In the dynamic world of cocktails, a new wave is making a splash: the sober-curious movement. Best Self recently sat down with a leader in the mocktail world, Michael Kunz, The Select Restaurant + Bar in Sandy Springs’ general manager and visionary sommelier. Together, we dove into the intoxicating world of alcohol-free mixology and explored the essence of this burgeoning movement.
“Zero-proof cocktails have always been on our radar at The Select,” Kunz explains, “but this year, we decided to lean into our nonalcoholic cocktail program and expand the menu.” The shift isn’t merely a response to the growing demand from those abstaining from alcohol, but also mirrors the broader trend of a health- focused culture seeking alternatives to traditional libations.
Kunz highlights the changing habits of today’s drinkers, seamlessly blending wine, classic cocktails and zero-proof alternatives throughout a single evening. “These guests still want the social energy of the ‘cocktail’ experience and all the craft that comes with it. Just without the hangover,” he notes. With the increasing availability of non-alcoholic spirits, the zero-proof cocktail arena has become a haven for creativity and enjoyment.
The movement gains momentum as The Select prepares to unveil a new concept, Damsel—a Cabaret Supper Club that transforms into a pulsating 70s, 80s, 90s dance party with a rooftop bar. Kunz envisions a scenario where patrons can enjoy dinner, indulge in the Cabaret show and seamlessly transition into a night of dancing with zero-proof beverages in the mix.
“As we expand our Zero-Proof Cocktails at The Select and Damsel, we’re interested in playing around with more of the zero-proof spirits that offer nootropics and adaptogens,” Kunz shares. It’s a commitment to elevating the experience beyond the confines of “Dry January.” The message is clear: zero-proof cocktails are not just a fleeting trend; they’re here to stay.
Curious to try a mocktail at home? Kunz shares an exclusive recipe for The Select’s signature Cipher Cider below:
Cipher Cider Recipe
• 2 oz Apple Juice
• 1.5 oz Seedlip Spice 94 Non-Alcoholic Spirit
• 0.75 oz Lemon Juice
• 0.5 oz Sage Simple Syrup
• 2 Star Anise Pods
Shake liquid ingredients over ice with 1 star anise pod. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with the other star anise pod.
Searching for more mocktails? Check out our latest roundup of favorites around Atlanta at bestselfatlanta.com.