The Guild House, Two Truths and more offer “suppressor” cocktails

Although not a new concept, low- or no-alcohol cocktails are trending nationally—call it voluntary Prohibition. These “suppressor” cocktails (a term coined by two Atlanta bartenders) are the foil to their boozy brethren—the Manhattans and Negronis. Maybe you’re partaking in dry January, training for a marathon or just looking to cut down on the booze. These low- or no-alcohol concoctions mean you don’t have to sacrifice complex flavor or miss out on the fun of our vibrant cocktail scene.

Most good cocktail bars (and breweries) offer a few no-alcohol or low-alcohol drinks on their menus or can tailor such drinks to your specifications. Here’s a sampling of what’s out there, but keep an eye out for more on winter cocktail menus.

Dealer’s Choice

The Bottle Shop on King Avenue often crafts zero-proof mojitos with fresh lemon, lime, mint and Sprite. It also prepares Hurricanes sans booze using house-made fassionola (a tiki syrup made with strawberry, hibiscus, guava, mango and pineapple), fresh lime juice and Topo-Chico. “We do so many infused syrups and shrubs that it’s pretty fun coming up with these mocktails on the fly for people,” says Barbara Reynolds, co-owner of The Bottle Shop. “I think a skilled bartender should be able to make something delicious and balanced even with no booze. I love seeing a pregnant woman’s face light up when she gets to have a composed drink along with her friends, and being able to give non-drinkers the experience of a craft cocktail.”

Perfect Pair

The Guild House features a duo of zero-proof cocktails on its menu, ideal for Sunday brunches when you want the fun but not the hangover. The Lemon Tonic features fresh lemon juice, Old City tonic, Fee Brothers Gin Barrel-Aged bitters and thyme, while the Cherry Ginger combines Old City ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, house-made grenadine and spiced cherry bitters.

Herbal Antidote

The Short North’s Two Truths cocktail bar is creating a “To Your Health” menu of low-dose herbal cocktails in January as a nod to modern mixology’s origins in herbalism. The Back to Your Roots mocktail, for instance, is designed to boost the immune system. The mixture takes a turmeric and ginger root decoction (the result of boiling plant material to extract flavor), fresh-squeezed lemon, an Ohio honey simple syrup and dashes of powdered cayenne, then adds an angostura bitter float.

Temperance Movement

This winter, Mouton in the Short North will introduce a small “Temperance Cocktail” menu featuring a lemon ginger spritzer with lemon, honey, ginger, sea salt and soda, plus the Persephone’s Playmate, essentially a pomegranate mojito without the rum.

Near Beers

Many Columbus breweries have honed their skills at crafting low alcohol by volume beers (below 4 percent ABV), referring to them as table or session beers. BrewDog dips the lowest with Nanny State, an ale loaded with hops and coming in at a half percent ABV. Sideswipe Brewing makes low-alcohol imbibing sound exciting with its Sexy Weekend, a table beer clocking in at 3.5 percent ABV that still packs a tiny hop punch. The aromas are punctuated by citrus and floral hop flavors in this easy-drinking ale. Likewise, Ill Mannered Brewing Co. in Powell features a 3.5 percent ABV table beer called Flip the Table, a light-bodied and golden-colored ale. Finally, Somewhere in Particular Brewing, the new brewery on the city’s northwest side, occasionally brews Liquid Weekend, a table beer that serves as a healthy contrast to its higher-punching brews.