If you’re someone who chooses not to imbibe, corporate events can be a bit uncomfortable. Most networking receptions hinge on an open bar stocked with booze, and the options for non-drinkers are underwhelming to say the least.
While others chat over colorful concoctions, you’re offered a choice of ice water or sugary soda—not exactly stellar choices.
Enter the booze-free cocktail.
“Having exciting, alcohol-free drink options at your event creates a more relaxed, inclusive environment. It makes people who enjoy not drinking feel seen and cared for,” says Lorelei Bandrovschi, the founder of Listen Bar, an alcohol-free bar in NYC. “It gives people who want moderation a fun option to switch to between boozy drinks. And ultimately it sends an empowering message: that merriment is who you’re with, not what’s in your cup.”
Need some inspiration? We’ve got some ideas that are anything but dry (well, at least not that kind of dry).
Some are healthy, others are an indulgence. But they all offer a delicious, attractive, and fun beverage, minus the headache and the regret.
Build Your Own LaCroix Bar
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year, people are obsessed with La Croix. Everyone has their favorite flavor, and will fight to snag it from the company fridge.
Yet you’re not just going to throw a few cases of sparkling water out. Oh, no. You’re building a beverage bar! Slice up a variety of fruits, plate them nicely, and lay out some fancy cups and straws. (The planet will thank you if they’re metal or paper). Better yet? Throw in some bunches of flavorful herbs like mint, rosemary, or lavender! Remember—much of how we perceive taste comes from the way things smell.
Find more LaCroix recipe inspiration here.
Me, A Houseplant
This stunner of a sober cocktail is the creation of Jack Mcgarry, deemed NYC’s most influential bartender. He’s the founder of the famous Dead Rabbit, as well as a drink curator for Listen Bar, NYC’s only alcohol-free drinking establishment.
“Jack knocked it out of the park with an herbaceous, gentle, refreshing drink,” Lorelei Bandrovschi, the bar’s founder, says. “It makes you feel one with the plant kingdom. With an added touch of skullcap from our herbalist, it’s the next best thing to a hug to help you unwind from a long day.”
The drink owes its refreshing profile to ingredients like Seedlip Garden—the world’s first distilled alcohol-free spirit—plus lemon, elderflower, and cucumber.
Image courtesy of Listen Bar
Cocoa with a Twist
Hot chocolate is a must for any cold-weather gathering—but you’re going to make it extra special. To add some flare, dip the rim of each mug in melted chocolate chips. Next, artfully decorate with sprinkles. Finally, put them in the fridge for five minutes to cool.
To veganize things, use dark chocolate chips and coconut cream for the rim. In the glass, use Foragers cashew milk. (Have an office that’s really into superfoods? Froth with reishi and top with cacao nibs! Shoutout to Alina Zolo for that recipe.)
If you want to get really fancy, use Reddi-Whip’s new coconut whipped cream as a garnish. After you spray a healthy dollop in your mouth. Hey, you’re only human.
Find the full recipe here.
Cider, Thyme + Tonic Mocktail
This is perfect for those who want the taste of a cocktail, without the risk of telling your boss what you really think of them. Tickle your tongue with apple cider, fresh-squeezed lemon, and thyme simple syrup (super easy to make—just water, sugar, and some sprigs of fresh thyme). Honestly, your bartender is going to have way more fun making this than a simple gin and tonic.
Get the full recipe, plus more glorious pictures, here.
This concoction is another hit from Brooklyn’s own alcohol-free bar.
The “Actual Sunshine” is a delectable delight of Seedlip Grove, Mango, Turmeric Aloe Pilot Kombucha, and Kin Euphorics. Shoutout to the bartender who created this smile-inducing goodness, Eamon Rockey.
Here’s how Lorelei, Listen Bar’s founder, describes the drink:
“Actual Sunshine was one of the menu superstars from our pop-up. It’s the sweetness of mango meets the zing of kombucha, the citrus in the Seedlip and the floral bitterness of Kin that doubles as a mood-lifting tonic.”
Image courtesy of Listen Bar