ON OUR RADAR

WITH THE VIR­GIN-COCK­TAILS TREND CATCH­ING FIRE AROUND THE COUN­TRY, DRY JAN­UARY JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EAS­IER.

Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents - — CHRISTINA IZZO

Al­co­hol-free bars; veg­e­tar­ian din­ers; and re­fresh­ing beauty buys

“We don’t call them mock­tails,” says Dave Arnold of the non­al­co­holic drinks at Ex­ist­ing Con­di­tions, the New York City bar he owns with star bar­men Greg Boehm and Don Lee ( ex­con­di­tions .com). “We don’t want to mock any­one.” In­stead, the team cre­ated booze-free bev­er­ages— like the Serendip­ity, a trop­i­cal take on an old-fash­ioned—with the same at­ten­tion they would pay to tra­di­tional cock­tails. “A bar at­mos­phere is a fun, so­cial thing, and you shouldn’t need al­co­hol to en­joy it,” says Arnold.

Liq­uid in­clu­siv­ity is gain­ing steam on the menus at other high­pro­file bars in the United States. It’s a nat­u­ral spin- off of well­ness cul­ture. “More peo­ple are call­ing for non­al­co­holic drinks, and bar­tenders are hear­ing the call,” says Brian Miller, co- owner of the Poly­ne­sian, a new tiki bar in NYC ( the­p­oly­ne­siantiki.com). You’ll find a ded­i­cated zero-proof menu at Donetto in At­lanta ( donet­toatl.com). And you can get spirit-free drink pair­ings with your Miche­lin-starred meal at Ori­ole in Chicago ( ori­olechicago.com). At Quince in San Fran­cisco ( quin­cer­estau­rant.com), guests are wel­comed with a flute of “a buck­wheat tea that’s chilled, car­bon­ated, and topped with lemon air” (a froth made with Meyer lemon juice), says bar­tender Michael Ku­dra.

What’s maybe the coolest in­no­va­tion in al­co­hol-free drink­ing is non­al­co­holic spir­its like Seedlip (made of botan­i­cals, herbs, spices, and a neu­tral grain mix­ture). “The trend has opened a door for bar­tenders to go for the gold in terms of mak­ing a be­liev­able cock­tail sub­sti­tute,” says Na­talie Frei­hon, man­ag­ing part­ner of the Fat Radish, a Brit-in­spired spot in NYC ( the­fa­tradish­nyc.com). Yes, even those barhop­ping Brits are get­ting into it!

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