Just because you’re abstaining from alcohol for Dry January (or all the time) doesn’t mean you have to nurse a lemon water all night.
The title of “fun drink” isn’t limited to all the boozy beverages out there, and there’s no reason you should miss out on your own alcohol-free mixy or IPA substitute.
Whether you’re looking to party, meet up with friends or just kick back after the workday, give your palate a break from flavored club sodas on ice and check out these local dining spots bringing a dash of creativity to the Dry January menu.
Iron Hill Brewery, various locations
If you have yet to jump on the hop water trend, Iron Hill Brewery has a house-made version that’s sure to put you on to the latest craze in alcohol alternatives.
Hop water is carbonated water infused with the flavoring of hops, green con-shaped flowers called “inflorescence.” Unlike beer, hop water is brewed without grains and contains a small amount of yeast.
Iron Hill originally hopped on this trend when their CEO, who doesn’t drink alcohol, challenged the staff with creating a nonalcoholic beverage for guests, leading to Iron Hill’s limited-edition release of hop water for the month of January.
Their original hop water flavor has a pungent citrus, fruity aroma and the characteristic juicy hops taste. The drink is not sweet or bitter.
Iron Hill also serves the Hopito, a mojito mocktail made with a hop water base. And the brewery offers the Raspberry-Lime, Peach Tea and Blackberry-Lemon options that come with various fruit purées and juices.
Although the hop water is a limited run, it could become a menu staple if patrons take a liking to it.
Iron Hill Brewery has Delaware locations in Newark, Rehoboth Beach and Wilmington; www.ironhillbrewery.com.
Eclipse Bistro, Wilmington
Eclipse Bistro (formerly known as Eclipse Restaurant) opened in the fall of 1996 with the mission of offering simple, honest and skillfully executed food. Since then, Eclipse has spread that attitude to its nonalcoholic beverage selection, as more and more patrons seek out mocktail options.
Eclipse’s newest mocktail is the Spill the Tea. It has a green tea base that is mixed with agave, lime, vanilla extract, blood orange and egg white.
Other no-buzz cocktails currently offered are the Bittersweet Sympathy, made with Dhos nonalcoholic aperitif, grapefruit, lime and agave, and the That’s My Jam, made with blueberry syrup, mint, honey and ginger beer.
If cocktails aren’t your speed, Eclipse also has a handful of alcohol-free wines and craft beer alternatives.
1020 N. Union St., Wilmington, (302) 658-1588;www.eclipsebistro.com.
Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen, various locations
The Strawberry Basil Aide mixes muddled strawberries with lemon, basil, orange, lemonade and club soda.
The Berry Blast similarly blends muddled raspberries with blueberries, a simple syrup and club soda.
The Peach Guava Tea features brewed iced tea, peach and guava nectar.
Grain has locations across the state, and in Pennsylvania, and these mocktails are available at each location.
Grain has locations in Bear, Lewes, Newark and Wilmington’s Trolley Square;meetatgrain.com.
Harbour Restaurant, Lewes
Harbour Restaurant at Canal Square in Lewes has a mocktail menu loaded with nonalcoholic cocktails, beers and wines.
The Avant Garden takes its inspiration from gin & tonics and is made with Seedlip Garden 108 and Fever Tree cucumber tonic.
Float On is a gimlet rendition made with Aplos, a hemp-infused nonalcoholic spirit, Seedlip Garden 108, lime and ginger infusion.
The Dry Tai features Seedlip Spice 94, Dhos nonalcoholic triple sec, lime, orgeat almond syrup and simple syrup.
The Couldn’t Be Bitter Aperol spritz is not currently on Harbour’s menu but it can be made upon request. This drink includes Dhos bitters, Seedlip Grove 42, simple syrup and club soda.
As for nonalcoholic beer options, Habour carries a Dogfish Head Lemon Quest NA Wheat Brew, Untitled Art Chocolate Milk Stout, Guiness “0” and more. Nonalcoholic wines include Chios, a rosemary, kiwi, gyokuro tea and green apple blend, and Sunbeam, a mango, pineapple, lime, amchur and chili blend.
134 W. Market St., Lewes, (302) 200-9522;harbourlewes.com.
Le Cavalier, Wilmington
Hotel DuPont’s Le Cavalier in Wilmington serves a few mocktails that are just as tasty as the rest of their French cuisine-studded menu.
The Ginger Highball combines ginger shrub with cucumber, sparkling water and ginger beer. The Chamomile Spritz is a lighter drink made with chamomile syrup, thyme, tonic syrup, lemon and sparkling water.
These cocktails are menu staples and are available anytime.
42 W. 11th St., Wilmington, (302) 594-3154; lecavalierde.com.
The Sugar Factory, Dover Downs
The Sugar Factory at Dover Downs is known for its extravagant cocktails, and most of those offerings can be made nonalcoholic upon request. And don’t worry, they’re still as over-the-top without the extra kick of alcohol.
The West Coast Sunset, designed by Kendall Jenner, is a fan-favorite drink that’s a twist on a classic: Grand Marnier, peach and orange are blended together and topped off with crisp lemonade and a grenadine floater. The drink is garnished with orange wheels and gummy flamingoes. The nonalcoholic version comes without Grand Marnier.
Other popular mocktails include the Watermelon Patch; the Candy Shop, designed by rapper 50 Cent; and the Twisted Heart Peach Lemonade, designed by comedian Kevin Hart.
50 Cent’s sweet and smoking Candy Shop uses peaches, pineapple juice and orange juice and is topped with gummy peach slices, peach rings and gummy soda bottles, a concoction bound to leave you feeling like it’s your birthday.
The Watermelon Patch uses a blend of watermelon, lemon and citrus soda and is topped with a mountain of gummy sour watermelon slices.
The Twisted Hart Peach Lemonade is made with peaches and homemade lemonade. It is garnished with twisted unicorn lollipop straws and peach hearts.
1131 N. Du Pont Highway, Dover, (302) 857-3252; sugarfactory.com/location/dover-downs.
Home Grown Café, Newark
Home Grown Café on Newark’s Main Street has expanded its signature inclusive offerings to the drink menu.
The Ginger Fox is made with Earl grey tea; ginger simple syrup; lemon juice; egg white; and Seedlip Spice 94, a warm blend of allspice and cardamom with fresh citrus and a long bitter finish.
The Feel Good features Seedlip Spice 94, elderberry syrup and Baba’s Brew Purple Rain kombucha.
Home Grown also offers locally brewed kombucha each season.
126 E. Main St., Newark, (302) 266-6993;homegrowncafe.com.