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Weed Drinks and Zero-Proof Bar Menus: Here’s How to Stay Booze-Less This Dry January

From the best booze-free spirits to experiment with at home to L.A.’s best zero-proof bar menus, and even some cannabis-spiked treats for the Cali-sober, here’s everything you need to make it when you're off the sauce.

2:54 PM PST on January 5, 2024

Quitting or curtailing one’s drinking never hurt anyone, right?

And these days, as more bars and drinkers are jumping on the Dry January wagon or young people simply forgoing alcohol because they don't like the way it makes them feel the next morning, there are a variety of stellar bar menus and spirit-free drinks in L.A. to fuel the engine.

From the best booze-free spirits to L.A.’s best zero-proof bar menus and even some cannabis-spiked treats for the Cali-sober, here’s everything you need to make it through Dry January. Or help assist you in your quest to drink less right now. Or whenever.

YOUR HOME TEAM

A can of The Optimist's Cali Spritz beside a glass of splashing cocktail
Photo via The Optimist.

The Optimist

This Los Angeles-based brand emerged early in the zero-proof game with bottles of its booze-free, botanical-based spirits (Smoky, Bright, and Fresh) meant for you to mix different mocktails up at your place and scratch the alcoholic itch without partaking. Now it’s got pre-batched, effervescent, and spirit-free canned cocktails called The Cali Spritz, with a non-alcoholic amaro as its base and botanicals like pink grapefruit, mandarin, orange, bay laurel, and wormwood, pourable straight from the can.

Parch's agave-based zero-proof cocktails
Photo via Parch's agave.

Parch

Parch is a Latino-owned, canned, zero-proof cocktail that uses real Blue Weber agave, adaptogens, and Sonoran desert botanicals in an attempt to nail down flavors that Southwestern types gravitate toward. It currently offers two flavors: a smoky, piquant Spiced Pinarita with golden pineapple, cayenne chile, mole bitters, cocoa, and prickly pear cactus fruit, and a pleasingly tart Prickly Paloma with citrus bitters, jicama, hibiscus, lime, cactus fruit, and chamomile. Both are infused with sustainably sourced ginseng, L-theanine, Sea of Cortez sea salt, and ashwaganda, and 1% of sales goes to help Tuscon’s Mission Garden’s goal of sustaining biodiversity in the Sonoran desert.

Photo via Cut Above Spirits.

Cut Above Spirits

Like He-Man’s sword, Andrew Raul Solis’ Cut Above Spirits puts the power into your hands, making zero-proof versions of specific spirits like mezcal, bourbon, tequila blanco, gin, and cocktail kits with natural ingredients for you to mix with or sip at home. Is a zero-proof mezcal some form of blasphemy? We’ll let you decide. But now you know. And knowing is half the battle. Yes, we watched a lot of cartoons in the 80s. 

Photo via Fre Wines.

Fre Wines

Napa-based Fre Wines makes wine just like other winemakers do. But then uses some crazy spinning thing to take away the alcohol, so you’re not just sipping grape juice but cabernets, merlots, moscatos, sangria, and even sparkling wine that only has the same amount of residual alcohol as a bottle of kombucha.

Cans of Curious Elixir's Curious #1
Photo via Curious Elixirs.

Curious Elixirs

Curious Elixirs is an OG in the zero-proof game, offering “cocktails” that are free of alcohol, infused with adaptogens, and dedicated to organic juices, fine fruits, herbs, roots, barks, and alla. They’ve just released single-serving “Mini Golds,” tiny cans of its signature, sunny Curious No. 1 cocktail, which riffs on the negroni sbagliato with real pomegranate and Rhodiola rosea flower, said to reverse anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

Bottles of Ghia's non-alcoholic aperitif
Photo via Ghia.

Ghia

Ghia is a spirit-free aperitif based on the traditional refreshments of the Mediterranean, with bitter and sweet complexity that stands up beautifully on its own or as a mixer that easily crushes the craving for alcohol. While we’re partial to its canned Sumac and Chili spritz, the brand recently released Berry, a sweeter-toned bottled counterpart to its staple, bitter-leaning aperitif.

