Navigating the social scene this time of year can be a challenge if you don’t drink alcohol. While the merriment looks different this year, options for sober celebrating still seem sparse at first glance.
Sure, you can find apple cider and sparkling grape juice in faux Champagne bottles at your local grocery store, but more and better options exist if you know where to find them.
Whether your sobriety is temporary, a day-by-day commitment or just a running start on dry January, this list has plenty of tempting options to help get you through the holidays.
If you want an actual bottle of bubbly to pop during your at-home or Zoom celebration, you can improve on the grocery store varieties with these.
Sutter Home Winery Fre Alcohol Removed Brut
The wine in this lookalike Champagne bottle, complete with silver foil, has all of the fruity aromas and flavors you expect from Champagne but none of the alcohol.
St. Regis Nosecco
A little lighter and a little fruitier, this dealcoholized take on Italian bubbly prosecco brings citrusy and floral flavors and gets points for its clever name.
You can find both of these and more selections in the non-alcoholic wine section at Total Wine and More locations.
Sparkling Mineral Water and Sparkling Soda
With Topo Chico headquarters in Plano, no one in North Texas should ever want for sparkling water. It’s a Texas favorite, and it’s everywhere. But a couple of other Texas-made beverages might also interest you.
Rambler Sparkling Water
Austin-based Rambler uses only sustainably-sourced water and remineralizes it using Texas limestone filtration. The company also partners with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to help with conservation efforts.
You can find Rambler in cans at grocery stores from Tom Thumb and Albertsons to Foxtrot Market and Royal Blue Grocery.
If you’re getting breakfast, lunch or a grab-and-go charcuterie board from Fount Board and Table, you can add a can (or two) of Rambler to your online order for pickup or delivery.
SoCo Ginger Beer
One of the owners of Austin-based SoCo Ginger Beer lives in the Dallas area, so you can drink local and abstain at the same time.
Ginger beer has no alcohol because it’s not fermented, and it has a great bubbly quality. It also has a similar flavor profile to Champagne, and SoCo’s fun flavors like extra ginger or jalapeño-lime are quite merry and bright.
You can frequently find a SoCo booth in The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market, or pick some up at Eatzi’s, Royal Blue Grocery or Central Market.
Where to Get Great Mocktails
To cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic, some restaurants and bars are paring down their menus. That can make it hard to find special non-alcoholic drinks, but all of these are worth trying.
8061 Walnut Hill Lane, No. 924 (Northeast Dallas)
Along with beers on draft, Civil Pour also pours SoCo Ginger Beer and locally made Holy Kombucha from its taps.
If you need a buzz, you can get it from the shop’s coffee (they brew beans from multiple roasters), or you can order a mocktail, made with tea or coffee instead of juice.
The Shakerado' is a double espresso with simple syrup and orange bitters, served over ice with orange peel and a splash of soda water. The Matcha Man Randy Savage uses matcha from The Cultured Cup, cold-brewed in house, shaken with vanilla syrup and an orange peel, then served over ice.
You might also like a ginger brew, which is half ginger beer and half cold-brewed coffee with a twist of orange peel.
Your mocktail, and a pastry or a sandwich if you want one, can be ordered online for pickup at the shop’s walk-up window.
Fit Juice Bar
2720 Oak Lawn Ave. (Oak Lawn)
Krycel and J.D. Perkins opened Fit Juice Bar last fall, and they’re happily serving an impressive selection of fresh, cold-pressed juices, gourmet smoothies and acai bowls.
While the mocktails — a Mockarita and a Scottish Mockscow Mule, for example — are a little more playful, they’re also made with fresh fruits and juices.
If you’re in the mood for a prosecco substitute, you might enjoy a 12-ounce bottle of TÖST, a sparkling beverage made with blue agave, white tea, cranberry and ginger. Sip some on the patio, or ask for one to-go.
2121 McKinney Ave. (Uptown)
If you’re celebrating on the patio at Fearing's, you can order a drink that sounds absolutely magical. The Serendipity is made with fresh orange juice, mango and club soda with Tajin chili powder.
1628 Oak Lawn Ave., No. 120 (Design District)
Even though they’ve been on the menu for a while, the two mocktails on Pakpao Thai’s dine-in and DoorDash menus seem oddly appropriate for 2020.
The Dragon’s Lair is made with dragon fruit, apple juice and cranberry accented with vanilla and mint, while The Panacea with sweet and sour, mint and elderflower sounds worthy of its name.
If you’re ordering from the online menu for curbside pick-up, you’ll find a generous assortment of handmade lemonades and juices as well as a variety of sparkling waters.
Terry Black’s BBQ
3025 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
It’s not on the menu, but if you’re grabbing some barbecue at Terry Black’s, you can ask for an orange-cranberry mocktail, made just for the holiday season. The fruit juices are mixed with Sprite and a dash of grenadine, then garnished with cranberries and rosemary.
The People’s Last Stand
5319 E. Mockingbird Lane, No. 210 (Mockingbird Station)
Known for delicious craft cocktails, The People’s Last Stand is a great place to go off-menu by asking a bartender to “make me something.” This writer can attest the request works well for mocktails, too.
The bar is also known for its cocktail classes. In the months when the bar was closed, bartender Devyn Crook took the classes virtual.