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Gone are the days when the best non-alcoholic drink money could buy was a Shirley Temple with *gasp* a maraschino cherry.
If the month of December felt like one never-ending assault on your liver, you’re not alone. For me, it’s a time overflowing with merrymaking and festivities, many of which involve more booze than I care to admit. The fact that the faintest sniff of anything stronger than a glass of orange juice sends an involuntary shudder down my spine is probably my body’s way of letting me know it’s time for a break. So if you indulged in a few too many Baileys hot cocoas, have no fear—Dry January is in full swing and it’s more mouthwatering than ever. Thanks to “Generation Sober,” spots all over town are getting on board the zero proof movement. The result? A wide variety of innovative, drool-worthy, not to mention totally gorgeous non-alcoholic beverages so delicious you might not even miss booze. Until next December that is.
Hawksworth’ Province Iced Tea
All five of the drinks on Hawksworth’s zero proof menu are worth a try but the Provence Iced Tea is a personal favourite. “The lavender, when combined with vanilla bean and sous vide with sugar and water, makes a delicious syrup that adds a beautiful and unique sweetness to Denman Island Tea’s Organic Hathikuli Estate Assam Tea,” said bar manager Josh Nidzgorski. It’s a drink that’ll make you feel like patio season came early.
Acorn’s Lavender Collins
A much more tantalizing (IMO) take on the classic Tom Collins drink, the soft earthiness of chilled lavender tea balances the bite of the lemon cordial perfectly. Bonus: The Acorn grows their own lavender at their garden just a few blocks away so it’s extra fresh and extra delicious.
Wildebeest’s Faux Kriek
If your month of sobriety has got you missing complex fruity flavours, look no further than Wildebeest’s Faux Kriek. With preserved cherry, balsamic rosemary cordial, citrus and tonic, this is a drink that’ll keep you coming back all winter long. If tart is more your speed, don’t miss Wildebeest’s housemade Kombucha.
Bao Bei’s Sun Yat Sen
The house-made orange lime leaf cordial brings Bao Bei’s take on the orange cream soda to a whole new level from the childhood classic. Plus, there are no artificial flavours in its fruity deliciousness and the fluffy cream on top is the stuff of daydreams.
Lobby Lounge’s Tang Dynasty
This drink from Lobby Bar has fully convinced me that Kombucha is an underutilized mixer. In the Tang Dynasty, it blends beautifully with yatzu juice, pear green tea, basil and soda. Count me in.
Uva’s Slice of That Pie
UVA has four non-alcoholic cocktails as part of the Woodford Reserve Take It Slow program. If you’re a sucker for dessert, the Slice of That Pie cocktail is the flavour equivalent of pecan pie with a cup of coffee. It’s a rich blend of fresh espresso, house-made pecan milk and maple syrup, shaken and topped off with a dash of soda. Who knew zero proof could be so decadent?
It’s rare to find a non-alcoholic drink that pulls off woody flavours but the Botanist does just that with the Heartwood. Cedar, smoked alder and birch sap create a sophisticated blend of smoke and spice.
Pidgin’s Peach and Basil Smash
There’s nothing quite like the energetic sweetness of fresh peaches to get you through a dreary Vancouver winter. Pidgin’s Peach and Basil Smash combines refreshing peach juice with just a touch of basil and black pepper. Plus it’s served in an adorable little bottle with a sidecar of soda.