According to CGA, a company that researches the food and drinks market, the number of Dry January participants grows every year. In 2022 the numbers grew to 35%, beating the previous year’s high of 21%. Sober bars are on the rise and wellness drinks are one of the top trends for 2023. Join the sober movement—it just might inspire you to drink less for the rest of 2023 and come up with alternative ways to have fun. Use our Dry January inspiration to get you started.
Date Night at the Museum
Get to know your potential soulmate as you walk around a museum and discuss 5,000 years of art and culture. Depending on the mood, our go-to night at the museum consists of going to either the MET or Fotografiska. Fridays and Saturdays the MET offers musical events, and one night we even found ourselves enjoying a magic show. All events are free with your museum admission so all you have to do is show up and get into creating a memorable date experience. Fotografiska, New York’s photography museum, is housed inside a 45,000-square-foot Renaissance Revival landmark. The unique building alone is worth your visit. Besides exhibits, and late hours, the museum offers a variety of unique events. This is the place to mingle with the creative crowd, meet and greet your favorite artists, and you can even plan a dinner at Veronika. We think first date at the museum makes for a much better “how we met” story.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave (spans 81st through 84th St)
Fotografiska, 281 Park Ave S (betw 21st/22nd St)
Try a Sober Bar
While we see quite a few pop up sober bars around, we recommend you visit our favorite permanent spot, Hekate in the East Village. This bar and cafe caters to a colorful crowd of poets, tarot card readers, musicians, and pretty much anyone who enjoys socializing without the hangover. Hekate owner, Abby Ehmann (who also happens to own Lucky nearby) believes that booze should not be the only reason for socializing. Abby has opened the space up for events of all kinds. The East Village entrepreneur wanted to create a space for people to come and be themselves. On any night of the week you might find yourself enjoying a poetry reading, live music, or a tasting of non-alcoholic spirits. On one side of the bar is a cabinet of retail curiosities, where you can shop for fun jewelry or herbal tinctures and teas. On the other Bar Hekate serves special elixirs, mocktails, zero ABV beers and custom teas. If you are a sober bar regular, this is where you can find all your favorites: Three Spirits, Lyre’s and Everleaf, and you might even discover some new ones. See more photos in our review here.
Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge, 167 Avenue B (betw 10th/11th St)
See Your City
Taking in New York City views is not just for tourists. The Summit at One Vanderbilt and Edge at Hudson Yards have shown us that New Yorkers can still be surprised and wowed by their own city. We are huge fans of The Summit as it allows you to see your city from a new perspective and live in the moment. Summit One Vanderbilt, in collaboration with artist Kenzo Digital, aims to impress even the most jaded New Yorker. It is an immersive multi-sensory and multi-floor experience that can help you decompress. First, there is a dramatic elevator ride, whisking you up to the 91st floor. Stepping onto the annealed glass, you feel like there is no bottom and you might be levitating. There is a sense of relief, excitement, a bit of fear (if you happen to be afraid of heights), but the breathtaking views make this a pleasant reward. Stay a while. Make sure to stop by the room filled with round silver balloons. The dreamlike room invites an emotional response, and you are invited to play. You will feel like a kid again. This permanent installation offers a point of view along with bird’s-eye-views of the city, which include all the classics: Empire State Building, Bryant park, Central Park, George Washington Bridge and the Chrysler Building.
The Summit, 45 E 42nd St (corner Vanderbilt Ave)
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill is always a thrill. Impress your house guests with a refreshing non-alcoholic recipe. For this one we turned to Mixologist Karl Franz Williams. The Caribbean-American mixologist is no stranger to innovation. He has parlayed a family recipe, into a delicious non-alcoholic small batch ginger beer, called Uncle Waithley’s. He also happens to be the owner of Harlem’s 67 Orange Street and New Haven’s Anchor Spa. Fans of ginger beer will love his Caribbean recipe, one that you can use to make specialty cocktails at home. When it comes to perfecting your at-home mixology skills, he recommends you purchase a hand citrus press. He says, “The essential tool is a hand citrus press (or a good citrus juicer). It is the one tool you must have for making mocktails. Ingredients really matter when you are making cocktails as there is no room for error. So the freshest juice is best.”
Karl’s Dry Jan “Gin” Cocktail
MAKE THE ORANGE BLOSSOM HONEY SYRUP
1:1 blend of honey to water
orange blossom water (to taste)
Combine equal parts hot water and honey, give it a good stir or shake to combine it. Add orange blossom water to taste. (A small amount of orange blossom goes a long way, so use sparingly. Peel an orange, and twist the peel over the mix to add the oils.
MAKE THE COCKTAIL
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz Orange Blossom Honey Syrup
4 dashes Hella Bitters Eucalyptus Bitters
4 drops rice vinegar
small sprig of rosemary
3-4 oz Uncle Waithley’s Vincy Brew
Shake all ingredients except Uncle Waithley’s Vincy Brew and sage. Strain in rocks glass with ice. Finish with UW. Garnish with Sage.
Fine-Dining, But Make It Healthy
Going out to eat often means pairing your dinner with wine or cocktails. When asking for a mocktail you often end up innovating your own drink on the spot, or having to go with your mixologist’s instincts. This usually results in a sugary or very expensive drink that you never wanted in the first place. In order to avoid this, choose a place with an excellent non-alcoholic cocktail menu. In addition to now serving a plant-based menu, Eleven Madison Park has an enticing non-alcoholic drinks menu. This is a place where mocktails are no trend, they offer them all year round. “I really believe that people should have good options for non-alcoholic drinks that don’t just have lots of added sugar,” says the restaurant’s Beverage Director, Sebastian Tollius. Seen above, Pear with Cardamom & Mint. photo by Yè Fan
The current NA cocktail menu features five different drinks, each developed for its flavor, body, and complexity, and they continue to add new and creative items. The restaurant can even help you figure out how to drink mocktails at home. Their Dry January collection set is a box filled with all the tools you need to make their recipes at home.
On the Winter menu at Eleven Madison Park, a focus on crisp daikon radish and kohlrabi, alongside potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, beets, and alliums, prepared in a variety of ways. Seen in the photo is the Radish Celebration, which features a daikon radish salad with sea fennel, radish tea with young coconut and lime leaf, and black radish dumplings with lemongrass and bamboo. photo by Evan Sung
Eleven Madison Park, 11 Madison Ave (betw 24th/25th St)