New Orleans' Top Bartenders are Shaking Things up for Dry January
Here are six mocktail recipes to keep you refreshed while you give yourself a monthlong vacation from booze
It’s no secret that New Orleans is the United States’ unofficial capital of drinking. If you need proof, consider the facts.
New Orleans is the home of Tales of the Cocktail, an annual convention/gathering of the world’s greatest bartenders and spirits. New Orleans is also the origin city of some of the world’s most iconic cocktails including the Sazarac, Grasshopper, and Vieux Carre. The Big Easy is also home to several drive-through daiquiri shops and drinking is not only allowed — it’s encouraged on Bourbon Street.
But, there comes a time when we all need a reset. And January is a good time to take a little vacation from alcohol — especially for the people of New Orleans. “We have a small window between the holidays and Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, so it doesn’t hurt to take a break from the booze and dry out before Carnival season begins, and cocktails and king cake become a regular part of every meal,” says Sophina Uong, owner of Mister Mao in New Orleans.
The annual monthlong vacation from booze, known as Dry January, began in 2012 as a public health initiative from Alcohol Change UK, a British charity. Now millions take part in this health challenge every year. And, unlike other challenges where you have to ride your bike 100 miles or log hours jumping rope, it’s easy to participate in Dry January— just don’t indulge in alcohol for a month.
That used to mean drinking ginger ale while your friends enjoyed margaritas, but not anymore. Now, bartenders are getting creative with delicious mocktails made with herbs, fruits, and delicious non-alcoholic spirits. Here are six mocktails to make at home from New Orleans’ best bartenders.
The Aloe Elixir
by Heather Blanchard, lead bartender at The Pool Club at Virgin Hotels New Orleans
1 oz Seedlip Garden 108
2 oz aloe vera juice
.75 oz Real watermelon puree or watermelon juice
.5 oz lime
.5 oz ginger syrup
sprinkle of cayenne
dehydrated lime for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Strain into rocks glass with ice, and garnish with lime.
by Mickey Mullins, beverage director at The Bower
3 oz Kin Spritz Euphorics
.25 oz fresh lime juice
splash of tonic water
mint for garnish
Add Kin and lime juice to a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and pour into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with a splash of tonic water and garnish with mint sprig.
by Sophina Uong, owner of Mister Mao
1 oz Cocktail + Sons Fassionola syrup (or substitute any fruit/tiki syrup)
1 oz pineapple juice
.25 oz Fee Brothers vegan foam (or sub out any vegan foam)
5 drops n/a All the Bitter bitters (or sub out any n/a bitters)
Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake. pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.
1.5 oz chai concentrate
1 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.25 oz demerara simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and serve.
by Osteria Lupo
1 oz strawberry-basil syrup
1 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz n/a sparkling wine
Build in a flute glass, top with sparkling wine, and garnish with a lemon twist.
To make the strawberry-basil syrup
16 oz carton of strawberries
1 cup whole black peppercorns
1 cup packed fresh, whole basil leaves
16 oz white sugar
8 oz hot water
Remove strawberry stems and cut them into slices. Mix strawberry slices and sugar in a bowl and leave overnight.
In a saucepan, steep pepper in 8 oz. hot water for 5 minutes. Mix strawberry/sugar mix with pepper-infused water. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved and strawberries are blanched.
Remove from heat, strain solids, and add basil. Leave to cool/infuse. Strain basil and bottle once cool.
2 oz chai concentrate
1 oz peach syrup
.5 oz fresh ginger
splash of soda water
cinnamon stick for garnish
Pour chai, peach, and ginger into a wine glass. stir until the mixture blends. Add ice, top with soda water, and stir once more. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.