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An Abstinent Affair: Recipes for a Delicious Dry January

two young adult women being served drinks at the Amber Bar at the Falling Rock hotel at Nemacolin resort

Refraining from alcohol is a curiosity for some and an abstinent affair for others, especially during the month of January. As the memes on social media have reminded all of us, we’ve had a candy holiday followed by a pie holiday, then followed by a candy and cookie holiday, and then a bubbly holiday. It’s no wonder some approach January with a wellness and well-being perspective, setting resolutions to immerse themselves in fitness regimens or food and drink abstentions.

Here at Nemacolin, we’re seeing more and more people who want alternatives to alcohol, yet they’re looking for more than just a splash of fruit juice in their tonic water. Of course, we’ve stepped up, and delicious mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages can be found across the resort.

In 2006, Mr. John Ore coined the term Drynuary, and since then terms like Janupause, Teetotaler’s Month, Sober January, Dryuary, and Dry January have found their way into the mainstream. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, “… participation peaked in 2022, when many people decided to cut back following a rising trend of alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For those who wish to indulge in this intentional self-care interlude without intoxication in January or beyond, we offer you a several artfully curated mocktail recipes and a few extras. Elevate your teetotaling experience at home, savoring a symphony of flavors that resonate with sophistication and the pursuit of a balanced lifestyle. Cheers to a spirited abstention, where the extraordinary meets the everyday with mindful wellness and exquisite taste!

Reddish-pink mocktail in a tall glass with a straw and a garnish of a puff of cotton candy

In the Clouds

Featured at Fawn & Fable, In the Clouds is a fun take on a bubbly cocktail, and it taps into the popularity of flavored, carbonated beverages.

2 oz Seedlip Spice 94
5 blueberries
.5 oz lemon juice
Sanpellegrino sparkling water
Garnish:  a cotton candy “cloud”

Method: Add blueberries and lemon juice to a shaker. Muddle the items together. Add Seedlip Spice 94 to the shaker of muddled items. Fill a Collins glass (highball style glass or glass of your choice) with ice. Double-strain the muddled items, pouring them over the ice. Top with Sanpellegrino sparkling water, then garnish.

mule with blueberries

Blueberry Pony

Featured at Aqueous and the Amber Bar at Falling Rock, the Blueberry Pony is a fun riff on a zero-proof version of a Moscow Mule meets Mojito.

4 mint leaves
.25 oz lime juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Handful of blueberries
Ginger beer or ginger ale
Garnish: a few skewered blueberries

Method: Muddle the first four ingredients in a copper mug. Fill the copper mug with ice. Top with ginger ale or a ginger beer of your choice, then garnish.

Cheers to a spirited abstention, where the extraordinary meets the everyday with exquisite taste!
orange drink in a rocks glass garnished with a lemon and hibiscus salt

Zero-Proof Margarita

Featured at the Circle Bar in The Grand Lodge, the Zero-Proof Margarita is a sensational mocktail to sip on during Dry January or during a sizzling summer.

2 oz Seedlip Spice 94
.5 oz agave syrup
1 oz hibiscus-berry tea*
.25 oz lime juice
Garnish: slice of lemon and hibiscus salt on the side

Method: Lightly muddle all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain over a rocks glass with ice, then garnish.

*We recommend Rishi Tea, which can be purchased at the resort. Alternatively, you can use a familiar brand like Tazo.

Sans-Alcohol Sangria

Batching a mocktail is a great way to plan ahead when hosting a gathering of your family or friends. Sangrias are popular to serve, as they have broad appeal for casual wine drinkers. You’ll hardly miss a thing when you bring home a bottle of alcohol-free sparkling “wine” from The Patisserie such as a Prima Pave. Alternatively, you can use a lemon-lime soda. Add fresh fruits such as sliced lemons, limes, oranges, and cranberries to your decanter, punch bowl, or pitcher.

2 cups of cranberry juice
2 cups of white grape juice
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups sparkling Prima Pave or lemon-lime soda

Method: In a large pitcher add slices of fruit and cranberries. Add in the juices (withholding the final ingredient), then refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, remove the pitcher from the refrigerator, and add the Prima Pave or lemon-lime soda. Fill wine glasses with ice, a few pieces of fresh fruit, and pour your sans-alcohol sangria over the ice.

Curated Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are a sophisticated yet easy way to wow your family and friends. They are also the way to elevate your drinks without having to have a bartender experience. Ice can come in any shape or size, whether you’re using a traditional ice tray or you’ve picked up a fun star shape or circle mold.

herbs with ice cubes

Start by choosing your flavor profile, whether it be an herb like thyme or basil, some edible flowers, or even some leftover fruit from your sans-alcohol sangria. Add these items to your ice tray or ice mold. Next, top off your tray with water or juice. Let them freeze, and then you’re ready to serve your curated ice cubes with your chosen mocktail or sparkling water.

Elevate your iced tea with curated cubes by adding mint to your ice tray or ice mold, then zest some lemon using a microplane or citrus zester. (When zesting, use the skin and stay above the pith to avoid bitterness.) Next, add water. If a touch of slow-release sweetness is desired in your iced tea, add a splash of simple syrup to the ice tray or ice mold before freezing. Once frozen, add the mint-lemon infused ice cubes to your iced tea and enjoy!

As for how to make your cubes a bit clearer at home without special equipment, try boiling distilled water twice then allowing it to cool before adding it to your trays. It’ll produce better results and clearer ice cubes as compared to using tap water or bottled water, especially if you want the herbs or flowers to shine through.

The Difference Between Zero-Proof and Non-Alcoholic

Remember, when experimenting during Dry January there is a difference between zero-proof and non-alcoholic. Zero-proof entails there is no trace of alcohol present in the “spirit.” Beverages labeled as non-alcoholic may contain a small percentage of alcohol.

For instance, at the bars and lounges around the resort property, guests can sip on a non-alcoholic beer like O’Doul’s Premium or a zero-proof Heineken 0.0. The Heineken 0.0 contains 0.0% ABV (alcohol by volume), and it is deemed alcohol-free. The O’Doul’s does contain 0.2% ABV because it is “brewed as traditional premium beers – fermented and aged to full maturity. The alcohol is then removed through the use of low temperature, low-pressure distillation. This extremely gentle process allows the alcohol to be removed without heating or cooking the beer, which retains the full, rich and delicate flavor and balance of our non-alcohol brews.”

Dry January Immersion Around Nemacolin

For the sober-curious overnight guest or member looking to indulge and visiting Nemacolin during a January getaway, there will be opportunities throughout the resort to partake in Dry January.

  • Each restaurant and lounge menu across the resort highlights a zero-proof cocktails section.
  • Stop by The Patisserie in The Chateau where you’ll find a variety of alcohol-free wines from sparkling blanc de blancs to rosé.
  • For those who are looking to ring in healthier habits into the new year, guests are invited to start their mornings with a smoothie trio at The Patisserie before hitting the fitness center.
  • The resort’s Italian Cooking Class welcomes overnight guests and members with an Italian-curated mocktail before starting a hands-on pasta-making experience.
  • Three days a week in January, the Circle Bar mixologists will be demonstrating the basics of a mocktail where guests can sip and sample and then take a recipe card home.
  • The butlers can remove any alcoholic options from the minibar in your room or suite at your request.


Stay Curious and Supportive

There are so many ways to partake in Dry January whether visiting Nemacolin resort or relaxing in the comforts of your own home. This January, set yourself up for success by staying curious and being open to the possibilities. If Dry January isn’t a thing for you, pass this article along in support of your friends and family who wish to imbibe on mocktails and beverages without alcohol.

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