Photograph by Babiche Martens.

Dry July can often be a challenge – not only because the participants have sworn off alcohol, but because alcohol is such a dominant part of any social occasion that participants can feel left out or unwelcome. However, diners at MASU by Nic Watt in SKYCITY’s Federal Street are in for a treat this July with a special menu designed for those either participating in Dry July or wanting to try something a little different.

The award winning contemporary Japanese restaurant has partnered with Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit to produce a non-alcoholic pairing menu designed by chef-restaurateur Nic Watt and bar manager Akira Ohki.

The five-course menu will be delivered in ubiquitous MASU style with theatre as well as taste at the heart of everything they do. Dishes will include deluxe ora king tartare, kingfish sashimi with sakura shoyu and ruby grapefruit, Te Mana lamb with seaweed slaw, wagyu beef, hapuka en papillote and more.

Ohki has designed a drinks match to pair with each of the five courses. Three Seedlip cocktails and two in-house made kombucha-based cocktails will be served. The cocktails will feature ingredients such as sencha elderflower, tomato kombu, sancho bud, tamarillo, Sichuan blossom, pineapple and wild nasturtium.

Watt is excited to offer this non-alcoholic pairing menu to diners.

“Increasingly more and more people are embracing the move to drink in moderation or not at all as they focus on healthier lifestyles and we are thrilled to be able to support the Dry July initiative with this focused dining offer,” he explained. “We often get guests asking for sophisticated non-alcoholic alternatives so it was an easy decision to partner with Seedlip with this initiative and help solve the ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking’ dilemma.”

The Seedlip non-alcoholic pairing menu concept is also available at The Sherwood in Queenstown.