America’s craft cocktail boom has had many bizarre offshoots (sipping vinegars and pickle juice chasers among them—more on that next week) but none so bizarre as the trend coming out of San Francisco: cocktails without alcohol.
These “mocktails” are every bit as sophisticated as their more intoxicating brethren, but are less likely to lead to poor decision-making and headaches.
The face of the cocktail, it seems, is changing. Actually, so is the taste and smell.
Forget club soda and Shirley Temples. Designated drivers, expectant mothers and anyone with an appreciation of meticulously manufactured libations will find much to love at these chic spots.
Each drink pays homage to characters from literature. The seasonal menu always includes a creative mocktail. The Josef K – made with pineapple, grapefruit, pomegranate, lemon, lime, and ginger beer – proves that even Kafka can be fun (if taken in sips).
Along with modern Chinese cuisine, this hotspot is also known for elaborate cocktails. The many non-alcoholic options on the menu include Eden, which mixes black grapes, rose sugar, lychee juice, and soda water as well as the Virgin Hakka, made with creamy coconut, lychee, and housemade passion fruit puree.
Millennium is known for its vegetarian fare and fresh cocktails, but it also takes mocktails very seriously. The Raw-Volution, featuring kombucha, agave, lemon, and fresh muddled seasonal fruit, is the local favorite.
With dim lighting and exposed brick, the ambiance is just right for a night out. If you opt to go booze-free, you won’t be missing out on the experience thanks to exciting concoctions like Keepin’ It Spicy, made with habanero, ginger syrup, honey, lemon, and soda.
This hip ramen joint has cocktails and mocktails to rival any bar. The non-alcoholic Hot Zombie, with Thai chili lemonade, açai, and mango juice, really shows off their flair with flavors.