YOUR AWAY GAME

A mocktail topped with a yellow flower from Meteora
"Erosus" cocktail with fresh sugarcane juice, jicama, ginger, lemongrass, and lime. Photo via Meteora.

Meteora

Chef Jordan Kahn's inventive, live-fire Melrose restaurant goes well beyond the obligatory, offering a six-strong menu of zero-proof cocktails made to intrigue the modern diner. Drinks include “Purple Corn,” which mixes an ancient form of the crop with green tomato, pomegranate, blood orange, and rose, as well as “Hierba Santa” with tepache, verjus, a sweet carrot infusion, and the eponymous herb; and “Elderflower” with elderflower kombucha, spruce needle tea, pineapple, and bergamot.

6703 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 10 - “Melrose/Highland” or Bus Line 212 - "La Brea/Melrose."

Photo via Bar Nuda.

Bar Nuda

L.A.’s first Mexican-inspired zero-proof cocktail party is led by a group of local hospitality veteranos, including Aguas Locas founder Pablo Murillo, Morris Ellis, Yeniffer Martinez, and former Mírame and Madre bar director Brian J. Orozco. The roving party has been popping up at different venues throughout the city over the last year or so, bringing music and restaurant-quality cocktails sans the booze for a safe and sober place for the non-drinking or sober-curious Angeleno. Catch Bar Nuda next at Delicious Pizza in West Adams on Jan. 13, Inner Garden in Silver Lake on January 14, and Downtown with R&B Yoga on January 18. Check the January schedule of six events here.

A zero-proof margarita with a pineapple lead garnish at Bar Louie in L.A.
Pineapple Upside-Down Margarita. Photo via Bar Louie.

Bar Louie

You’re meeting old friends in Downey. Or maybe it’s out in Northridge. You’re not drinking, but they are. So you suggest a location of Bar Louie. That way, they can do martinis that see a portion of the price going to No Kid Hungry, and you can get a Pomegranate Paloma or Pineapple Upside Down Margarita using Ritual’s zero-proof Tequila and not feel like you’re missing out on the frivolity. Who knows? You may even turn out to be a good influence on these foos.

8860 Apollo Way Suite #304, Downey, CA 90242. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 266 - “Lakewood/Alameda”, Bus Line 120 - "Imperial Highway/Ardis", or Bus Line 127 - "Bellflower/Washburn."

9301 Tampa Ave. Suite #218, Northridge, CA 91324. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 167 - “Plummer/Shirley,” Bus Line 166 - "Nordhoff/Shirley", or Bus Line 242 - "Tampa/Plummer."

Milk punch zero-proof cocktail. Photo via Asterid.

Asterid

Ray Garcia’s Disney Hall restaurant has something for every teetotaler, with six zero-proof options on its innovative drink menu. There’s a Martini #0 with 0% botanical gin, non-alike gin, and brine; a cocktail mixing Lagunitas’ Hop Water with 0% gin; a proof-free pilsner from Brooklyn Brewery; a chilled booze-less amaro; a Spritz with sparkling hops, mint, and zero-proof aperitif, and even a French sparkling wine sans the good, er bad, stuff.

141 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A and E Lines - “Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station” or Metro B and D Lines - "Civic Center/Grand Park Station."

A watermelon-rind garnished pink cocktail from West Hollywood's Irie and Hind
A "Souls Embrace" cocktail. Photo via Irie and Hind.

Irie & Hind

These charming restaurant and cocktail destinations at PleasureMed, located next to the owner’s Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood, offer both cannabis in multitudinous forms at its table and bar, as well as boozy and non-boozy cocktails throughout the year. You could get a “Pinchai-Lada” made with chai tea, coconut water, coconut cream, pineapple, and lime. Or a “Souls Embrace” with watermelon juice, a zero-proof spirit from Seedlip, agave, lime, and fire water. You could also get a “Yellow Brick Road,” which comes with coconut water, ginger, turmeric, and lime, plus a few hours of a tragic Elton John ballad stuck in your head. “A-when are you gonna come down?!!”

