Photo by Brian Hutson.

Until recently, folks who chose to abstain from drinking in public were left with scarce barside offerings in Fort Worth. Sobriety in Cowtown often means buying whatever passes for a mocktail at this or that restaurant or bar, but a small but growing number of local restaurants and tea shops have recently joined a national movement by offering signature mocktails on their menu. If you’ve ordered one of these superlative, alcohol-free drinks at BREWED, Piattello Italian Kitchen, or Clay Pigeon then you have experienced part of that progress.

Beth Hutson has been an important force behind the recent emergence of quality zero-proof cocktails in Fort Worth. Hutson is best known as the CEO of Hutson Creative, a local communications and branded content firm. We recently chatted over sparkling tea-infused cocktails at Leaves Book and Tea Store.

Zero-proof cocktails are becoming a thing in Fort Worth. Photo by Brian Hutson.

After years of cutting back on drinking, Beth recently severed ties with alcohol. It was a slow break-up. Beth and her husband Brian have a long and storied background in the food and wine industry. Several years ago, Brian made the choice to cut out alcohol. Beth largely followed suit, but life in the PR/marketing world meant that socializing went hand in hand with adult cocktails and wine. 

Boulevard Brew 300x250

In my career field, “I have to be sure I’m on-brand and messaging things correctly,” she said. “Once or twice a year, [after a few drinks], I’d tell myself, ‘I’m never drinking again.’ ”

Her well-intentioned friends laughed off the remarks, but Beth was ready for a new direction. She made her choice public two months ago via a social media post. And she hasn’t looked back.

Soon after, Beth launched The Elevated Elixir, an Instagram-centric blog that features Behind the Mocktail videos, recipe releases, and monthly local personality profiles.  

Beth: Quality mocktails will likely become a familiar feature on bar menus in the coming years. Photo by Brian Hutson.

The feedback was immediate. Many of Beth’s friends and colleagues confided that they too had struggled with explaining to friends that drinking made them feel uneasy. The Elevated Elixir’s Instagram page was messaged by non-alcoholic influencers from across the country. 

“Chris Marshall, founder of Sans Bar [Austin’s first alcohol-free bar], has been such a great mentor” Beth said. 

The sparkling tea-infused cocktails at Leaves Book and Tea Store are amazing. Photo by Brian Hutson.

Beth has done her research. Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less than previous generations, polls have shown. Any restaurant or bar that offers signature zero-proof cocktails is providing a needed service to that growing customer base, Beth added. A few local businesses have become sponsors of The Elevated Elixir, a hopeful sign that change really is on the horizon for Fort Worth.  

For the Hutsons, mixing up organic zero proof “cocktails” have become a family affair, one that promotes developing a palate for complex flavors and an appreciation for alternatives to Cokes and sugary drinks. Kombucha, craft simple syrups, acidulated ingredients, and herbal infusions can add complexities that more than make up for anything alcohol can add, Beth said.

Beth and Brian are working with Tiki Biosciences, a local CBD company, to create a mocktail recipe featuring the THC-free tincture. They said they liked the idea of creating a recipe that could also offer health benefits for users of the hemp-derived oil. Beth said that quality mocktails will likely become a familiar feature on bar menus in the coming years. It’s not a trend but rather the culmination of years of individuals finding the courage to explain to friends and family that alcohol is no longer part of their daily ritual and that a tea-mosa will do just fine. 

Don’t forget to follow On Tap in Fort Worth’s Facebook page.

Alcohol-free Specialty Drinks at Leaves After Hours. August 23

From Leaves Sometimes you just need a place to hang out, that’s relaxed like your living room but is still a fun night out. Join us THIS FRIDAY for After Hours, an alcohol-free place to meet up with friends or decompress from the week. (Looking at you, teachers, after your first full week back of school!) No scheduled entertainment this week, but we’ll be chilling to 90’s R&B and serving up delicious drinks. Plus, teachers get $2 off all specialty drinks. See you on Friday! Visit the event page here. 

The Elevated Elixir Tends Bar at Mananaland. August 24

From Mananaland: ART is not the singular or the multitude it is the act of unveiling the unseen. Untitled invites you to participate in an evening of transparency. Let your innermost desires be shown for one night. Step into an interactive performance wrapped in black + white that brings you into the fantastic, the extravagant and the unimaginable. Visit the event page here.