Chris Simmons offers options for those who want to ring in the new year without a hangover.
Ceremony — a dry bottle shop — opened its first store in Virginia Beach in May. We offer a selection of alcohol-free beers, wines, spirits and mixers.ceremonial Our ready-to-drink selections are suitable for nondrinkers, expectant mothers, people on medications and those on sobriety. Simmons is a drinker herself, and after her long day, she enjoys drinking without a headache in the morning.
Ceremony is part of Simmonds’ company, Less Than. Less Than is a zero-waste refill shop offering products such as Hand He soap, dish soap, toothpaste tablets, laundry detergent and pods. Both businesses are under the same roof.
Simmons was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and raised in Virginia Beach. He graduated from Salem High School and Old Dominion College. He started the business out of a belief that there was a need for more non-alcoholic options in the community.
Ceremony products are processed in the same way as alcoholic wines (fermented), beers (brewed) and spirits (distilled), but are considered non-alcoholic as the alcohol is filtered to less than 0.5% at the end. Others are made by blending ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, and agave.
People can choose from brands that can be consumed straight, mixed, or with a garnish.
For those unfamiliar with non-alcoholic beverages, “I recommend buying the equivalent of what you would normally buy,” he said.
Simmonds shares some recommendations and mocktail recipes for the holidays and beyond from his shop.
While family and friends wait for dinner, serve Wilfred’s Bittersweet Aperitif ($31.99)—an appetizing aperitif. A blend of rosemary, bitter orange, rhubarb and cloves. We also offer Digestif, an after-meal drink that aids in digestion.
The Lush Moscow Mule Mix ($14.95) and Frau Dealcoholized Chardonnay ($16.50) are rich drinks perfect for entertaining.
Red wine lovers will enjoy Goodvines Non-alcoholic Mulled Red Wine ($12.99). This is a spiced wine that is delicious hot or cold.
Some customers pick up spirits they see on social media because they’re familiar with them, like Three Spirit Livener ($39) and Seedlip ($34.99), says Simmonds.
Owned by Carly and Ian Blessing, All the Bitter ($26.50 per bottle) is the only product in the store associated with Virginia. Ian lived in Norfolk. Bitters are plant concentrates used to flavor drinks.
Simmonds didn’t highlight the TÖST Sparkling White Tea ($10), but it makes for a refreshing celebratory drink, so I gave it a try. Fluffy bubbles dance on the tongue, creating a faint tea flavor and faint sweetness.
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1.5 oz Mondays Non-Alcoholic Gin
1.5 ounces apple cider
1.5 ounces cranberry juice
4 drops orange bitters
dehydrated orange slices
dried apple slices
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cloves or star anise
Mix liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker. Pour into glasses or bottles. Garnish. fun.
Heat up your ingredients on the stove or make a large party batch. Tie the garnish to the jar with a ribbon.
The ceremony, enjoyceremony.com, is located at:
- 803 Shirley Avenue, Norfolk
- Inside Painted Tree Boutique, Hilltop North, 1624 Ruskin Road, Virginia Beach
- 24 S. King Street, Hampton
- 10353 Warwick Blvd., Newport News