January is the month when everyone's writing down their New Year's resolutions with the hopes of improving their life in one way or another. While some people want to lose weight, lower their high blood pressure, or even reduce their caffeine intake, more people are working to lower their alcohol consumption. That's where dry January comes in.

Dry January is a month-long sobriety challenge that asks people to take a step back to assess their usual drinking habits as a way to stop drinking alcohol. For people with a lower alcohol intake, they'll simply give up their weekly wine glass or other alcohol for a month. Dry January for other types of drinkers might be a bit harder due to their relationship with alcohol and the overall social experience of drinking alcohol at a bar.

Every bar obviously wants their patrons to feel safe and responsibly enjoy their time at their business. Thankfully, including zero-proof cocktails in your bar menu means you won't need to worry about excluding sober curious patrons during Dry January. Below, you'll find some tips about non-alcoholic cocktails and even some drink recipes you can add to the drink menu in your bar POS system—so dry January participants aren't stuck in the corner, sipping on sparkling water.

Jump straight to the 5 Dry January drink recipes

Dry January origin and health benefits

Dry January doctor with a stethoscope for good health.
Studies show there are medical benefits to abstaining from alcohol, even temporarily. Photo by Online Marketing / Unsplash

Dry January was first popularized in 2012 as a public health initiative by Alcohol Change UK, a British charity aiming to reduce alcohol abuse and alcoholism. According to Alcohol Change UK, people who start the dry January challenge see immediate health benefits like better sleep and more energy throughout the entire day. Given that multiple studies have shown that binge drinking four or more drinks will result in brain and heart damage over time, Harvard Medical School also points out that long-term heavy drinking is related to a weaker immune system, cancer-related growth factors, and alcohol-related liver diseases.

Thankfully, Alcohol Change UK reports that even a brief break from alcohol consumption resulted in decent weight loss. Of course, dry January participants who continue to stay "dry" after the month-long sobriety challenge have continually lost weight and felt an improvement in their day-to-day activities as well.

Is your bar menu mocktail ready?

Red neon sign with a mocktail in a patron hand.
More mocktail drinks are becoming popular bar menu items. Photo by Marcus Loke / Unsplash

Thanks to a growing expectation for bars to serve drinks without alcohol, mocktails and zero-proof cocktails are becoming a popular way to appeal to the sober curious crowd. These delicious drinks are crafted to be flavorful and booze-free, all while keeping a flavor profile that goes beyond the usual sloppy blend of whatever ingredients are near the bar counter.

While some patrons might glance over these drinks, try creating a simple happy hour mocktail menu beyond your typical happy hour for regular alcoholic drinks. These little gestures show you're ready to help patrons have a successful dry January, all while tempting other patrons to break away from their usual drinking habits and participate in dry January. Do you have an angel shot system?

Do you have an angel shot system?

Bathroom neon sign in a bar.
Bathrooms are a popular place to hang angel shot signs. Photo by Alexandra Tran / Unsplash

Since your bar offers all sorts of non-alcoholic beverages for the sober curious, you can ensure some more safety by creating an angel shot system. Contrary to its name, an angel shot is not an actual alcoholic beverage that anyone can order as a drink. An angel shot is a unique code that bars implement so patrons can "order" for their own safety. When a patron orders an angel shot, the bar staff should respond with the right safety protocols, such as calling a cab or escorting the patron to their vehicle.

In particular, angel shots are meant to ensure more women will feel safe in social situations where another patron is not respecting their boundaries. By placing discreet signs in areas like the restroom, guests appreciate knowing that the bar is invested in their health and safety beyond the quality of the drinks you serve.

5 dry January drinks for any bar menu

Empty bar with fancy neon lighting.
Let your bar become the perfect spot for dry January. Photo by Nelson Ndongala / Unsplash

Most people roll their eyes at the idea of a non-alcoholic beverage since they've been told these drinks are only a simple yet flavorless alternative to actual alcohol. However, when you include some amazing zero-proof cocktails on your bar menu, you'll be one step closer to convincing skeptics to put down that drink with more alcohol than actual flavor. And since more beverage brands are embracing non-alcoholic options, the drinking experience is about to have a serious update. With these five zero-proof cocktail ideas and recipes, you'll be introducing a whole new range of classics for your bar for dry January and the rest of the year as well. As always, feel free to experiment to create your own variations as well.

