Bars Are Embracing Dry January With Booze-Free Offerings

Since 2016, you may have heard of or even participated in Alcohol Concern's increasingly popular campaign, Dry January. According to the British Journal of General Practice, this month-long event promoting sobriety aims to get individuals to think and talk about their alcohol intake levels and encourages people to take a break from booze altogether. The journal notes that those who stick with the campaign throughout the month often report benefits like better sleep and more energy. Some participants even notice physical changes, like weight loss and improved skin. 

In recent years, terms like "sober curious" have also become more common as people are increasingly critical of the effects alcohol has on their bodies and looking for alternatives to alcohol. Even booze-free bars have popped up globally, looking to serve a population interested in socializing, but not in drinking.

However, it seems that traditional bars are also starting to cater to those sober curious folks or others who are participating in Dry January, and more booze-free options are becoming available. Whether a bar is looking to highlight addiction problems within the industry or is simply creating more alcohol-free drinks to cater to growing demand, many bars have been expanding their menus by a mocktail or two — or several — in recent weeks.

Bars are embracing mocktails in January

The Aspen Times notes that this trend is especially catching on in bigger cities. According to an ABC News report, from Charleston, South Carolina, many local restaurants in the Charleston area have plenty of alcohol-free cocktails, while others are promoting mocktail competitions among bartenders. In place of some of the boozier options, a handful of establishments have opted to celebrate Dry January in a different way, offering THC- or CBD-infused mocktails instead. One such drink, coming from Herb Provisions in Charleston, is available in the form of a seltzer infused with Delta-8 THC topped with a sprig of rosemary and a bit of ginger, per The Post and Courier.

In New York City, some establishments are sticking to the core of cocktail mixology by offering classic options. The New York Times notes that The Cobra Club in Brooklyn has simple mocktails, like virgin frozen margaritas, available along with canned non-alcoholic beer. They are promoting their popular events, such as karaoke and comedy shows, to the sober crowd, as well.

However, smaller communities are not as likely to have complete menu overhauls or special Dry-January-dedicated events. As the Aspen Times points out, money is the main concern. Establishments are usually able to charge more for drinks with alcohol in them. However, as the article notes, more zero-proof liquor is available these days, and bartenders can still use these mixes to make creative concoctions, keeping prices high enough for businesses.