Gone are the days when sugary mocktails were tiny print on a menu for pregnant women or those trying a “Dry January.” Today, options for non-alcoholic (NA) tipples abound year-round in Williamsburg, with mixologists stretching their creativity to offer up alcohol-free ways to enjoy a night out – or leisurely brunch.
Whether you’re on a wellness trip to Williamsburg, VA, or want to keep up the energy for everything else the region has to offer – history, recreation, and family-friendly travel – here are some of the top activities to toast the region’s top bartenders and brewers.
Dinner, mocktails, and a show
A visit to the Williamsburg Botanical Garden offers hands-on explorations of native plants – but at La Tienda, that will go a step further with the flavors of local herbs and flowers on January 31. The tapas bar will host the White Widow of Williamsburg, a green thumb who uses the best of backyard bounties to craft tinctures. She’ll get hands- (and taste buds) on with the plant extracts she uses for the three mocktails that will be paired with the trio of mouth-watering courses from Chef Greg Mincher. Dig into manchego cheese tart, confit pork belly, and a pear torte. Tickets are here, and tempting tastes are always available at La Tienda Market.
Thai one (non-alcoholic one) on
Williamsburg has a robust foodie scene, with international cuisine ranging from Spanish to Indian, Italian, and Asian. At Aticha Thai Cuisine, noodles, savory soups, and fresh salads are filled with herbs and spices like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, coriander, and basil. The extensive selection is balanced by a drink menu with myriad mocktails – including the favorite of LGBTQ+ travel blogger Courtney Vondran. The rum-free mojito (with refreshing mint, lime, sugar, and sparkling water) balances the spice in Aticha’s signature curries. See more in Courtney’s Instagram story here.
Virginia’s craft beer (and wine) scene is on fire, thanks in part to opportunities to socialize at communal tables with rocking live music, games, and trivia. But that doesn’t mean guests have to toast with booze. It’s worth a visit to Virginia Beer Company to pair what’s at rotating food trucks with an NA hazy IPA or NA golden ale from craft distributor Athletic Brewing Co. Or, sample VBC’s house-made Hop Water. Fresh on tap, the refreshing spritz features house-carbonated filtered water infused with natural hop oil.
Or, get your pinball wizard on at Precarious Beer Hall, where NA options include a “pilsnear” made with yeast specifically for no- and low-alcohol beers. The result is a brew that’s crisp, light, and refreshing. The other option is a hops-forward West Coast IPA.
Putting the ‘Ox’ in detox
Want to try NA beers from Precarious but looking for a sophisticated dining experience? Precarious Beer Project is the sister brewery to Amber Ox Public House restaurant, where NA options include brews and a slew of mocktails with funky, fun names. The Pink Punk Spritz pairs tart grapefruit with herbaceous rosemary syrup and club soda, while the Petting Zoo goes down smooth with ginger, lime, mint, and club soda. The Fizzy Lifting Drink – with chamomile team, lemon, turmeric, ginger, and beet juice – sounds downright like more of a post-gym treat than a cocktail, given its serious detox magic.
Second to none
Fruity flavors rule at Second Street Bistro, where NA blood orange, mixed berry, and apple tipples complete a robust cocktail and vino menu (and multiple awards from Wine Spectator magazine). Whether it’s the Blood Orange Sunset with house syrup, citrus bitters, and blood and orange juices, the Mixed Berry Soda with mint syrup, or the Cider Mule with ginger beer, each can be booze-free or spirit-driven. For those watching their wallet or waistline, however, detox-friendly mocktails bring the cost down into the single digits.
Pairing spicy and sweet
Ginger has multiple metabolic benefits, making the Lychee Ginger Bliss mocktail at Amiraj the perfect after-dinner treat – or accompaniment to contemporary twists on Indian classics like Nilgiri Korma. The crab-scallop version here (a twist on the traditional chicken version) combines coconut milk and mustard seed sauce with simmered Virginia crab meat. The NA Mango Rosewater Crush with lime and soda is the perfect sweet foil to chili-heavy lamb vindaloo, while the tropical fruit in the Tamarind Coconut Twist offsets the heat in the seafood curry with spicy coconut sauce.