Illustration by Lee Hodges
Brooklyn bar and restaurant Grand Army will soon list alcohol-by volume (abv) percentages along with cocktail descriptions on its menus. While abv is standard information on beer and wine labels, and proof on spirit bottles is ever present, a potency listing is often absent when it comes to mixed drinks, with the assumption simply being that the result will likely pack a punch.
“We go to bars because we want to be around people, but you don’t need to be drunk to do that,” says Damon Boelte, co-owner of Grand Army and cohost of The Speakeasy podcast. “Bars are about hospitality and fun and welcoming everyone and having something for everyone and not making them feel weird about it.” Across all major alcohol categories, there has been a renewed interest in no-abv drinks, designed to appeal to the health conscious, the sober curious or those who need a lifestyle change. This growth has been helped along by initiatives like Dry January and Sober October.
Between full-strength drinks and zero-alcohol offerings lies the session category, which offers moderate alcohol and familiar flavors that fit into casual occasions and nights out while still allowing for a clear mind and maybe fewer calories.