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Bar Talk: Mocktails on menu for Dry January

Amalfi Spritz from Chica
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After an evening out in town, it seems that the mainstream rise of low ABVs and zero-proof liquors is something that, while popular nationwide, is being more readily adopted by big cities and not as much by smaller mountain towns that love to party like, well, Aspen.

I went out for dinner and drinks with a friend and figured it would be the perfect opportunity to do some research for Dry January and Bar Talk and try and find some bars and restaurants downtown that have mocktails on the menu.

What I discovered after some light website digging while we were trying to decide where to land for the evening is that, at least in their online presence, restaurants with zero-proof cocktails on the menu are limited in town.



I understand that alcohol-free beverages — or, for that matter, people who don’t consume alcohol with their meal — aren’t exactly seen as a money-maker for restaurants. However, with the increase of zero-proof liquor companies on the market and using the same creativity in mixing up new cocktails, bars can charge closer to alcoholic drink prices for these drinks. Which is in fact the tactic that the two restaurants we chose did.

Hummingbird from PARC
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First stop of the evening was PARC Aspen.




Since opening, as is to be expected with new restaurants, they have made some changes to their beverage menu and specifically have whittled it down a fair bit.

There were two no-ABV cocktail options on the menu. I tried both, but for the type of drink I prefer, only one fit the bill.

Interestingly, both drinks at PARC, while alcohol-free, did not include any zero-proof spirits. Instead, they were creative concoctions of juices, soda, and other add-ins.

The first drink I tried was The Hummingbird. I was drawn in by the addition of mint and hibiscus, which, unfortunately, turned out to be the two flavors that seemed non-existent in the actual drink.

According to the menu, The Hummingbird is made of white grape, lime, hibiscus, soda, and mint for $14. The hibiscus was present in the pink color of the drink but not in the taste, and the soda contributed mild bubbles. The overwhelming sense was grape and lime, resulting in a strong sweet-and-sour Skittle flavor.

The second drink from the no-ABV section, the Alpine Air, also for $14, was more my speed flavor-wise, although relatively simple. Made with fresh grapefruit, ginger syrup, soda, and rosemary, the Alpine Air was refreshing and a better balance of sweet from the ginger syrup and tart from the grapefruit.

Alpine Air from PARC
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After a main course at PARC, we made our way to Chica for dessert and an after-dinner drink.

Chica has three items on its spirit-free menu, one of which I don’t think should truly count since it’s Red Bull, and the other two, a G&T and Amalfi Spritz, feature Lyre non-alcoholic spirits.

I chose the Amalfi Spritz, $16, made from Lyre’s Italian Spritz and Lyre Classico, a non-alcoholic prosecco, which, in my opinion, would be a better addition to the spirit-free menu offerings than the Red Bull.

The spritz was exactly what a spritz should be: refreshing, slightly bitter, and a great option for après ski sipping, especially on a sunny day when you can enjoy the patio.

While the Amalfi Spritz isn’t exactly a new cocktail creation, it was nice to have the option of enjoying a recognizable cocktail in an alcohol-free format.

This evening out was a nice foray into the on-menu mocktail options around town and a fun way to discover new bar options without the headache the next morning from enjoying so many drinks the night before.

Where should I try next?

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