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Mocktails in the metro: Where to enjoy non-alcoholic drinks this Dry January

Whether you're celebrating Dry January or interested in joining the "sober curious" movement, there are plenty of options across central Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After a few too many glasses of wine at holiday parties and popping bottles of champagne on New Year's Eve, some Iowans may be ready to ditch the season of excess and celebrate Dry January. 

The Dry January challenge began in the United Kingdom in 2013 as a public health campaign encouraging people to take a break from alcohol for one month. Since then, it's turned into a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 130,000 people taking part in 2022. 

But even if you're celebrating Dry January, your social life doesn't have to suffer.

The "sober curious" movement has gained popularity in recent years, with many millennials and Gen Zers hopping on the trend.

Partly inspired by Dry January's success, being sober curious is a form of semi-sobriety that encourages people to cut back on drinking and reexamine their relationship with alcohol.

Abstaining from alcohol, even for a short time, can have a variety of health benefits. A 2018 study found that adults who practiced sobriety for one month saw improved insulin resistance and blood pressure. Other potential benefits include weight loss and decreased anxiety. 

While sober curiosity isn't solely for those who struggle with alcohol use disorder or binge drinking, it may be an opportunity for Iowans to cut down. According to Iowa's Office of Drug Control Policy, Iowa ranks fifth in the country for prevalence of binge drinking. 

With locations in Davenport and Iowa City, Unimpaired Dry Bar claims to be "the nation's first full-service bar that only serves drinks that are free of any alcohol." 

For those looking for somewhere a little closer to home, though, there are plenty of places to enjoy unique non-alcoholic beverages in central Iowa.

Here are a few of our favorites: 

Kava DSM

300 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines

Described as "a place where people can come together for work or play without alcohol", Kava DSM boasts a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. The key ingredient in each mocktail is kava, an herbal remedy made from the root of Piper methysticum. 

Native to the Pacific islands, kava is said to relieve anxiety and restlessness. 


909 Locust St Suite 103, Des Moines

Dry January doesn't mean you have to drink just water at dinner. Elevate your dining experience with a Fresko mocktail. Choose from six different options, including the Gardener's Grandchild, a non-alcoholic twist on a Moscow Mule with basil, mint and strawberry. 

No matter what you try, these alcohol-free versions of classic cocktails will leave you feeling refreshed. 

503 Cocktail Lab + Tasting Room

503 E Locust St, Des Moines

Don't let the name fool you: 503 Cocktail Lab has several zero-proof options such as Salted Ginger Ade and the Orange & Cardamom Spritz that allow you to live in the lap of luxury and prove that Dry January doesn't have to be all soda and sparkling water. 

Bartender's Handshake

3615 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines

This bartender makes more than your classic cocktails. The spirit-free menu includes unique mocktails such as the Vacation Email, which brings you straight to the Caribbean via orange spice tea, grapefruit and coconut.

In addition, patrons who favor beer can try out the Confluence Hop Water or a non-alcoholic IPA from Athletic Brewing Co. 

Clyde's Fine Diner

111 E Grand Ave, Des Moines

Enjoy some fine zero-proof beverages at Clyde's Fine Diner, like a Neutron Dance, which combines red wine reduction, grapefruit and soda; or a Love is the Groove, which includes elderflower, lemon, bitters and sparkling water. Mocktails not your thing? 

Or try a can of Parallel, a non-alcoholic passionfruit raspberry sour.

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