This plant-based restaurant in the Energy Corridor doesn’t have a special Dry January menu, but its selection of juice-based “spritzers” provide a refreshing, alcohol-free alternative to a cocktail. Options include: Golden Glow (orange, carrots, ginger, lemon), We’ve Got the Beet (beets, carrots, ginger, lemon) and Kale Mint Spritz (freshly squeezed kale, mint, celery, green apple, finished with lemon and ginger, sparkling water).
“We’re here to provide warm hospitality and take care of people,” says Sean Beck, Director of Beverages at H-Town Restaurant Group. “If they want non-alcoholic drinks, things that go beyond just juice or soda, then we owe it to them to provide options, and not just for a month, but all year round. “
To this end, diners will find options like Mango Margarita-ish, made with mango, orange juice, passion fruit, habanero shrub, lime, thyme and salt; the Decades In Wait, a dark and stormy inspired cocktail of ginger beer, tamarind syrup, Tajin and more; and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which comes from Topo Chico, Ruby Red grapefruit juice, guava, lime and smoked rosemary.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
This restaurant in The Woodlands offers five non-alcoholic cocktails, including Tia Mema’s Mocktail Mule, Cilantro Lime Fizzer and Spremuta D’Arancia Sicilian Sunrise, a variation of a Tequila Sunrise made with orange juice, grenadine and lemon juice. ‘a stick of rosemary. which is garnished with an orange wedge.
Local food market
This Rice Village spot offers a number of canned non-alcoholic drinks that can be consumed on its patio or taken away. Options include the Ghia La Spritz, a spicy appetizer with herbs; The Naturel Zero Zero, an alternative to white wine; and non-alcoholic beer from the craft’s favorite Lagunitas.
As noted above, Beverage Manager Lainey Collum is committed to delivering “free-spirited” selections. Its menu offers eight selections, including Penichill’n (Spiritless Kentucky 74, ginger syrup, salted honey, lemon, lapsang souchong tea spritz), Frozen Hawt Chocolate, Toronjajaja (grapefruit, strawberry, lime, fire water, soda club) and Viva Maracuya (passion fruit, mango, tiki spices, lime, salt, club soda).
As part of its commitment to be welcoming to all, the East End Hotspot offers a few alcohol-free options. Guests always have the option of an agua fresca made by Chef Danny Leal as well as a paloma and non-alcoholic cream soda. The current menu also includes Bishop’s Brew, an old-fashioned alternative made from Seedlip spice and alcohol-free red wine, and Clothed and Normal, an alcohol-free version of a Naked and Famous made from Seedlip Grove, an alcohol-free aperitif. , and tangerine-kumquat syrup.
The original Ninfa
Both places in the Tex-Mex favorite have options for people who abstain from Ninfaritas. They include both a virgin pineapple mojito and a virgin daiquiri made with Lyre’s White Cane Spirit (an alcohol-free alternative to rum) as well as a tamarind cocktail made with pineapple juice and bitters. that gets a spicy kick from the chili de arbol.
The kitchen and the bar du cochon
The River Oaks area spot offers a few zero-proof options, including the Nada Lada, a Michelada made with Heineken 00; the Toddy Oddy Oddy; and the spicy Oh My Gato (mango, jalapeño, agave syrup and lime juice).
True to its philosophy of offering irresistible, alcohol-free alternatives to tequila, Beverage Manager Rex Nielsen’s menu features bold, flavorful drinks. Choose from options like the Stranger Danger (La Croix Watermelon-Kiwi, Lime Juice, Basil, topped with Topo Chico), the Principal Kisses Alligator (La Croix Ripe-Cucumber, Lime Juice, Fresh Blackberries) and the Beet , Pray, Love (organic beetroot juice, alcohol-free aperol, aloe vera, orange marmalade, fermented chamomile syrup, topped with sparkling water).
Bar manager Christian Tellez has created new alcohol-free sips for the famous Montrose restaurant. Consider the Safe and Sound, a tropical-inspired cocktail made with Lyre’s Dark Cane Spirit, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and peach syrup; the A Pantomime, a highball-style drink that combines Lyre’s Dry London Spirit, chamomile tea, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice; or the Top Five !, a Collins-style drink made with hibiscus and mint tea, spicy cranberry syrup, lime juice and grapefruit juice. Basic dishes like NoGroni and Pina’Hot’A also remain available.