One positive outcome of the pandemic is that the non-alcoholic beverage market skyrocketed in 2020 as people reassessed their relationship with alcohol during and after shutdowns. Food and beverage industry tracker Tastewise reports that searches for non-alcoholic drinks have increased 47% since April 2020, when related search terms hit an all-time high.
The “sober October” and “dry January” trend movements also continue to help increase non-alcoholic drink menus in bars and restaurants, with more people abstaining from alcohol during these months – and after – than ever before.
It got us thinking, what do the drinking establishments in the Northwest Interior have to offer those of us tired of the same old G&T, hold the G? Here is a sample.
Bijou in Browne’s Addition has only around seven people, but the small space is not lacking in character or atmosphere. In addition to bartending and running the business, owners Shelayna and Tyson Skidmore produce their Skidmore Alchemy bitters and syrups to accompany their craft cocktails.
“When we opened Bijou, we wanted to make sure we had options for people who don’t drink alcohol,” says Shelayna. “That is why we have decided to go the tea route and manufacture all of our syrups in-house.”
Shelayna asks non-alcoholic customers what flavors they like, dislike, and how she can make their alcohol-free experience as fun and as neutral as possible.
For me, she makes a butterfly pea flower tea drink with Bijou’s house elderflower and lavender syrups. She finishes it off with a little sparkling water and lemon juice, and garnishes the glass with a piece of lemon zest.
DURKIN’S LIQUEUR BAR
If you like to drink something extraordinary, Durkin’s on West Main should be on your radar. Bartender Blaine McNicol says all of Durkin’s cocktails can be restructured into mocktails.
“We always try to create soft drinks when people ask us to,” he says. “We get clients who ask us all the time, and accommodation is really important.”
Durkin’s current menu features a cocktail called DFLB, usually containing aquavit and vodka, but which becomes non-alcoholic by simply replacing this with pomegranate juice and 7UP. The honey and yogurt in the drink add a creamy texture and tangy punch, making it a unique substitute for the dull tonic water, lime, and ice that typically accompany a night without alcohol.
WILEY DOWNTOWN BISTROT
Wiley’s in downtown Spokane has a daily mocktail at the top of the “alcohol-free” section of its extensive cocktail menu, which is a treat in the alcohol-free world. (Performance matters, folks!)
Of course, we couldn’t go through this list without a representation of the PNW lingonberry, so the Lime & Lingonberry Mocktail at Wiley’s gets a scream. It’s a vibrant purple and puckering your lips, two important factors in any drink.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, the non-alcoholic drinks section also offers ginger beer, flavored iced teas, and hot apple cider, perfect for a fall evening or to accompany dinner. .
HONEY AND SOCIAL CLUB
If you don’t drink, being social in a pub can be intimidating, especially when the name includes the word “social.” Honey Eatery & Social Club in Coeur d’Alene offers three standard house mocktails – here called “virgin cocktails” – on its extensive drink menu for anyone abstaining from alcohol, as well as plenty of hot coffee and tea though. you are looking to warm up before braving the changing weather outside.
The orange popsicle mocktail is a must have if you are a citrus lover. When mixed, it becomes an ice cream concoction that is reminiscent of chasing the ice cream truck as a child, and the whipped cream is an exciting and enjoyable touch.
It would be remiss not to mention the price difference between cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails. It doesn’t matter if you drink Coca-Cola or a specialty mocktail, you’ll pay a lot less than your alcohol-drinking counterparts. Alcohol is expensive, and a big selling point of abstaining from it is the money saved on Friday nights at the bar.
Recently, however, bartenders have been given new tools for creating non-alcoholic cocktails: non-alcoholic spirits. These products have the good (?) Taste of alcohol without the side effects associated with its consumption. But the price of the new spirits comes back to bite, adding that old deduction to the total.
Whether you don’t drink for personal reasons or just can’t stand the taste of alcohol, there’s a whole new world for us sober people in the form of non-alcoholic cocktails that aren’t bad. Don’t be afraid to ask for accommodation, gather your courage and sing your heart out with this mocktail in hand at a karaoke party.