The Dry Challenge: The Guide to Mocktails

the dry challenge

Some things get better, and more relevant, with time. Case in point: the need to dust off contributor Hilary Sheinbaum’s classic every year, the Dry Challenge. In fact, she’s on the circuit, from Good Morning America to CNBC, sharing key lifestyle guidance — and mocktails — that will get you through January and beyond.  

The Beginning of The Dry Challenge

When Hilary published the Dry Challenge in December 2020, the state of travel and life looked and felt a little different. (At-home happy hours, anyone?) Now, as Dry January, the sober-ish lifestyle, and nonalcoholic beverages have become increasingly popular, there are inclusive options for everyone. We’re not saying that you have to give up drinking forever. But if you’re looking to cut down on imbibing (or want to try something different), there’s something to be said for sipping a delicious drink without getting buzzed. These drinks go as far as to make the Dry Challenge a piece of cake. 

“I love trying nonalcoholic sips wherever I go,” says Hilary.” If your travel plans overlap with going dry for January or any other sober curious period of time, my No.1 tip for N.A. travel is to download the Better Without app. It can help you locate bars, restaurants and hotels that offer nonalcoholic beverages. Some highlights include The Savoy London, Four Seasons LA Cabana restaurant, Eleven Madison Park in NY. Even the St. Regis Snow Lodge in Aspen is in on the action.”

After downloading, we tapped Hilary for suggestions on what to drink now. From alcohol-removed wines to non-alcoholic spirits, here’s what she recommends you drink when you aren’t drinking. Cheers to Dry January and 2023. You never know what you’ll discover about yourself when you take the Dry Challenge. 

Zero-Proof Beverages 

Before you start in on the cocktails, you need to know the prime brands to stock your pantry. Here are a few of our favorite non-alcoholic beverages; we promise you won’t miss the booze.

Giesen 0%

The world’s leading premium range of alcohol-removed wines is sourced from New Zealand vineyards. Although we’d hop on a plane for good wine, thankfully you don’t have to travel that far to have a sip. Varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rosé, Riesling, and Premium Red Blend, so there really is something for everyone. And we’re pleased to say you can find Giesen 0% at some of our favorite US hotels. These include hot spots like the Snow Lodge (Aspen), the Surf Lodge (Montauk), and JW Marriott (Savannah). Not to mention, you can drink at home, too, by ordering from,, and


Courtesy of Giesen 0%.

Freixenet Alcohol-Removed

Celebrating with bubbly is the best. And when you aren’t drinking —and even if you are — Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Rosé is a bottle that you must have on hand for your biggest life moments. Love sparkling white wine? Freixenet makes an alcohol-removed Sparkling White variety, too. If you’re the kind of person who likes to entertain and get creative behind the bar, Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Citrus Cheer for the Dry Challenge is the go-to recipe for putting smiles on all your guests’ faces.

Courtesy of Freixenet Alcohol-Removed.


Starla Alcohol-Removed Wines

Even though these premium wines are made in Lodi, California, this bottle is the talk of the East Coast during New York Fashion Week. Not only are models sipping pretty off the runway (and on social media), but they have some pretty stylish celeb fans, too. You can’t go wrong with Starla’s collection of low-calorie, low-carb, and low-sugar wines in Starla Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Rosé, and Red. For a low-key night in, or a big soirée, Starla Sauvignon Blanc is a top choice and essential to making Skinny Pink Sangria: a most memorable nonalcoholic cocktail.

Free Spirits Company 

Based in Marin County, California, this line of nonalcoholic spirits is inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Californian cooking and lifestyle. It includes the spirit of tequila, bourbon, gin, and Milano. Travelers to the Bay Area can find Free Spirits on the menus of some of Northern California’s best restaurants, including Barrel House Tavern, the Bungalow Kitchen by Michael Mina, and Buckeye Roadhouse. For at-home mixing, muddling and shaking, teetotalers and drinkers alike can purchase bottles at, Amazon, and specialty shops. Like we said, you need the right basics to ensure the Dry Challenge is a success. 


Damrak Virgin 0.0

Admit it, traveling can cause some unhealthy (although worth-it!) decisions when it comes to diet. So upon returning home, a detox and healthier choices — i.e. green tea — are your best bet. Distilled with 10 botanicals, this nonalcoholic gin is going to make you think it’s the real thing. Rest assured, you won’t feel drunk or even get the slightest buzz. Try the Tea-Riffic Highball recipe when you’re ready to start your wellness kick January 1.   

Courtesy of Damrak Virgin.

Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Citrus Cheer

Recipe is for 1 cocktail. Makes 6 cocktails per bottle of Freixenet. Created by Dan Magro.


Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Rosé
1.5 ounces of grapefruit juice
1 ounce of ginger syrup
¾ ounce of lemon juice
Grapefruit (for garnish)
Whole clove (optional, for garnish)


Combine grapefruit juice, ginger syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into a coupe glass. Pour Freixenet Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Rosé to the top of the coupe. Garnish with a clove-studded slice of grapefruit.

Ginger Syrup 

1 ½ cups of water
½ cup of ginger root
1 cup of sugar

In a sauce pot, bring water to a boil. Chop the ginger into cubes (if you thoroughly wash the exterior, there’s no need to peel). Once it’s boiling, add in the ginger root and bring to a boil again for 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Stir in a cup of sugar until it’s fully dissolved, then turn the heat back on. As soon as it begins to boil again, remove from heat and allow to cool and steep for an hour. Once cooled, strain the contents and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Courtesy of Starla Wines.

Skinny Pink Sangria


1 bottle of Starla Sauvignon Blanc
7/8 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of frozen peach slices
1 cup of frozen mango chunks
½ orange, juiced
2 packets of sweetener(your choice)
Sparkling water
Lemon slices


Add frozen fruit, orange juice and sweetener to a pitcher and stir gently. Add wine and let it sit in the fridge for 4 or more hours. When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice, pour over pink sangria, and top with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.

Tea-Riffic Highball


1 part Damrak Virgin
3 parts iced green tea


Build in a highball glass with cubed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Courtesy of The Free Spirits Company.

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