The first month of the year is about halfway over and some resolutioners who committed to Dry January may find some of their creative workarounds, well, running dry. Not doing something sounds pretty easy, but we’d still like to spend time with friends, feel less awkward at a blues club with empty hands, and get around town to break up the winter monotony.
These 10 ideas should make it a little easier to get through the month, and you may even enter February with a few new useful habits. Be it a new workout routine, an obsession with the calming magic of CBD, or an unorthodox cleaning ritual, make dry January work for you long after not doing things is over.
Housework with Martha Stewart and Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Austin’s home vodka brand teamed up with homemaker extraordinaire Martha Stewart for a tongue-in-cheek, but useful video on other ways to use vodka at home besides sending it down the hatch. Stewart covers some of it in a video, and Tito’s sent a few more by email: spray it on glass for wipedowns, add a quarter cup to your favorite pie dough to make it flaky, pour it over a windshield to de-ice, and infuse vanilla in it for extract. The brand also donated merch from the partnership and donated proceeds to a number of charities.
Picnik's gluten-, refined sugar-, and peanut-free menu has long been a staple for Austinites looking to eliminate various toxins from their diet, so it's no surprise to find five different zero-proof beverages available on their menu. One new addition is the Golden Hour (pineapple juice, mint, jalapeño, and "spirit dust"). Picnik proves that dietary restrictions don't have to be — well, limiting: Their focus on high-quality ingredients means that everyone can enjoy the meal, whether they're trying to eat healthier or not.
Free Community Fitness and Wellness Classes by Swift Fit Events
Instead of brunch and Bloody Marys, Swift Fit has replaced your weekend routine at no cost. It’s not a studio promotion; Swift Fit is always free, and caters to all levels. These classes could keep someone busy on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, at Republic Square Park, Boggy Creek, and more. In the spirit of Dry January, consider stopping by for yoga at Fareground on Tuesdays, where you can stick around for lunch by one of several food hall-style vendors.
You don't have to stop frequenting your favorite cocktail bars just because you're alcohol-free this month. One of downtown Austin's best cocktail joints is keeping step with your resolutions by offering not one, but three different liquor-free libations, each one designed to replicate the classic cocktail you may or may not be missing. The Na'groni features Monday zero proof gin, Giffard bitter aperitif sirop, Verjus Rouge, gentian tea, caramel, glycerin, salt tincture, and orange oils. The Castaway is a more tropical option, with mint, cucumber, lime juice, cream of coconut, ginger beer, and a sweetgrass tincture. Finally, the fruitier Glitter and Marigold features orange juice, orange flower water, pistachio extract, vanilla bean, cream, and cinnamon powder.
Stephen F's Bar and Terrace
Why not sip your mocktail from one of the most scenic patios in town: Stephen F's Bar and Terrace boasts views along Congress Avenue, located in the historic Stephen F. Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel. And while the views are certainly zero-proof, the menu also features several innovative and delectable alcohol-free concoctions. The Miss Scarlet is a spin on the iconic 'Clue' character, featuring grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, prickly pear syrup, egg white foam, and tonic water. Also refreshing is the The Sandcastle, served with coco reàl, half & half, honey syrup, orange juice, club soda, and garnished with fresh ground black pepper.
True Food Kitchen
Mocktails can be fun, but they can also be overly sweet, expensive stand-ins. True Food Kitchen is working against this type of menu with “house-made refreshers” that aren’t trying too hard in the middle of the day. That includes “Kale Aid”, prickly pear tisane, and apple lemonade until the end of the month. There’s also a permanent tea bar that prepares you to say things like “well, I really like a floral green above a nutty black,” and know you’ve actually prepared for this.
Hopefully, someone has already reminded you that you can go alcohol-free at any time of year, for any length of time — not just 30 days in January. Enter Hank's, where the Glow Juice is a menu mainstay year round. We're not exactly sure what's in the Glow Juice that makes it so delicious: The menu says ginger and turmeric, but there must be a special, secret ingredient that refreshes the soul as well as the body. This drink is the perfect option whenever you just need a break from the boozier (and delicious) options at Hank's, like the frozen palomas, margaritas, and negronis. Jury's out on whether Glow Juice does, in fact, make you glow, but your internal organs will thank you.
Whether you’re looking for mocktails or something to do besides nurse a drink, a new bar on Rainey Street offers both. Electric Shuffle takes shuffleboard to a new, very chic level, with digitized tournaments and an impressive menu regardless of your shuffle prowess. The two cocktails the bar is serving are the Hibiscus No-Jito ($8) with hibiscus ginger beer, simple syrup, lime, and mint; and the Texas Sunset ($8) with pineapple, orange, and lime juice, grenadine, and Topo Chico. Reserve at electricshuffleusa.com.
Even breweries are getting in on the low and non alcoholic offerings, and Meanwhile Brewing Co. has a selection of mocktails for almost every taste. The Gin and Tonic and Rosemary Jam Cordial is made with rosemary and orange marmalade syrup, orange zest infused tonic, zero proof orange bitters, and sparkling Richard’s Rainwater, while the Apple Mulled Nonny is made with cardamom, clove, and all spice syrup, apple peel oleo saccharum, and lightly steeped earl grey tea. But the Hugo (mint and elderflower syrup, lemon soda, and Richard’s Rainwater) seems to be a staff favorite, with Meanwhile’s general manager Trenten Relles describing it as a “bright and citrusy croatian classic come stateside with floral, crisp, and crushables flavors.”
Earlybird CBD infusions around town
If you’re comfortable exchanging one vice for another, CBD can provide a gentle, legal high (if any at all, depending on dosage and sensitivity) with lots of health benefits including reduced anxiety, better sleep, pain relief, and reduced cravings for addictive substances. Earlybird CBD’s full-spectrum infusion (containing all its natural compounds) is available in cocktails at Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, Brew & Brew, Ani’s Day & Night, and Maie Day. It’s also available in cider four-packs by Fairweather Cider Co. Check the store locator at earlybirdcbd.com.