Dry January: Where to Find the Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails in Asheville
Whether you’re taking a break as you focus on your health or just want to feel a little better after an indulgent holiday season, many of us consider the idea of “Dry January,” a 31-day break from consuming alcohol.
While Dry January may not be quite as popular in Asheville as other places, since we are “Beer City,” it might be just as welcome among both locals and visitors who want to discover new options for nights out and ways to enjoy a beverage with friends without the accompanying effects of alcohol.
When you’re looking for the best mocktails in Asheville or a chance to try non-alcoholic beers, you’re in luck: more people than ever are asking for everything from flavored non-alcoholic seltzer waters to ginger beers and other craft sodas. You can definitely enjoy the fun of the city of Asheville while staying sober!
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Fully Dry Spots to Try
While there are quite a few coffee shops in Asheville and other places with a nice atmosphere that don’t serve any alcohol, we found five of best of the spots in Asheville for Dry January if you really don’t want any temptation at all. These options may just introduce you to your new favorite drink in Asheville.
1. Try Kava-Infused Cocktails at Sovereign Kava Bar
You really can find everything in Asheville, and if you want the Dry January experience but still need a relaxing night out, Sovereign Kava has you covered. They bring a popular root extract from a pepper plant known as kava and offer you many ways to try it: from the traditional method, where it is hand-squeezed and quite earthy, to kava cocktails using ginger ale and orange juice.
They also feature a variety of brewed kratom, made from a tree in Thailand and Indonesia and used traditionally to manage pain and fatigue, and they also sell CBD products. Their goal was to create a space that was devoted to conversation, fun, and events like music and poetry open mics while also making the menu entirely non-alcoholic – a worthy endeavor where you can really step away from the booze and experience quality mocktails in Asheville.
Location: 268 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville
2. Catch the Mushroom Mania at The Pot Stirred
If you think you’ve heard of everything in Asheville, just wait until you take in the soothing, fun, and healthy vibes at The Pot Stirred. This is an entirely alcohol-free bar that specializes in drinks featuring mushrooms and other adaptogens, which are different plants and fungi that help your body respond well to stress, anxiety, or fatigue with stronger well-being.
As America’s first “Mushroom Cafe,” The Pot Stirred offers infused mocktails, carries alcohol-free wine, and can brew you delicious drinks like a Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Lavender Latte. Don’t worry if you’ve never been much for mushrooms in food – when blended with a variety of other delicious and healthy items, you’ll be amazed at the depth of flavor and comfort.
For instance, the Hold Your Gold drink features spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, Lions Mane and Cordyceps mushrooms, Ashwagandha herb, and maca root, blended with lemon, ginger, coconut milk, and almond milk. The final products are drinks that give you all the complexity that a craft alcohol would offer but with better feelings in the hours and days after than if you’d had a beer instead.
Location: 57 Haywood Street, Asheville
3. Be Transported to an Eastern Tea Room at Dobra Tea
While each Dobra Tea house is a little different, I find that the atmospheres are all perfect if what you really love about a bar is the great conversation. While Dobra Tea does offer some snacks and meal-sized food, the focus is on the many tea options served in comfortable and calm spaces.
Whether you want a tea that keeps you awake so that you can catch up with an old friend or need a tea that will help you unwind after a long workday, Dobra delivers the many types of teas that will make you glad you’re skipping the bar for the month of January.
Location: 1011 Tunnel Road, Asheville
Location: 78 N. Lexington Avenue, Asheville
Location: 707 Haywood Road, Asheville
4. Take Hemp Shots at Asheville Dispensary’s Elixir Bar
Now, North Carolina doesn’t have legalized marijuana, medical or recreational, at the time of writing, but certain hemp and CBD products are legal and offer a perfectly nice way to unwind without the more dramatic effects of alcohol or marijuana.
Their in-dispensary bar features a wide variety of drinks infused with hemp, including sodas, iced teas, and coffees, as well as sipping cacao, hemp shots, and even boba infused with delta-8 or CBD. If you’re not in the mood for any CBD or delta-8, they also offer their boba tea menu without infusions, as well as snacks and more.
Asheville Dispensary’s Elixir Bar is a great place to try something new and unwind with a flavorful drink featuring lots of adaptogenic foods.
