Sarah Crowl knows a thing or two about zero-proof cocktails.

Image: Julia Weber

Sarah Crowl doesn't want you to call it a mocktail. They're zero-proof cocktails, says the Coltivare bar manager, and they're better and more nuanced than you might expect.

"The whole idea and stigma behind a 'mocktail' in the industry is a negative one; people don't take it seriously," says Crowl. "Also, treating it like a cocktail and caring about it isn't a thing that bars and restaurants necessarily don't subscribe to, so we thought about just the way we would go through the creative process of any cocktail."

The zero-proof cocktails she helped developed at Coltivare are a hit among all kids of customers, including pregnant women, people limiting their alcohol intake, and those who just don't want to have booze. But beyond that, it's just refreshing to see a cocktail menu that includes carefully-crafted drinks that don't have alcohol. It's especially meaningful to someone who'd rather not drink under a particularly stressful or anxious time.

Which brings us to WellWeek, the now annual (and now two-week-long) event produced by nonprofit I'll Have What She's Having, which advocates for and promotes issues surrounding women in the hospitality industry. WellWeek is an opportunity for people to talk about mental health, whether in the kitchen, front of house, or bar, or outside of restaurants and in everyday life.  

For WellWeek this year, participating restaurants and bars have been asked to create zero-proof cocktails to serve over the two-week period. They can make their own or use recipes created by Crowl (they include a cherry limeade, melon tonic, tea and ginger beer drink, and a cantaloupe non-rita). $1 from every zero-proof drink sold will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Health-Greater Houston, Mental Health of America-Greater Houston, and the Southern Smoke Foundation. (As an alternative to a cocktail, an establishment can make a dessert or designate a menu item for WellWeek purposes.)

Crowl hopes that by putting more zero-proof cocktails on menus across the city, customers see them as viable options when dining. The message: When you're out, and maybe you're not feeling so great, don't ever feel like you have to drink alcohol.

"You feel the pressure to drink or you're not part of the group, so that's all part of it. And the statistics [regarding Americans who have mental health issues] are so great," says Crowl. "So, these [cocktails] are all ways to maybe ease the process and be more open about it."

Participating restaurants, bars, and eateries include CamerataHugo'sIndianolaKolache ShoppeNancy's Hustle, UB Preserv and more. WellWeek runs Sunday, Sept. 29 through Oct. 12. For a full list of participants and more information, visit wellweek.org.

Show Comments
In this Article

Editor’s Pick

Camerata

Wine Bar 1834 Westheimer Road

Camerata’s wine list may not be the longest in town, but it’s expertly selected and packed with variety. Don’t be surprised if one of the smart, engaging bar...

UB Preserv

$$$ American/New American, Global 1609 Westheimer Road

Nancy's Hustle

$$ American/New American 2704 Polk Street

Kolache Shoppe

$ American/New American, Eastern European 3945 Richmond Ave.

At the Kolache Shoppe on Richmond Ave., you’ll find kolaches made with both brisket (from Hinze’s BBQ in Wharton) and boudin (from Hebert’s, the Cajun specia...

Indianola

$$ American/New American 1201 Saint Emanuel St.

Editor’s Pick

Hugo’s

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 1600 Westheimer Rd.

Hugo’s chef/owner Hugo Ortega has been a finalist for the James Beard Award three times; no surprise, as his Montrose restaurant has been the city’s top choi...

Editor’s Pick

Coltivare

$$ Italian 3320 White Oak Dr

Morgan Weber, who, along with chef Ryan Pera, also owns Revival Market a few blocks down the street, designed Coltivare’s handsome worn-wood interior. Outdoo...