Bars can be landmines in the social calendar when you’re not drinking.
To the sober eye, inebriated antics are annoying at best (intolerable at worst), and beverage options are painfully unimaginative compared to the inspired boozy drinks offered.
It was this type of gripe that led Nic Sims, a former chef who has been sober for 20 years, to envision a social gathering space where booze wasn’t the focus. So in December 2014, she launched the Brillig Dry Bar pop-up in her husband’s coffee shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Featuring a menu of non-alcoholic drinks such as Brooklyn-style egg creams and a sour-style beverage made with fresh cranberries, Sims’ first event drew a full house. There was even enough interest to spur another round later that same month. Now, Sims is planning on hosting monthly events, with the hopes of one day opening a permanent space.
If Sims’ recipe for one of her popular mocktails, a Pomegranate-Rosemary Soda, is any indication, Brillig Dry Bar is poised to stick around. Herbal and tart, this soda is a teetotaler’s smart variation on that boring old vodka cran.
- 1 ounce pomegranate juice
- 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup*
- Seltzer, to top
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Fill a Collins glass one-third of the way with ice.
Add the pomegranate juice and simple syrup.
Fill the glass to the rim with seltzer and stir gently.
Garnish with a rosemary sprig and serve.
- *Rosemary simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup water, and 6 rosemary sprigs, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs. The syrup will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to three weeks.