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Chicago's Avant-Garde Cocktail Den The Aviary Opens in NYC

Chicago's Avant-Garde Cocktail Den The Aviary Opens in NYC


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The best of the Midwest heads East

The Chicago favorite is setting up shop atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City to delight guests with food and beverage creations.

After much anticipation, the experimental cocktail bar from Chicago’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, The Aviary, is set to open The Aviary NYC in New York City atop the Mandarin Oriental, New York. The Aviary has been referred to as "one of the country’s most interesting cocktail pilgrimages," and "an experience, from sense of place to taste, that is achieved with playfulness, authenticity, and even restraint." The Daily Meal even ranked it as the No. 1 bar in America a few years ago.

Its new East Coast location will serve the same kind of mind-blowing beverages as at its Midwest home base. The menu explores a host of cocktails by drinks director Micah Melton, such as the “Wake n Bake,” a rye, coffee and orange infused Vermouth with coffee liquor. The drink is reportedly delivered inside an airtight bag filled with the deep aroma of an everything bagel. But if the avant-garde is not for you, Aviary NYC is also mixing up their versions of classics, such as espresso martinis and micheladas.

The Aviary’s food offerings are just as diverse and inventive as the drink menu. According to Fine Dining Lovers, Thai, Japanese, Italian, and Peruvian flavors are heavily featured in Aviary New York’s dishes. The publication reports that the location will eventually be open all day, serving not only dinner but also a breakfast inspired by creator Achatz’s recent visit to Melbourne.

Interested in The Aviary NYC? You might also want to check out these 8 cutting-edge cocktail bars.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


The Newest Fad at the World’s Best Bars? No-Booze Cocktails.

Pop your head into The Drug Store, a pop-up bar just north of Manhattan&rsquos Little Italy, and you&rsquoll be met with the typical day-drinking crowd: women in their 20s and 30s in head-to-toe athleisure wear and 40-something guys with tousled hair and vintage T-shirts, all bending straws and elbows inside a sunlit space.

Behind the bar, a smartly dressed bartender muscles out a series of colorful concoctions that smell of fresh herbs and citrus, bobbing his head to Kendrick Lamar. And the design screams boozy Manhattan brunch spot throughout, with its white subway-tiled walls, vintage neon sign and old-school iron and glass doors.

But a few steps in, you&rsquoll notice that something&rsquos off. Instead of liquor bottles, the back bar is lined with citrus, the well crowded with tinctures, tonics, extracts and teas, and there&rsquos soda water &mdash not beer &mdash dripping from the shiny taps.

Nary a drop of booze in sight.

&ldquoPeople want to be out, be social, listening to good music and drinking something, but they don&rsquot always want alcohol,&rdquo says Zak Normandin, this curious cocktail den&rsquos co-creator (and co-founder of the healthy beverage company Dirty Lemon). &ldquoWhen you look at what’s in our products, it’s a lot of ingredients craft cocktail bars are using, so making a more experiential version of our beverages just came naturally for us.&rdquo

We know what you&rsquore thinking: &ldquoBooze-free cocktails? That&rsquos a contradiction in terms. Also: No.&rdquo

But The Drug Store isn&rsquot some hippie juice bar. It&rsquos the real deal, complete with seasoned bartenders and a skillfully crafted menu incorporating many of the components you&rsquod see at Death & Co., Employee&rsquos Only, Lost Lake and other award-winning bars, just minus the liquor &hellip which, maybe surprisingly, doesn&rsquot have to mean the drinks are boring. Normandin&rsquos mocktails range from Detox, a jet black mix of lemon, ginger, dandelion root and activated charcoal, to the delicate Rose Lemonade, made with lemon, Bulgarian rose water, chamomile and fragrant orange blossom honey.

&ldquoIt’s really a new category &mdash I wouldn’t put this in the kombucha category. I wouldn’t put it in the juice category,&rdquo Normandin continues. &ldquoWe’re taking herbs and botanicals that are very common in the naturopathic community and the bar community, and we’re blending them in a way that’s approachable. And people seem to love it. You should have seen our opening night party &mdash we were totally slammed.&rdquo

The Drug Store may be a temporary venture for Normandin, but it&rsquos not without precedent. Mike Kirlan, the beverage director at Next Door American Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar chain from the sustainability-minded Kitchen Restaurant Group, has been experimenting with non-alcoholic (or &ldquoZero-Proof,&rdquo as he calls them) cocktails for years. Next Door’s even devoted an entire menu section to these tipple-less tipples, citing his clientele’s interest in cleaner living, their mass appeal and his staff&rsquos affinity for them as motivating factors.

