Our 3 Favorite Non-Alcoholic Cocktails for a Chill Winter
Whether or not you're attempting Dry January—and let's be honest, it's not the easiest year to do that—the world of nonalcoholic cocktails has never been more enticing. Whereas non-drinkers were once stuck with dull club soda or ginger ale, there are now dozens of compelling bottles, from convincing gin substitutes to bitter aperitif-style drinks and rich, wine-like sippers.
Many of the best new products out there don't try to mimic a particular alcoholic equivalent, but stand on their own merits. Here are three of our favorite bottles—and three simple but sophisticated cocktails to make with them.
We love the bitter backbone of a good amaro, and Ghia delivers the same appeal with none of the alcohol. Balancing fruit elements (Riesling grapes, yuzu) and various botanicals (rosemary, ginger, gentian), it's as vividly flavored as any alcoholic alternative. It's delicious on the rocks if you have a high tolerance for bitter, but even more approachable in a simple sour-style cocktail: Ghia, simple syrup, and for a little winter flair, blood orange juice. As bold in color as it is in flavor.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Ghia, an ounce of blood orange juice, a quarter-ounce of fresh lemon juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a very thin blood orange round.
Something like a red wine, something like a good sweet vermouth, Proteau Ludlow Red is designed to be sipped with food; and it's worth trying first, chilled, straight from the bottle. But it also works beautifully in mixed drinks. We find that the simplest of cocktails really lets its complexity shine: Proteau, club soda, and a bold and fragrant garnish of rosemary and lemon. Dry and easy-drinking, it's an ideal aperitif.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice (crushed ice is even better), combine an ounce and a half of Proteau with four ounces of club soda. Stir briefly. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a lemon twist.
Lyre's Italian Orange Toddy
With bold citrus on first sip and a comparatively dry finish, Lyre's Italian Orange is another nonalcoholic favorite that's delicious as an aperitif, served simply with soda. But we like to highlight its sweeter side in a hot toddy; just stir the Italian Orange with honey and hot water, and add grapefruit and star anise for a complex, layered garnish.
Instructions: Pour two ounces of Lyre's Bitter Orange into a heat-safe glass. Heat water in a kettle or microwave until just under a boil, and add two ounces to the glass. Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey. Garnish with a piece of star anise and a grapefruit half-moon.