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Cheers to the Zero-Proof Movement: Raising a Glass (Without the Buzz)

Updated: Jan 29

So I was listening to Montana Public Radio (MTPR & NPR) this morning and I heard a story about "The Zero-Proof Movement," have you heard about it? I have some Recipe's below.


NPR host A. Martinez, starts out with this line: "With young Americans drinking less, more zero-proof or no-booze bars are popping up around the country." Has this movement reached Missoula yet? If so, can you help us find it?


Here's the audio:



I find this "movement" very interesting on multiple levels and it might help explain the increased popularity of Dry January. You see, I've always felt that I was a bit unusual in this world. Why? I've never drank. 100% by choice. Now, being just north of 50 years old, I don't believe I fit into the category of "Young Americans" anymore, I do feel drawn toward any movement that involves "Less Drinking." To me, I always want to be in control and free to do what I want, when I want, you know, like driving a car. I can't fathom being impaired by a substance to the point were I wouldn't be able to safely drive a car at any given moment. Drive Safe Missoula is home to our DUI Task Force so we are all about people choosing to driver 100% sober.



The bar scene. Always buzzing with chatter and clinking glasses, it held a special kind of terror for me. Ordering a "Diet Coke" at the counter felt like a clumsy waltz: where to stand, how to position my hands, the agonizing wait for the bartender to fill a glass already half-occupied by ice... all for a measly dollar that barely justified a dollar tip. The act itself was excruciating. Watching the slow dance of bubbles, the agonizing wait for the foam to vanish, made every second stretch like an eternity. And then, the final blow: a glass brimful with ice, leaving barely a sip of soda to down in thirty seconds. Back for refill? No, thank you, even more awkwardness than the first. Worse, the glass itself - It's always a reserved for soda or water. It's like it served as a neon sign announcing that it's non-alcoholic drink. Should I care what other people think? Oh, hell no, and they likely aren't thinking anything because they likely wouldn't even notice. However, my inner critic is screaming, "Why are you even here?" It was like being a vegetarian at a steakhouse and asking for a vegetarian specific menu. The unspoken question always hangs heavy: "Why did I choose a place that celebrates the very thing I abstain from?"



So, Cheers to the Zero Proof Movement. Move over, mimosas, and step aside, sangrias! There's a new movement shaking up the beverage scene, and it's all about staying sharp, social, and satisfied – without a drop of alcohol. The Zero Proof Movement is gaining momentum, fueled by a growing desire for delicious, sophisticated drinks that tantalize the taste buds but leave the hangovers behind.


Why the Buzz about No Buzz?

Gone are the days when non-alcoholic options meant sugary sodas or bland mocktails. Today's zero-proof scene is bursting with creativity and innovation. Craft distillers are conjuring up complex elixirs infused with botanicals, spices, and herbs, mimicking the depth and nuance of their alcoholic counterparts. From smoky mezcal alternatives to sparkling botanical blends, there's a zero-proof spirit for every palate and preference.


Four Mocktail drinks lined up on a bar, fancy drinks with fruit.  Zero Proof, Alcohol Free
Mocktails - Zero Proof - Alcohol Free

But the movement is about more than just fancy drinks. It's about reclaiming social spaces and shattering the stigma surrounding non-drinking. Whether you're sober, health-conscious, or simply looking for a refreshing alternative, the zero-proof movement welcomes you with open arms (and glasses) and lets you enjoy the company, conversation, and atmosphere without feeling like you're missing out. I've never been able to engage in conversation around drinks. Imagine me asking another non-drinker, "So, how's the Diet Coke here?"


The Benefits of Going Zero Proof

The reasons for embracing the zero-proof lifestyle are as diverse as the drinks themselves. Here are just a few of the perks:


  • You Remain In Control:  No designated driver needed. No need for an Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Bus. No DUI Ever! The whole world is safer.

  • Enhanced Health and Wellness: Ditching the booze can lead to better sleep, clearer skin, and improved energy levels, just to name a few.

  • Sharper Focus and Productivity: No more foggy mornings or afternoon slumps. Embrace peak performance with zero-proof libations.

  • Greater Social Inclusion: Create a welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their drinking choices.

  • Exploration of New Flavors: Discover a world of complex, delicious beverages that go beyond sugary sodas and bland juices.

Joining the Movement (I've been waiting for you for 50 years now.)

Ready to raise a glass to the Zero Proof Movement? Here are some tips to get started:


  • Seek out zero-proof bars and restaurants: Many establishments are now offering dedicated zero-proof menus. (I believe there are a few popping up here in Montana but I need to do some more research.

  • Explore online resources: Discover a wealth of recipes, brands, and communities dedicated to the zero-proof lifestyle. Just do a Google Search for "Zero Proof Drinks"

  • Host your own zero-proof gathering: Impress your friends with your mixology skills and create a fun, inclusive atmosphere.

  • Support zero-proof brands: Look for companies that are passionate about creating delicious and sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages.

Here's a Zero-Proof Mocktail Recipe (I asked Google Bard to come up with this - make at your own risk.)


Sparkling Citrus Mount Jumbo Sunrise Mocktail


This vibrant mocktail is bursting with fresh citrus flavors and a touch of ginger spice, perfect for any occasion. It's light, refreshing, and sure to impress your guests with its beautiful layered effect.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1/4 cup simple syrup (or to taste)

  • 1/2 cup club soda

  • Orange slices and lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a pitcher, combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, ginger, and simple syrup. Stir well.

  2. Divide the mixture evenly between two glasses filled with ice.

  3. Gently top each glass with club soda.

  4. Garnish with orange slices and lime wedges.

Tips:

  • For a spicier kick, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the juice mixture.

  • If you don't have simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat.

  • This mocktail can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.

  • Feel free to get creative with the garnish! You can also use other citrus fruits, such as blood oranges or tangerines.

Additional Mocktail Ideas:

  • Tropical Bliss: Combine mango juice, pineapple juice, coconut water, and a splash of lime juice. Garnish with fresh pineapple chunks and mint leaves. 

  • Berry Blush: Muddle fresh raspberries and blueberries in the bottom of a glass. Add sparkling water, raspberry syrup, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. 

  • Spiced Pear Cooler: Combine pear juice, ginger ale, lime juice, and a pinch of cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a pear slice.


Also, be sure to check out Amazon.com or better yet, support any local shops who have Zero-Proof beverages. I see alternatives for Tequila, Whisky, Rum, Gin, Vodka, Wine, Bourbon, fizzy drinks and so much more.


Remember, the Zero Proof Movement isn't about deprivation or judgment. It's about celebrating choice, inclusivity, and the joy of a delicious, refreshing drink, regardless of whether it has a kick or not. So, raise a glass (of sparkling botanical water, perhaps?) and join the movement that's redefining what it means to have a good time.


Here's some links to other articles about the Zero-Proof Movement



Cheers & Drive Safe Missoula



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