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Another January, another feeble attempt by so many to drink nothing for an entire month. I get it though. The end of every year feels like a slow descent into some sort endless loop of spiked cheer, but 2018 was a real humdinger. So as we move into 2019 still withdrawing from 2018, here are three non-alcoholic cocktails that’ll make you feel like this year really will be different.

A quick aside before I get to it. Non-alcoholic cocktails, for the most part, really end up being weird juice-ridden things you’d find in the sink of a Jamba Juice. I used to make these disasters at The Gibson whenever somebody forgot that cocktail bars serve, and are stocked to serve, alcohol. The cocktails below aren’t fancy versions of Hawaiian punch; instead these are imitations of classics. Hopefully, the same classics you’ll be drinking in less than a month.


1.5 oz. of “Bourbon”

  • Mix 1 part non-alcoholic vanilla extract, and 2 part water to create something that could give you the same basic taste of Bourbon.

.75 oz. of “Dry Vermouth”

  • Dry vermouth can be substituted with either non-alcoholic white wine (I’ve never seen this. What is this?), white grape juice, or white wine vinegar. I think the weird wine or the white wine vinegar would work best.

.75 oz. of “Campari”

  • Campari can be recreated with some nice Whole Foods never-go-on-sale pomegranate juice and 1-2 dashes of Angostura. Before you @ me about how Angostura technically has alcohol in it (44.7%), it’s two dashes so how about you just do it.

Take all of that, and stir (not mix) with ice for 30 seconds. Serve on the rocks.


1.5 oz. of “El Dorado 5 Yr. Rum”

  • Rum substitutes are pretty simple but have a few options depending on what type of rum you want. For this one, you want a dark rum with this one so mix molasses with apple cider and add a little bit of almond extract. I would start with a 2 to 1 ratio of apple cider with molasses to give it a depth of sweetness.

.75 oz. of Lime Juice

.75 oz. of “Kalani Coconut”

  • Coconut liquor is easy. Just use coconut milk.

Build all of it in a tall glass, add ice, and top with tonic.


.75 oz. of “Famous Grouse Scotch”

  • Use the same recipe as the “Bourbon” substitute in #1.

.75 oz. of “Sweet Vermouth”

  • Mix a splash grapefruit juice with balsamic vinegar. You’re trying to recreate fortified wine and all of the body of sweet and herbal nuisance that comes with it, so feel free to use only balsamic vinegar if the grapefruit doesn’t work for you.

. 75 oz. of Orange Juice

. 75 oz. of “Cherry Heering”

  • Cherry Heering is cherry brandy, so use cherry juice that has little to no added sugar.

Using a shaker (if you want it to feel real, use a Boston Shaker and put a denim apron on) shake the ingredients with ice for 15 seconds and serve NEAT.

I know serving a non-alcoholic drink neat is really the physical manifestation of present-day America, but isn’t the whole point of this exercise to be able to pretend? For those of us currently walking to Domestique on Florida Ave. and North Capitol NW, we toast to your resolve.