It’s clear to those who own or manage a restaurant that today’s diners are more driven to consume less alcohol. But with the ability of a beverage to balance or enhance a meal, a simple substitute of ice water can leave the guest wanting more. Here are some nonalcoholic cocktail ideas and pairings to suggest to those who are looking to drink less but still enjoy all there is to experience.
While many of these ideas suggest substituting a liquor with profile-matching ingredients, you can find many zero-proof brands today creating liquors that mimic the taste of real alcohol. Consider shopping around for zero-proof gin, whiskey, tequila and more.
The New Old Fashioned paired with Caprese Teres Major
Crafted with barley tea, angostura bitters, sugar cube, orange slice and maraschino cherry.
The depth of flavor in a classic Old Fashioned balances the richness of teres major—and the subtle smokiness of this nonalcoholic version provides the same satisfaction.
Jasmine’s Lemongrass paired with Skirt Steak Salad
Crafted with muddled lemongrass, simple syrup, lemon juice, jasmine iced tea and lychee juice.
The skirt steak naturally boasts a magnitude of flavor, creating moments of opportunity between each bite for the lemongrass and iced tea to counterpoint.
Pineapple Cooler paired with Butler Steak Grain Bowl
Crafted with lime juice, pineapple juice and ginger syrup.
Sweet, tart and entirely refreshing, this mocktail is a wonderful beverage to enjoy alongside the prominent flavors of the butler steak and pickled red peppers in this grain bowl.
Pal-No-Ma paired with Tri Tip Ranchero
Crafted with lime juice, grapefruit juice, agave syrup, club soda and sea salt.
The fresh tropical flavors in this drink help ease the heat from the ranchero sauce and the charred jalapeño while augmenting the savoriness of the tri tip.
Virgin Manhattan paired with Smoked Coulotte
Crafted with nonalcoholic whiskey, cranberry juice, maraschino cherry juice, lemon juice, angostura bitters and orange peel garnish.
A slight sweetness along with spice from the bitters make this alcohol-free Manhattan an impeccable partner to the smoky flavor of the coulotte as well as the guajillo chile sauce.
Gin-Less Tonic paired with Japanese Tenderloin Tataki
Crafted with juniper syrup, fresh lemon juice, tonic water and lemon peel garnish.
With a light and zesty taste, this mocktail is instantly recognizable even without the main alcoholic essential. When paired with the wonderfully succulent and rich tenderloin, it’s notable citrus notes cut through the miso butter glaze to augment the beef.
Sparkling Sage Gimlet paired with Ball Tip Mushroom Burger
Crafted with fresh sage leaves, simple syrup, fresh lime juice and sparkling water.
This beverage’s brightness is a perfect contrast to the ball tip’s depth of flavor, and the aromatic sage leaves add a layer of fresh herb to complete the experience.