A month of wine-fueled Christmas dinners, boozy office holiday parties and champagne toasts at midnight can be fun. But by the time New Year’s Day rolls around, a lot of people have the urge to detox, which is why Dry January — which started as a public health campaign in the UK in 2012 — has picked up momentum stateside, with more and more people deciding to skip alcohol the first 31 days of the year. It can feel great to reset, save some money and give your body a rest. Plus, the additional benefits are pretty major: According to the nonprofit Alcohol Change UK, 88 percent of people who go a month without drinking save money, 71 percent sleep better, and 58 percent lose weight.
And the good feeling lasts. A World Health Organization study says that 72 percent of people who do it still drink less riskily six months later. But if the idea of sipping seltzer at every social occasion sounds boring, try out these five creative mocktail ideas to mix things up.
If You are Hosting a House Party
Maybe it is someone’s birthday. Or maybe you just feel like having people over to celebrate something. Multiply this recipe to make a pitcher to keep at the bar. “We believe no matter how health-conscious or active, people want to enjoy something refreshing that feels good for you while still being delicious,” says Eric Marx, co-owner of The Wayfarer, a restaurant in New York that just revamped their menu to focus on fresher, healthier fare.
Spicy Peach and Cucumber Fizz
By Eric Marx, co-owner of The Wayfarer
2 slices of cucumber
2 slices of jalapeño
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce peach puree
3/4 ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, heated until combined)
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber and jalapeño with the lime juice. Add the peach puree and honey syrup with ice and shake well. Strain into a glass with ice and top with a splash of ginger beer and thin cucumber slices.
If It Is Freezing Outside and You Would Rather be in the Tropics
By late January, when all the string lights and Christmas decorations have been taken down and the weather outside is downright bleak, try this tropical drink and pretend you are relaxing on a white sandy beach.
“The black pepper syrup gives it a nice kick to contrast with the sweetness of the passion fruit and coconut, and the tarragon gives it a freshness and splash of color,” says Matthew Dress, mixologist at Florie’s at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, who created the drink in the warm, sunnier climes of Florida.
By Matthew Dress and Alexandra Azrak, mixologists of Florie’s at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
3/4 ounce passion fruit puree
1 ounce black pepper syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled briefly with a handful of black peppercorns)
2 ounces coconut cream
1 sprig of fresh tarragon
In a mixing tin, combine all ingredients, shake and double strain into a rocks glass. Add cubed ice and garnish with coarsely cracked black pepper, a fresh tarragon sprig and an edible flower.
If You Want to Drink Your Dessert
If your resolutions alsoinclude cutting back on baked goods, try this sweet, dessert-y cocktail with a rich, creamy texture. “It will take anyone who tries it straight back to that memory of being six years old and trying to eat a creamsicle without getting sticky hands, and the club soda in this drink lifts the whole beverage so that it has an airiness that will challenge any of the best pharmacy drinks (watch out egg creams) you’ve had lately,” says Jenny Lakin, general manager of New York City restaurant Ferris. “It’s perfect for an after dinner sweet treat or as a cleaner replacement for all those Christmas cookies you’ll be missing this January.”
Carrots & Creamsicle
By Jenny Lakin, general manager of the Ferris
1 ounce malted coconut cream
1 ounce carrot juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1 granulated sugar to water)
3 dashes of orange blossom water
Club soda to taste
Pour a splash of club soda over ice in rocks glass. Shake and strain all ingredients into that same glass. Paddle the club soda and the cocktail so that a foam begins to form. Let rest for 10 seconds. Pour more club soda to lift the drink until it has a nice frothy head and garnish with an orange twist.
If You are Cozy at Home and Need a Hit of Vitamin C
This bright, citrusy drink is inspired by the tiki tradition of pairing acidic, fruity flavors with warm spices — in this case, Mexican cinnamon, or canela. “It is a lighter and more gentle in flavor than what we typically associate with cinnamon, which comes from Cassia Bark,” says Noah Small, beverage director at Empellon. “This cocktail is especially good in the winter as pink grapefruits are in season and amazing.”
By Noah Small, beverage director at chef Alex Stupak’s Empellon restaurants
3 ounces fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce canela syrup (bring 3 3/4 ounces of water, half a cup of sugar, and 6 tablespoons of canela to a boil in a saucepan, steep for 15 minutes and strain)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice, then strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Garnish with grated canela.
If The Party Calls for a “Champagne” Toast
“The inspiration for this drink is the elegance and simplicity of a glass of Champagne,” says Laura Lashley, California brand ambassador at Seedlip, a line of non-alcoholic spirits. “We wanted to create something sophisticated and simple, that would not necessarily mimic the flavor of Champagne, but would capture the occasion.”
By Laura Lashley of Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits
1 1/2 ounces Seedlip Grove 42
2 ounces verjus (an acidic, unfermented juice from not-quite-ripe wine grapes)
1/2 ounce honey
Club soda to top
Combine ingredients and pour into a Nick and Nora glass or Champagne flute.