According to Kelley, there's a certain freedom in not having to take booze into account when making a drink. But restaurants are also having fun attempting to replicate its flavor. At Atera in New York City, a faux Negroni is part of the Temperance Pairing Program. The drink features juniper and quinine bark to evoke gin's floral quality and the bitterness of Campari, respectively, while beet juice tints the drink red, and aromatics round out the flavor.
At Trois Mec, Kelley has fashioned a "nebbiolo" to go with duck, using pomegranate juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, a bit of simple syrup, and a splash of orange juice. "The orange juice creates that lifted, bright, acidic quality, while cranberry and pomegranate bring out a lot of the tannins," says Kelley, who also adds nutmeg at the end. "It's not an exact copy of nebbiolo, but it's so tart, has all the tannin you want in a wine, and has the same elements that play well in a wine pairing."
There's even a doppelganger for beer. And no, it's not just a bottle of O'Doul's. Proxi features a kombucha (which can have an insignificant amount of alcohol) that is made with hops on tap. Created by a local brewery called Arize, the restaurant's chef, Andrew Zimmerman, is crazy about it. "Chef is not really a big drinker anymore," says Relkin. "He says 'This kombucha is so much better than the non-alcoholic beers I can get. It reminds me of beer, but it's so much more interesting.'"
The demand for more alcohol-free drink options has led to the creation of companies like Seedlip. The UK-based company makes booze-free botanical distillates that mimic gin and can be used just like the popular spirit. Both Proxi and Trois Mec feature their products in mixed drinks combining it with juices and house-made tinctures to form drinks that emulate cocktails in both appearance and taste.