Whether you’re always on the hunt for great booze-free drinks or you’re simply giving your liver a break after a year of drinking heavily—2020 was tough on all of us, no judgment—some of L.A.’s best bars are making it easy to have a dry January.
Last year was unsustainable for so many of the city’s favorite cocktail bars, and while many of our favorite go-to spots for alcohol-free cocktails and creative sippers are either closed or not offering their full menus, a number of spots across town still have you covered, whether you’re looking for nonalcoholic local craft beer, some of the city’s best sodas, or a gin-less cocktail from one of L.A.’s top gin bars. Here’s where to find alcohol-free drinks this January.
Newport Beach’s Bravus Brewing Co. is helping to revolutionize nonalcoholic craft beer year-round, and while the team is fairly tight-lipped about just how they craft their ales, stouts and beyond, we do know they’re one of the most successful—and popular—craft breweries to really dive into NA beer. You can find their cans across L.A., namely at most BevMo and Total Wines locations. Their current beer lineup includes an IPA, a raspberry gose, a white ale, a Mexican-style cerveza, an oatmeal stout and an amber ale—and every beer contains under 0.5% ABV.
Of course one of the city’s bastions of healthful fare also offers an enormous selection of wellness-minded nonalcoholic drinks. Café Gratitude always keeps a range of fresh-pressed juices at the ready, not to mention herbal tonics, adaptogenic smoothies, antioxidant lattes and charcoal-graced concoctions. If you’re looking to kick off 2021 without booze but still want to wet your whistle with something fun, opt for something like the canned Rishi sparkling botanicals in flavors like grapefruit quince or ginger dandelion; sip on house-made ginger ale; quench your thirst with a charcoal lemonade; or go full-on health fiend with a juice cleanse. Choose your location (Larchmont, the Arts District or Venice), then order online for pickup or delivery.
Craving an old-fashioned? Historic Filipinotown café Doubting Thomas is stirring up their own take, sans whiskey. Starting this weekend they’re offering a special kumquat-laced and caffeinated old-fashioned, which builds on the classic cocktail recipe by swapping in two ounces of espresso for the booze, then adding a house-made kumquat syrup for sweetness using fresh kumquats sourced from Bakersfield’s Murray Family Farms. It also includes the standard dash of bitters, then gets topped off with a splash of Topo Chico and, of course, a citrus garnish.
As one of L.A.’s premier gin bars, Genever usually keeps us delighted with cocktails built using Philippines-distilled, navy-strength, or pepper-infused gins—to name just a few—but in January, the Historic Filipinotown bar is giving us a nonalcoholic cocktail special that’s built with just as much care as its usual tipples. In fact, this Drynuary the team has fashioned an alcohol-free spin on one of their booze-laced cocktails: The new Not So Mean Mr. Grinch is a play on their You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch, removing the local gin but still keeping the mix of matcha, pear juice, lemon, and demerara syrup. Order online for pickup or delivery here.
David Kuo’s popular Taiwanese joint just got into the boba game, so while you won’t be able to order NA sips from sibling spot Accomplice—one of our favorite bars in the city—you can check out a range of new boba concoctions from the same family. The Mar Vista restaurant is giving us a few classics and a few house creations, so you can opt for something like the Original, made with Thai black tea, condensed milk and black sugar boba, or you can try the vegan Fauxba, made with rooibos rose tea, oat milk and black sugar boba, topped with a whip-like matcha rose coconut crema. There’s even a fizzy, non-milk option that sports green tea, yuzu jam, seasonal fruit and a sparkling yuzu soda. Find the full menu here for pickup and delivery, and don’t forget to add some XO Fatty Noodles and dumplings while you’re at it.
Is there anything Josef Centeno can’t do? In addition to bringing us Orsa & Winston, his Michelin-starred Japanese-meets-Italian destination—which also happens to be one of the best restaurants in L.A.—the chef also gives us Tex-Mex stalwart Bar Amá, runs his own hand-dyed clothing line, and makes some of the best small-batch soda to ever grace the city. And that last one can be a major thirst quencher during Dry January. Though Centeno sadly closed his flatbread sandwich shop, Bäco Mercat, in 2020, its phenomenal sodas live on: You can order four-packs from Orsa & Winston and four- and six-packs from Bar Amá in flavors such as sweet-and-sour hibiscus; root beer with chocolate; and pineapple with cinnamon. Bright, effervescent and bursting with flavor, these bäcoPOPS feature local and natural ingredients, and some varieties were inspired by Bäco’s own shrubs—you know, the kind of syrup-like mixer often found in cocktails. See? You’re practically drinking alcohol-free already.
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