Location: 919 Haywood Road #111, Asheville
5. Enjoy High-Quality Tea Brewed to Perfection at High Climate Tea
I didn’t know what to expect when I first walked into High Climate, but whatever I expected, it wasn’t a bar. Sure enough, though, the main feature of the front room is a gorgeous wooden bar that’s lower than standard bar height. When you opt to sit at the bar rather than the tea room, you can opt into a “tea flight.”
This consists of the tea “bartender” telling you about a kind of tea and its incredible heritage and health benefits before brewing it to perfection in front of you and pouring you a tiny cup. If you love it, they offer full pots of tea and also will sell you tea to go, but the fun of the tea flight is that this will repeat a bunch of times – I can’t remember exactly how many teas I tried, but it was so many, and I liked so many of them!
We ended up casually chatting with others who were also doing tea flights because the experience was so engaging – if you want an atmosphere that has none of the alcohol haze but all of the camaraderie of a bar, this really might be a spot for you.
Plus, I discovered that jasmine tea (which I liked from regular grocery store tea bags) is so much better when it is both fresh and minimally processed. Tea is a great option for Dry January if you aren’t much for sweet drinks but want all the interesting complexity of a brew or a glass of wine.
Location: 12 S Lexington Ave Suite #1, Asheville
Where to Find Great Mocktails in Asheville Restaurants
If you know that you’re not going to be unduly tempted by a full bar and others drinking around you, Asheville has even more options for keeping you happy during Dry January. More and more of the top bars and restaurants in Asheville are recognizing that practically every party of guests has a designated driver or two, and they aren’t really excited about tap water for the whole evening. From locally made kombucha to craft soda to spritzers made with exciting botanicals and juices, you’ll find all kinds of delicious elixirs in Asheville that are also 0% ABV.
1. Sample the MerTails at Ukiah
Asheville Dispensary features a collection of zero-proof elixirs that are created by a local group in Asheville, The NOHM Collective. These are flavorful and complex combinations of plants, honey, and bubbly soda water that result in herbaceous drinks that are also made to give you some of what you’re looking for.
The names, Hydration, Stimulation, and Relaxation relate to how they will make you feel. Hydration, for example, combines aloe, lime, rosemary, wild juniper, May Chang, chlorophyll, sea salt, and soda water. It helps you absorb the water you drink and is incredibly refreshing while also being sugar and caffeine free. Every MerTail at Ukiah will look right at home even if others in your group aren’t participating in Dry January.
Location: 121 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville
2. Unwind or Wind Up at The Times Bar & Coffee Shop
The Times Bar & Coffee Shop spends the daytime hours slinging lattes and other fun coffee drinks and the nighttime as a hopping bar, but there’s lots of crossover, meaning that many of the drinks that are zero proof are also available in the evening – perfect for if your friends are jonesing for a big night out and you want to be awake and alert as the designated driver.
They also do seasonal and incredibly unusual mocktails: some recent ones include the Kimchi Refresher, which features kimchi (pickled spicy cabbage), mandarin, almond orgeat, and lime. There’s also the Buckthorn Shrub, which puts tonic water with lemon, apple cider vinegar, and buckthorn for a complex and not highly sweet mocktail.
Gone are the days when mocktails mostly meant a glorified Sprite – the flavors here are on point and ready to impress!
Location: 56 Patton Avenue, Asheville
3. Do Dry January Vegetarian-Style at Laughing Seed Café
In one of my favorite spots on Wall Street, you’ll find an extensive bar menu in addition to their many tasty vegetarian entrees. You know it’s a good sign when the menu has a whole page of alcohol and a whole page of non-alcoholic options!
The menu at Laughing Seed Café features the classics, like smoothies, juice, soda, tea, and coffee, but there’s also locally produced kombucha, complex cold-pressed juices, and a very fun mocktail list. Try an Azul Mule made with ginger beer, blueberries, vanilla agave, and pineapple juice, or a refreshing and zippy Yerba Mate Lime-Aid. Expect tasty flavors to accompany your pizza, curry, tacos, or anything else you nibble from the menu.
