We’ve all heard of “Dry January”, but over the years I’ve seen a lot of my friends take a break from alcohol after a big holiday, long vacation or just for the heck of it. This is all part of the idea of being “sober curious”, a term that is becoming used for anyone choosing to decrease or eliminate alcohol for health reasons. It’s also a chance for them to challenge the idea that alcohol needs to be enjoyed at every occasion, from your weekly happy hour to celebrating a birthday. This is not to say these individuals will never enjoy a drink again, but it will be less frequently as they’ll limit how often alcohol will be a part of their life. Millennials may be behind this new lifestyle, but studies show that every generation is drinking less than the last, and it seems Gen Z is drinking 20% less than Millennials did at the same age.
After completing my own 30 day alcohol free challenge (and even choosing to extend it by an additional 2 weeks) I like to think that I have become well versed in the world of nonalcoholic products in Cayman. I can appreciate why people are making this swap because some of the benefits include improved sleep, weight loss, healthier looking skin, increased focus, and more energy just to name a few.
Years ago, if you went to a Cayman bar not wanting an alcoholic beverage you were only given the option of water, soda, or juice, but now we’re catching up with other countries by offering non-alcoholic beers, alcohol-removed wine and Seedlip ‘gin’. There are a limited number of bars that cater to these sober patrons so they can enjoy a night on the town alongside their drinking buddies.
Bacaro: This al fresco restaurant and bar is an idyllic place to sip on a refreshing beverage. Their mocktail menu features six drinks that are primarily fruit forward, but not necessarily all sweet. The Smoked Seedlip Paloma combines Seedlip ‘gin’, fresh grapefruit, lime, and agave, and for the ‘beer’ drinkers there’s a Zero Shandy made with Heineken Zero, mango and lime juice.
Door No. 4: The newest cocktail bar to hit Cayman was opened by one of the island’s top mixologists, Simon Crompton. His cocktail menu is creative and well-balanced, but from day one they had a non-alcoholic ‘beer’ and ‘champagne’ on offer. It’s the only time I’ve seen a drink freshly carbonated in front of me, but that’s what makes the hoppy flavours in the Not an IPA and the guava and white chocolate notes in the Champagne No Thanks stand out.
The Cocktail Bar at Harbour Grille: In the back of Grand Harbour you’ll find Harbour Grille restaurant and the intimate Cocktail Bar. They have a Crafted Mocktail menu that combines flavours intelligently and don’t require a non-alcoholic spirit. The Europa mimics a classic Hugo Spritz, where elderflower cordial (not liqueur) is combined with tonic, basil, cucumber, and lemon, while the West Indies is a mix of lime juice, soda, and a homemade sorrel & scotch bonnet shrub.
Next Door: One of Cayman’s premier cocktail bars has a cool lounge setup and weekly entertainment. I particularly appreciate their inclusion of Caymanian ingredients in some of their drinks, such as lemongrass, tamarind, and mango. Visit the ‘Temperance’ section of the menu to find mocktails like the Julie, which consists of mango, peach, cranberry and soda, or the Saturday Night Fever which combines cucumber, lemongrass, Seedlip ‘gin’ and soda.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of what the island offers, but I expect these mocktail options to grow in size and number throughout 2022. If you’re looking for a night out with both cocktails and mocktails consider visiting these top spots. And who knows, maybe you’ll opt to take a night (or month) off to see what all the hype is about.