The 10 Best Mocktails in NYC
After a month-long bender through unending holiday parties that culminated in a blow-out year-end fete, you might feel like January is the longest hangover -- ever. Luckily, in the city where debauchery seeps well beyond December and into the other 11 months of the year, NYC bartenders have caught on to the occasionally required break from booze and are proving it by way of inventive, alcohol-free creations. Call them what you will -- mocktails, soft cocktails, prohibition-style sippers -- just don't confuse "sans alcohol" with "sans skill." With one less ingredient (a big, beloved one at that) at play, barkeeps are required to get extra savvy in building complexity and balance for these 0 percent ABV concoctions. Here, we present 10 reasons -- all at $9 or less -- to keep just one of this month's health-conscious resolutions.
French Vanilla Soda at Center Bar
10. The Ginger Remedy, The John Dory Oyster Bar, 1196 Broadway, 212-792-9000
Ginger Remedy at John Dory Oyster Bar
Sasha Petraske helms the beverage program at this Ace Hotel corner spot tenant, whose "afternoon drinks" selection credits the classics, including a ginless mule and afternoon rickey in dry form. Even the vaguely medicinal hot toddy gets bonus health cred in the ginger remedy, a honey-potent mug of ginger, lemon, and star anise -- complete with a cinnamon stick swizzle.
9. French Vanilla Soda, Center Bar, 10 Columbus Circle, Fourth Floor, 212-823-9482
If you need a fourth floor shopping break at the Time Warner Building (and you're not willing or able to splurge at Masa or Per Se), head to Center Bar. The drinks menu is smartly divided by notable booze eras, and the "prohibition" section is where you can find the law-abider's libations. A sip of the French vanilla soda, a Collins glass of energetically carbonated Chamomile-steeped simple syrup and vanilla extract, is like a low calorie root beer float.
8. Cosmonot, Gramercy Tavern, 42 East 20th Street, 212-477-0777
The Cosmonot at Gramercy Tavern
Danny Meyer's fawned over social hub has been gaining lifelong followers -- locals and tourists alike -- since its 1994 opening, and the answer may lie in the meticulous but unpretentious details. Take, for example, the Cosmonot: an all-ages shaken martini made of pinot noir juice, grenadine, and a piercing trio of citrus. Our guess is that the minimal liquid-to-rim gap is on purpose, and in your -- and your white-donning date's -- best interest.