7717 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 4 - “Santa Monica/Genesee (westbound)” or "Santa Monica/Spaulding (eastbound)" and Bus Lines 217 or 218 - "Fairfax/Santa Monica."

Bamboo Club

Long Beach's part-time punk tiki bar is embracing the average mai tai enthusiast wanting to take a break from drinking booze for 31 days, introducing equally tropical, non-boozy beverages, and working in collaboration with Long Beach juice bar Salud Juice. Bamboo Club is featuring four liquor-less cocktails for the entire month. The zero-proof menu includes an "I Am Shroot" cocktail with pineapple, Earl Grey simple, Ritual Apertif alternative liquor, a "Salud a Todo" with Ritual Tequila alternative, and a "Salud Lolita" with eucalyptus simple, orgeat, butterfly pea flower infused Ritual Gin alternative. Check out their weekly calendar on their Instagram account to see which local garage-surf-punk band or rocksteady DJ is dropping a set on the night you plan on visiting.

3522 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804. Closest transit lines and stop: Long Beach Transit Lines 41, 45, 46, and 131 - “Anaheim/Redondo.”

FOR THE CALI SOBER

A jigger of Artet being poured into a glass beside a bottle of Artet
Photo via Artet.

Artet

This Cali-based company makes a cannabis-infused, amaro-inspired, zero-proof aperitif that looks good in your bar or your dinner table. It essentially allows you to mix sophisticated drinks that get you a little high instead of a lot drunk, with 2.5 mg of THC per 50 ml pour. They also have canned, pre-mixed lemon spritzes and mango-ginger spritzes.

3 different cans of wunder
Photo via Wunder.

Wunder

Wunder is a personal favorite, offering great-tasting canned cocktails that come in flavors like Blood Orange Bitters, Blackberry Lemon, and Watermelon Basil. Better yet, they have a Higher Vibes line, which doubles the THC content to 10 mg and 10 mg of CBD per can. Most experts say not to mix this kind of thing with booze unless you really want to take off. And you wouldn't want to do that or anything. Right?

A pink can of Cali Sober cannabis beverage
Photo via Cali Sober.

Cali Sober 

This brand of canned, cannabis-mixed drink calls itself “pretty dank” on its info page. We like that. They go on to say, “We don’t use synthetic shit” in their Paloma Spritzes, Ranch Water, and Berry Ginger Fizzes, which we also like. The beverages use natural, hemp-derived THC, which is cool, coming in at 5 mg per can, which is less cool unless that’s enough to get you high. We’d need, like, a sixer.

A yellow can of Cann, a cannabis-laced tonic
Photo via Cann.

Cann

Cann is a drink for the mellow microdosers among us, combining both small amounts of THC and CBD in each of its canned tonics, which include Blood Orange Cardamom, Lemon Lavender, and Grapefruit Rosemary flavors. They also include Hi Boys, which doubles the THC to 5 mg and 10 mg of CBD per can, and Lo Boys for experimental types curious about what 1 mg of THC may feel like. The more mobile may prefer their Roadies, small packages you can bring anywhere for a 2 mg spike to whatever you’re drinking.

3 green cans of New Brew, a drink with kratom leaf and kava root
Photo via New Brew.

New Brew 

And now for something completely different… New Brew, which contains small amounts of kratom leaf, kava root, and caffeine for a “social” drink, is intended to cut stress, boost energy, and help you focus simultaneously. It tastes a little like tea and an energy drink fucked. It is not recommended for those in treatment or seeking sobriety, however, given it could be habit-forming. And maybe also considering kratom is said to interact with opioid receptors in the brain and has even been linked to overdose deaths. But if you’re gonna try it, we’ve enjoyed these and are still here to talk about it.

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