There are delicious nonalcoholic drinks out there for those who don’t indulge

Credit: Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dry January has become a contemporary tradition of post-holiday recovery. As a result, January also has become the month that we — as restaurant, bar and shop owners — think and talk about what we can offer our customers who are refraining from alcohol, but still are seeking a delicious drink.

With the movement toward more mindful drinking expanding over the past decade, the spirit-free cocktail game has grown strong in Atlanta. But, frankly, when we’re relaxing with a drink at home, we prefer to keep the preparation super simple, whether alcohol is involved or not.

At this point, some have abandoned their self-imposed challenge of monthlong sobriety, while others have discovered that they prefer being alcohol-free. Either way, we feel it is important to talk about quality drinks that you can explore when alcohol isn’t on the agenda; some don’t require much effort at all.

Here are some of our favorite products for those who are cutting down on, or cutting out, alcohol.

dBird sparkling wines: A very recent addition to the Atlanta market, Swedish-based Oddbird produces some of the highest quality nonalcoholic wines we’ve encountered, particularly its sparkling varieties, produced from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France. White and rosé options are available, and both are balanced, have elegant bubbles and are fruity without being too sweet. OddBird uses traditional winemaking methods, and even allows the wine to mature for 12 months until it is dealcoholized.

Wilfred’s aperitif: The perfect partner for the Oddbird bubbles is Wilfred’s, made with an all-natural botanical combination of bitter orange, rhubarb and rosemary. This British import is a surprisingly good fill-in for Campari or Aperol. Add 1.5 ounces to a glass of sparkling Oddbird over ice, and you’ve got a spritz to satisfy even the pickiest drinkers in your circle.

Leitz Zero Point Five pinot noir: The Leitz family has been making wine in the Rheingau region of Germany since the 18th century, and they pay just as much attention to their dealcoholized wines as they do with their regular wines. A spinning cone column is used to extract the alcohol, with very low pressure and temperature. That helps maintain the more delicate flavors in the wine, which the heating method of dealcoholization can destroy. This is a versatile red to keep around, for when the craving for a glass of dry wine comes along while you’re staying dry.

Ghia: This Los Angeles-based company uses riesling grape juice and a boatload of bitter, bright and spicy botanicals to produce a nonalcoholic aperitif, as well as a line of ready-made spritzers. Ghia’s aperitif should be a hit if you’re craving something bittersweet and fresh. Among the company’s three Le Spritz offerings, the lime and salt has a savory citrus character akin to a margarita. Best of all, the compact, perfectly portioned cans are ideal for traveling.

The Slaters are beverage industry veterans and the proprietors of the Expat, Slater’s Steakhouse and the Lark Winespace in Athens.

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