Mocktails: Four places to drink dry this January

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Did the holidays and new year do you in? Are you the distinguished designated driver?

There are many reasons to not imbibe, including participation in Dry January: the annual tradition of abstaining from alcohol after the holidays. The firm IWSR found in its 2018 U.S. Beverage Alcohol Review that U.S. beverage alcohol consumption declined for the second consecutive year in a row, citing a "slow-building trend of moderation or not drinking at all."

While you may not find non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic drinks on most menus in the Berkshires, there are plenty of spaces that offer options or have the know-how to provide more than a club soda. Here are four places that are up for the challenge of low-booze or no-booze cocktails that you can enjoy this month or all year-round. Cheers!

Pittsfield

Methuselah Bar and Lounge, 391 North St., Pittsfield. Monday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., closed Sunday. methbar.com.

This prime spot in downtown Pittsfield has a reputation for house-made mixes and crafty concoctions. The delightful decor and cozy-yet-cool club atmosphere are part of what makes Methuselah a can't miss spot. While there are currently no mocktails or low-ABV cocktails on the menu, the talented team of bartenders are known for putting together drinks on-the-fly and have what it takes to serve up an enjoyable, lighter or non-alcoholic beverage. One mocktail that is a special request by a regular is a Pretty Woman, but they are happy to make something based off of your favorite flavors.

Williamstown

Mezze Bistro + Bar, 777 Cold Spring Road (Route 7), Williamstown. Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. mezzerestaurant.com, 413-458-0123.

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Take a drive to Williamstown and enjoy a locally sourced meal at Mezze. Located on rural Route 7, this spot takes pride and its farm-to-table cuisine and has been a long-standing location in the Berkshire restaurant scene. From Mezze's non-alcoholic drink menu, enjoy a refreshing pomegranate lime fizz or a cranberry lemonade. In addition to these, it also offers the bitter and complex soda Chinotto (fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree), which is known as the Italian national soda.

Great Barrington

The Prairie Whale, 178 Main St., Great Barrington. Dinner: Thursday to Monday 5 to 10 p.m.; brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. facebook.com/PrairieWhale, 413-528-5050.

Even if you've never been to the Prairie Whale, you may already be familiar with the wry humor of owner Mark Firth and staff if you've driven to downtown Great Barrington. Located on Main Street in a charming house (with a sign that offers colorful commentary), this spot provides high-end, area-sourced American food, in a hip, yet low-key English pub decor. The menu changes regularly, so grab a seat at the bar, grab an aperitif or a lighter cocktail and enjoy the vibe. The bartenders are top notch at this spot and will be sure to have something for everyone.

Lee

51 Park Restaurant & Tavern, 51 Park St., Lee. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 413-243-2153, 51parkrestaurant.com

Located at the base of downtown Lee, 51 Park is the lone pick on this list that offers a selection of non-alcoholic beverages on its menu. A family-friendly spot, 51 Park offers wood-fired pizza and an extensive pub-style menu perfect for the whole family. Mocktail options include a cucumber and Mint nojito, with muddled, cucumber and mint, agave syrup, club soda and lime juice, and the Paloma fizz, made with grapefruit juice, simple syrup, muddled rosemary and topped with club soda.

One thing to note: Many cocktail flavorings, such as bitters, have an alcohol base, so it's best to let bartenders know ahead of time. If you see a drink on the list that you'd like, but are looking for a lighter drink option, ask if it can be adjusted. Also, feel free to think outside the box with your drink order — traditional drinks like a bloody mary can also be made virgin, so you can enjoy the savory flavors and avoid the alcohol.


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