1. Phony Negroni

Close up of a virgin Negroni on a napkin.
The Negroni will always feel like a fancy drink, even without any booze. Photo by Allan Francis / Unsplash

The Negroni is a famously sweet yet smooth cocktail loved by many, including Anthony Bourdain, making it the perfect drink to include on your bar menu as a non-alcoholic option. Simply mix in non-alcoholic gin and blended aperitif with your preferred bitters and garnish with a slice of orange peel. Some zero-proof cocktail websites also sell the phony Negroni ingredients as a bundle. If prepared correctly, this booze-free drink is guaranteed to make any patron feel guilty for enjoying it.

2. Mojito mocktail

Clear cup with mocktail Mojito and lemon lime.
The Mojito mocktail is a simple yet delicious mix for any holiday event. Photo by Mae Mu / Unsplash

Mojitos will always be a fun and simple drink for anyone with a sweet tooth. While this drink is popular during the summer, a mojito mocktail will still bring a much-deserved tropical feeling to your bar this dry January. Just mix up some crushed mint leaves with simple syrup and lime juice, then a lemon peel for extra flavor, and you'll have the perfect mojito mocktail to satisfy the taste buds. A splash of kombucha will also add a healthy note to the mojito. Just remember to use the freshest ingredients to keep the liquid calories low and make the flavors shine the most.

3. Non-alcoholic sparkling wine

Clear wine glass with sparkling non-alcoholic wine popular during dry January.
Pouring any type of sparkling drink is a feast for the eyes. Photo by Aleisha Kalina / Unsplash

Patrons will always see wine as a classy drink they can sip as they converse with others. So when they see that your bar has several non-alcoholic wine options, including sparkling wines, there's a good chance they'll check the drink out simply for the flavor of it all. Depending on the type of restaurant, you can serve non-alcoholic sparkling wines from a can or from a bottle. To add some more variety to your non-alcoholic wines, sprinkle in some wintry flavors like sugared cranberries or even a candy cane.

4. Spiced apple cider hot toddy

White ceramic mug with special hot toddy flavor for the January cold.
A hot toddy can come in many flavors, depending on your own creativity! Photo by American Heritage Chocolate / Unsplash

On top of being the perfect drink for the cold and flu season, a non-alcoholic hot toddy is great for boosting energy levels and keeping patrons warm during those colder months. However, without alcohol, a hot toddy would seem like an overpriced cup of tea. That's why you should brew up some hot cider to include in a hot toddy to make this classic drink feel more like a dessert as well. Just like with the sparkling wines, throw in some extra flavorings to capture that wintry spirit. Cinnamon sticks, licorice, candy canes, anything sweet to bring out the sweet flavorings in your spiced apple cider hot toddy. You can also try serving the spiced apple cider hot toddy with a little biscuit or cookie on the side to keep up that dessert flavor.

5. Ginger beer + any fruit juice + bitters

Lemon and lime juices with spices in a mocktail glass.
Ginger is a powerful flavor to stand out in any drink. Photo by Caglar Araz / Unsplash

Ginger beer is an underrated bar classic that most patrons love thanks to its tangy flavor and carbonation. Of course, you can always pour ginger beer into a cup of ice, but you're missing out if you don't mix things up a bit further by adding some nuanced flavors as well. Get some unique juice flavors like beet juice or yuzu juice. Smoked bitters are also a game-changer since they'll add a flavor profile that isn't typically found in many zero-proof cocktails. Again, experimentation will be your best friend for this one.

Don't forget about your bar point-of-sale system

SpotOn point-of-sale system on a bar counter with different drinks in the background.
A strong point-of-sale system in your bar is a vital aspect of making patrons feel welcome.

Now that you've got a fun medley of zero-proof cocktails to serve on dry January, make sure you stay ahead of the crowd by using the right tech in your bar. With SpotOn's point-of-sale system for bars and nightclubs, you get the exact tools needed to speed up services for guests, all while saving time and money in your day-to-day operations. Thanks to instant reports on all your sales data, review management, easy labor scheduling, and even a digital waitlist integration for your point-of-sale system, you won't need to worry if guests are satisfied with their drink. And since SpotOn's been built by hospitality professionals who know what it's like to work overtime on a Saturday night, you can rest assured that your point-of-sale system will work the way you work.

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