Ah yes, Dry January is upon us once again. For many, abstaining from alcohol after the holiday season encourages a renewed sense of stability. But for others, the thought of turning down an enticing cocktail in favor of a dry version sounds plain boring. Luckily, the world of mocktails has far surpassed boring Diet Cokes and iced tea. Eateries and cocktail bars all over the city offer non-alcoholic concoctions that continue the ritual of pairing good food with enjoyable beverages. Take Ogden’s WB’s Eatery for example, where owners Amy and Viviane Wanderley-Britt find great joy in offering memorable experiences for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
Together, the couple have curated a delicious list of low-proof and zero-proof cocktails that use unique ingredients unknown to many Utahns. Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled water, adds nuance to any dry cocktail. Their three unique flavors can be combined with a variety of syrups and citrus juices. I personally reach for the Spice 94 when I’m craving a mock hot toddy. Other non-alcoholic spirit brands include Monday and Ritual, both are showcased respectively in WB’s menu. Unlike Seedlip, which is in a category of their own making, Monday and Ritual fashion their products after flavor profiles found in whiskey, gin, rum and tequila. “Using Monday and Ritual allows us to make dry classic cocktails with authentic taste,” says Viviane. Non-alcoholic spirits are ideal for those covert non-drinkers who still want to experience the depth of an Old Fashioned, or if you just need to take a breather after making the most of happy hour.
Beyond an annual participation in Dry January, mocktails have been growing in popularity for years, particularly in Salt Lake. Amy and Viviane believe this is due to the inclusivity that dry cocktails bring to the dining experience. “Offering non-alcoholic drinks as an alternative is similar to offering gluten-free and vegan items,” Amy says. “It creates a space to socialize and hangout without being called out on your choice to drink or not drink.” After all, there are many reasons one might choose not to drink. Maybe you are an athlete in training or a woman who is pregnant. You might be taking medications that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol, or you simply want to be able to drive home without violating Utah’s severe BAC law. Whatever the reason, being presented with a dry cocktail that doesn’t skimp on flavor shows non-drinkers they aren’t an afterthought and that the bar industry still holds a place for them. In a sense, bars that offer dry cocktails become what they were always meant to be: A gathering place for all.