&ldquoOur goal was to offer guests a non-alcohol alternative that was healthier than soda and more appealing than simple iced tea,&rdquo he says, naming his Strawberry-Lemon Fizz (strawberry puree, agave and lemon, topped with soda water) and a crisp take on a Lime Rickey among his top sellers. &ldquoIt’s fun for our bartenders to create something new, and when they nail it, there’s such widespread appeal across all ages. It’s also gratifying to be able to create something that’s good for guests.&rdquo

According Ben Branson, creator of the just-launched &ldquoworld&rsquos first distilled non-alcoholic spirit&rdquo Seedlip, the market for booze-free alternatives to quality cocktails is an increasingly thirsty one. He recently launched his no-booze spirit in the liquor section of a popular U.K. department store. It&rsquos also on the menu in such lauded bars as Chicago&rsquos The Aviary, New York&rsquos Eleven Madison Park and perennial &ldquoWorld&rsquos Best Bar&rdquo The Dead Rabbit (also in Manhattan).

&ldquoA thousand bottles sold out in three weeks, and then the next thousand sold out in three days,&rdquo Branson tells me over mock gin and tonics at Tales of the Cocktail, the jam-packed spirits convention held each year in New Orleans. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoShit, I need to take my cell number off the website, because this is getting crazy.&rsquo&rdquo

Seedlip is basically distilled liquid steeped with fresh botanicals, much like gin. Unlike a traditional spirit, the liquid he uses hasn&rsquot undergone primary fermentation, and thus doesn&rsquot turn into concentrated alcohol when put through a still. The end result is a distillate with all the aromas, flavors and mouthfeel you&rsquod expect in an herbal liqueur, but without the mind-altering burn. It works beautifully with tonic and shrubs, as well as in classics like sours and martinis. Branson sees his product&rsquos success as indicative of a cultural shift away from mindless binge drinking and toward a more refined, intentional philosophy.

&ldquoI think we’ve hit the right time. For younger people, especially, the role alcohol plays in their lives is changing. It’s not the same priority that it once was,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoIn the U.K., pubs are closing at the rate of 15-20 per week, but casual dining and neighborhood restaurants are seeing crazy growth. People are willing to drink less and spend more.&rdquo

For Branson, Seedlip wasn&rsquot just a business opportunity. He&rsquos never really been a drinker, so he&rsquos all too familiar with the woes of trying to find a non-alcoholic beverage that can hold up to a spiked one.

&ldquoAround the time I was mucking around at home with distillation, I went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant in London &mdash great food menu, amazing cocktails,&rdquo he recalls. &ldquoI asked the waitress, &lsquoWhat have you got that’s non-alcoholic?&rsquo She just looked sad. I was like, &lsquoYou’re not excited about this, and I’m definitely not excited about what I’m choosing.&rsquo All we want is for people to be able to get a good grown-up drink if they’re not drinking. That’s all we’re asking, to just balance the scales.&rdquo

If you think this trend is AA-goers only, think again. Like Normandin, Branson views his target market as populated not only by sober folks, but also by people looking to avoid sugar or anyone who wants a night off from the sauce. And he&rsquos dedicated to appealing to drinkers.

&ldquoOpen up the menu at the Ritz in London and you’ve got a low-alcohol section and a no-alcohol section, and we’re in both,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe’re not on some crusade, like, &lsquoEveryone stop drinking!&rsquo We’re more like, &lsquoEveryone keep on drinking, and when you’re not drinking or feel like drinking less, try this.&rsquo&rdquo

Lauded as the godfather of the L.A. cocktail scene, barman Vincenzo Marianella designed the non-alcoholic menu at The Independence and currently heads up the bar program at Copa D&rsquoOro, both located in Santa Monica. When coming up with recipes, Marianella relies on his extensive cocktail knowledge for each creation.

&ldquoI love cocktails, with or without alcohol. I like the different layers of flavors and how they combine,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoI like to look at what&rsquos in season and base non-alcoholic drinks around those ingredients &mdash quality ingredients and balanced proportions are key to the perfect NA cocktail. They&rsquore most popular during lunch or brunch, so I make them light and refreshing to complement the dishes.&rdquo

This article was featured in theInsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.


Watch the video: Sultry Cocktails at Chicagos Underground Bar