Durango is steeped in alcohol. From Snowdown in the winter to San Juan Brew Fest in the summer, alcohol flows at high-profile weekend parties.
But for people looking to take a break from the buzz, alcohol-free mocktails are increasingly popular nationally and in Durango.
Candice Seay, the chapter lead for Young People in Recovery Durango, encourages restaurant and bar owners to consider adding mocktails to their menus.
“The point of this whole campaign is for local establishments to send a message to the community that they are holding space at their establishment for the nondrinker regardless of why they choose not to drink. ... It creates a more inclusive culture,” she said.
The drinks provide an option for designated drivers, pregnant women, problem drinkers and recovering alcoholics, she said. Some health-conscious people often take a break from heavy drinking associated with Christmas and New Year’s during Dry January, she said.
The national interest in mocktails is apparent in online search traffic. Google Trends shows traffic for “mocktails” has risen nationally since late 2016.
Global market research company Mintel Group Ltd. also found mocktails rose 35% as a beverage type on menus of bars and restaurants from 2016 to 2019, The Associated Press reported.
Dave Woodruff, general manager of El Moro Spirits & Tavern, said he added nonalcoholic options for customers who wanted to feel they were drinking “something great and unique and creative.” And they’re less expensive than cocktails, he said.
Residents interested in exploring mocktail options can attend the Mock & Roll mocktail crawl during Snowdown 2020. The crawl will conclude at the Strater Hotel with live music from Diabolical Sound Platoon and a mocktail cash bar.
Emily Spencer, director of catering at the Strater, is working with Seay on the crawl and other mocktail events to encourage a sober social scene in town, she said.
“Alcohol is this reason that is used to get together, and then it gets to the point where you can’t get together without alcohol. I have gotten tired of that poison being necessary,” Spencer said.
Mocktails also may be found at restaurants in town such as The Rusty Shovel, Pop Sushi, Cantera, The Bookcase and Barber and Down the Rabbit Hole. Mocktail menus are under development at Burger Theory, Ken & Sue’s, Ernie’s Bar at 11th Street Station and the Strater Hotel.