Location: 40 Wall Street, Asheville
4. Be Part of the Southern Appalachian Cooking World at Rhubarb
My first time at Rhubarb lives in my heart because so much of the menu is about sharing and trying each other’s dishes, making every table a home kitchen table in some ways, even as the food was elevated and flavorful and made with top-notch ingredients.
What I love is that even at a place with a star-studded chef like John Fleer, you can get a great mocktail! The menu includes a “Free-Spirited” section, referring to how those drinks are free of alcohol.
While some of the items are things like hot tea, iced tea, locally-made sodas, and coffee, you’ll also find that you can get almost any virgin drink made with Ritual spirit alternatives, which include gin, whiskey, and tequila substitutes.
They specifically recommend the Fool’s Gold Rush, made with Ritual whiskey, lemon, burnt cinnamon-black earth honey cordial, or the Monty Pith-On, made with Ritual tequila, grapefruit-mint oleo, and club soda. They’re both tasty and really close to the flavor profiles that you might be missing by mid to late Dry January.
Location: 7 SW Pack Square, Asheville
5. Sip Finely-Crafted Kombucha Mocktails at The Buchi Bar at Rosetta’s Kitchen
Rosetta’s Kitchen is an all-vegan cafe that features some of the most flavorful and comforting soul food that you can make entirely from plants. In the basement, though, you’ll find The Buchi Bar, named after Buchi Kombucha, which is produced right here in Western NC.
While the bar offers a variety of wines, beers, and other alcoholic drinks, they also do homemade sodas, six draft kombucha flavors at a time, and a cocktail list that includes zero-proof options. If you’ve missed the fun of drinking a lot of flavors out of tiny glasses, you can get a flight of Buchi Kombucha here.
Mocktails like the Liquid Apple Pie offer coconut cream, apple cider, blue blaze honey ginger syrup, and tiki bitters to create a delicious and spiced drink. While Buchi Kombucha is available in stores, special flavors like Avonlea (organic orange, organic mango, organic passionfruit, and wildcrafted sea buckthorn-flavored kombucha) can be hard to find outside The Buchi Bar, so definitely stop in.
Location: 68 N Lexington Avenue, Asheville
6. Order a Ginger Beer at The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage Company
Devil’s Foot is a go-to for people who want a local drink that has no alcohol but is super delicious and a little more complex than the average craft soda. Their classic Ginger Beer is the top seller, with Ginger Beer Fuego (a super spicy ginger beer) and Sparkling Black Tea & Lemonade also being very popular.
When they opened a large event space/bar at their production facility called The Mule, it was only natural that, while alcohol was served, there would be plenty of tasty mocktails for anyone not partaking.
Location: 131 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville
7. Get the Full Bar Experience at Sovereign Remedies
In a renovated historic building, Sovereign Remedies brings all the pomp and circumstance of a big city bar and fine dining restaurant to Asheville’s scene. What’s great, though, is that their thoughtfully crafted cocktail list also features multiple mocktails!
Of course, the menus change with the seasons, with the focus on local and seasonal botanicals still alive and well in the city, but Sovereign Remedies offers cocktails like the Happy Accident, a concoction of juniper, tart cherry, pomegranate grenadine, smoked serrano, and non-alcoholic bitters.
There’s also the Lavender Blush, a mix of blood orange, lavender, lemon, egg white, and non-alcoholic orange bitters. These flavors are just as complex and satisfying as the ones in a regular cocktail, making it easy to complete Dry January in Asheville!
Location: 29 N Market Street #105, Asheville
8. Follow The Asheville Mocktail Trail
The Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours are a popular way to do a guided tour of town that also features sips and snacks from a variety of spots that just happen to have a spectacular view. What’s fun is that every January, the tour company works with the bars they typically visit and work to offer an all-mocktail tour known as the Asheville Mocktail Trail.
If you want to go on the guided tour, you’ll pay for a guide, but if you opt to “self-guide,” many of these mocktails are part of the regular menu at the different locations you’ll visit. Locations like The Montford Rooftop Bar, The Blackbird, and Hemingway’s Cuba Restaurant and Bar are all part of the guided tour offered, and depending on the season, they each may offer a new mocktail, but Dry January is a time when they all work hard to have good zero-proof options.