January and February should be renamed “National Drying Out Months.” After our bacchanalia of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s feasts and festivities, and the sugar-coated Valentine’s Day, our waist lines are bulging and our livers exhausted. But drying out (or drying up just a smidge) doesn’t mean we can’t still have a little fun.
Instead, look to cocktails with ingredients such as sherry, wines with an ABV of 12 percent or below, and beers at 5 percent and below for equal enjoyment with a reduced alcohol punch. Here are some of the city’s best examples of low and no alcohol drinks to keep our spirits up and our bodies reenergized:
Baja Tropical, Polite Provisions
Trade out liquor for a beer cocktail made with Negra Modelo, pineapple, lime, cinnamon and Hellfire bitters.
4696 30th St., North Park, 619.677.3784, politeprovisions.com
Sherry Cobbler, Stake Chophouse + Bar
Go simple and sophisticated with Bodegas Dios Baco Cream Sherry, Ramazzotti (an Italian digestif amaro made with 33 herbs and roots), and orange.
1309 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.522.0077, stakechophouse.com
The Cask Of Amontillado, PROOF at The Hake
This cleverly named pun (an ode to Edgar Allan Poe) by Daniel Vargas is beautiful, sophisticated and unique.
1 ounce Amontillado Sherry
1/2 ounce chai tea syrup
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce Cynar
1/2 ounce Allspice Dram
2 dashes Boy Drinks World aromatic walnut bitters
1 egg white
Garnish: grated cinnamon and star anise pod
1250 Prospect St., B10, La Jolla, 858.454.1637, thehake.com
Session beers are the norm now, but head to Common Theory Public House for a unique selection of low ABV beer on tap and in bottles. Currently on draft, check out Fall Brewing’s Jazz Hands, a Berliner Weisse at 4.5 percent ABV and John Martin & Timmermans Brewery’s, Strawberry Lambicus a fruit Lambic at 4 percent ABV. In bottle, look for local Council Brewing and their Blueberry and Mango versions of Beatitude Saison, both at only 3.8 percent ABV. And don’t miss the Aecht Schlenkerla Helles, a German lager with a hint of smoke, perfect for January weather at a low 4.3 percent ABV.
4805 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa, 858.384.7974, commontheorysd.com
West Coast wine lovers can enjoy several choices at Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen, including the the Tendu Vermentino from California (11.1 percent ABV), the Wind Gap Trousseau Gris from Russian River (11.3 percent ABV), and the Charles & Charles Riesling from Washington (11.5 percent ABV).
2137 Pacific Highway, Little Italy, 619.819.0090, pacificstandardrestaurant.com
Even if you can’t pronounce it, try the fresh and vibrant JJ Christofel Urzinger Wurtzgarten Kabinett, a German riesling with 10 perent ABV, at Grape Smuggler Bar.
2816 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, 619.255.8332, grapesmugglersd.com
Get bubbly at Italian outfits Monello & Bencotto with the Villa Sandi Prosecco “Il Fresco” (11 percent ABV) and Brut Rosato at 11.5 percent ABV, the Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa Amabile at only 8 percent ABV, or for dessert the Strev Moscato D’Asti at 5 percent ABV.
Monello: 750 W. Fir St., Little Italy, 619.501.0030, lovemonello.com
Bencotto: 750 W. Fir St., #103, Little Italy, 619.450.4786, lovebencotto.com
Going completely clean?
Antioxidant Shots, Fig Tree Café
Detox the body with their range of healthy starters:
Acai: Energizes and helps maintain a stable digestive system
Goji: boosts immune system
Mangosteen: helps maintain cholesterol
You can order shots individually, in a flight, or for weekend outings, you can create a special Antioxidant Mimosa.
Point Loma: 2400 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 103, 619.821.2044; Hillcrest: 416 University Ave., 619.298.2010; Pacific Beach: 5119 Cass St., 858.274.2233. figtreeeatery.com
Mocktails, Herb & Wood
Made with fresh pressed juices and house-made syrups, you won’t even miss the alcohol:
Lemon & Berries: Fresh lemon juice, blackberry-cinnamon syrup, soda
Ginger & Grapefruit: Fresh grapefruit juice, ginger syrup, Mixwell Ginger Ale
Lime & Pineapple: Fresh lime juice, fresh pineapple juice, orgeat almond syrup, cinnamon syrup
2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.955.8495, herbandwood.com
Mocktail, Rising Sun, Island Prime/C-Level
Unique and refreshing with pomegranate, yuzu, lemonade, and soda.
880 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island, 619.298.6802, cohnrestaurants.com/islandprime
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @lauriedelklife or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.