Photos by Ralph Lauer
Taking a vow to go dry in January doesn’t have to be about deprivation. Skipping the booze can mean more energy, better sleep and possible weight loss — without any sacrifice of festivity or flavor in the process. For ideas on crafting lively drinks sans alcohol, we tapped chef Lanny Lancarte, who first introduced Fort Worth to his mocktails in 2007 at the much-missed Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana. Lancarte found his unleaded libations so popular, he added them to the Detox section of his menu when he changed concepts and opened his health-minded Righteous Foods in 2014. When whipping up mocktails for dinner parties at home, he aims for beverages as celebratory as customary bar drinks. And because ritual is a part of any happy hour, he notes, “You can mix, shake and have the experience of making a cocktail.” Incorporating sweet or sour elements derived from fruits and vegetables and sometimes even hooch-free distilled spirits, these sippers truly satisfy — with no regret (or headache) in sight. — June Naylor
Lancarte based this recipe on one of his original mocktails, a digestif using tonic water, juniper berries and rosemary. The “gin” taste comes from Seedlip, a distilled nonalcoholic spirit from England (see sidebar).
Botany of Bubbles
- 2 ounces Seedlip Garden 108
- 4 ounces tonic water, such as Fever Tree
- 6 juniper berries
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 lime, cut into thin wedges
Combine Seedlip and tonic in a glass over ice. Float juniper berries and lime segments in drink. Garnish with rosemary.
At Righteous Foods, Lancarte makes a variety of shrubs — a tart but tasty drinking vinegar— using coconut vinegar, sugar and pureed fresh fruit, from grapefruit to blackberry. You can purchase his varieties in 32-ounce bottles at the restaurant or, for this mocktail, use the grapefruit variety made by Austin-based Liber & Co. that is sold at Central Market and HEB stores.
Texas Grapefruit Shrub
- 2 ounces grapefruit shrub
- 8 ounces sparkling water
- 1 slice Texas pink grapefruit
Combine vinegar and sparkling water in a glass over ice, stirring well. Garnish with citrus slice.