Food & Drink

Three Alcohol-Free Cocktails to Raise Your Spirits

Just don’t call them mocktails

Two icy pink drinks in ornate glassware sit on a silver platter. There are flowers, vines, and pink tiles behind the drinks.

Photo: Rhonda Withers

Christa Cotton's sour cherry and ginger spritz.

You likely know someone who is giving Dry January a go this month. Perhaps that someone is even you. As part of this trend, imbibers eschew alcohol for the first four weeks of the year—or at least cut back in a more forgiving version dubbed Damp January.

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One might assume that the Dry January concept alarms those who make a living in the adult-beverage biz. That’s not the case for Christa Cotton, CEO of the New Orleans–based El Guapo line of cocktail bitters and originator of cocktails for hospitality clients across the country. “People are just trying to start off the year more healthily and thoughtfully after maybe going a bit wild over the holiday season,” she says. “The number of alcohol-free customers is on the rise in general, and more bars and restaurants are open to curating an innovative, elevated list of spiritless cocktails. Adults don’t want a Shirley Temple.”

Cotton never calls these zero-proof libations “mocktails,” a term she and many of her fellow mixologists find juvenile. During Dry January and beyond, she is inspired to create spiritless sippers so delicious and satisfying that drinkers won’t miss the booze. Even if you haven’t signed on for a month-long detox, the three below are worth mixing up.

Sour Cherry and Ginger Spritz

1 cocktail

Two icy pink drinks in ornate glassware sit on a silver platter.


    • 1 oz. sour cherry juice

    • Dash fresh lime juice

    • ½ oz. ginger syrup (such as El Guapo)

    • 1 oz. kombucha

    • Club soda


  1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine juices and syrup and shake until well chilled. Strain into a lowball glass over fresh ice and top with kombucha and club soda.

  2. Photo: Rhonda Withers

NA Old Fashioned

1 cocktail

An old fashioned cocktail with a cinnamon stick sits on a wooden circle surrounded by walnuts


    • ¼ oz. simple syrup

    • 4 dashes El Guapo Chicory Pecan Bitters, or any non-alcoholic bitters

    • 2 oz. non-alcoholic bourbon spirit (such as Spiritless or Ritual)

    • Cinnamon stick, for garnish


  1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, add syrup, bitters, and non-alcoholic bourbon. Stir until well chilled and strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

  2. Photo: Jessica Gutierrez-Switaj

NA Disco Punch

12 6-oz. servings

A pink drink in a sugar-rimmed glass, garnished with a slice of starfruit.


    • 4 cups strawberry lemonade

    • 2½ cups guava nectar

    • 6 oz. ginger syrup

    • 4 oz. fresh lime juice

    • 4 oz. pomegranate juice

    • 12 oz. can sparkling water (grapefruit if available, but any flavor works)

    • 4 oz. non-alcoholic bitters

    • 2 star fruit, sliced ¼-inch thick, for garnish


  1. Pre-chill ingredients. Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a large pitcher. Stir well to mix, then pour into a punch bowl. Top with soda and stir again before serving over cups of ice garnished with star fruit slices.

  2. Photo: Jessica Gutierrez-Switaj