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Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails/Virgin Drinks/Mocktails/etc.

lipoff Jun 30, 2008 09:23 AM

Wondering if people have any recommendations for restaurants or bars that serve great non-alcoholic cocktails, virgin drinks, mocktails, house made sodas, etc.

I'd be happy to hear about anything, from places that have interesting non-alcoholic cocktails explicitly on the menu, to bartenders who will create something interesting on request, to restaurants that happen to have some unusual non-alcoholic drinks on the menu.

I'll start out by giving a few of my favourites:

- Eastern Standard has several "mocktails" on the menu, including the excellent "Stormy Monday", which is lime juice, bitters and ginger beer.

- The bartenders at Grill 23 will make a terrific non-alcoholic mojito on request, giving it the same time and attention as the more expensive but equally labour intensive alcoholic version. So does the B-Side lounge. Many other places, even expensive restaurants such as the otherwise incredible L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon in New York make a terrible non-alcoholic mojito, I think because some bartenders resent the labour involved.

- Oishii Boston will make their "Shisojito" non-alcholic on request, and it's excellent --- soda water, yuzu-flavored honey, and muddled shiso leaf.

- Dali in Cambridge has excellent bottled Ginger Beer and an interesting house-made non-alcoholic sangria.

- Bartenders at Deep Elllum in Allston have made me a terrific non-gin fizz with a real raw egg and orange blossom water.

- Sol Azteca in Brookline and Newton has a terrific homemade lemonade, and will mix a very sour, not watered down, non-alcoholic margarita.

- Avila brews a phenomenal unsweetened lapsang souchong iced tea.

- I think it's from a mix, but the Stockyard in Brighton still makes a surprisingly tasty virgin frozen pina colada.

- L'Espalier has on the menu a blend of an interesting combination of pineapple juice and several herbs, among several other non-alcoholic drinks, none of which I can recall as particularly memorable.

- Boston Public Meat will make a calamansi soda on request, which is terrifically refreshing.

- Of course there are many Asian restaurants, particularly Vietnamese ones, which will make many drinks, such as salty limeade, that are effectively non-alcoholic cocktails, and some Thai places (such as Spice in Harvard Square) that will sometimes have unusual things such as the Thai basil seed drink.

I'd also be particularly interested to hear of any places that make even alcoholic margaritas right --- with fresh limes, hopefully the more bitter Mexican limes, crushed ice, good salt around the rim, no added sugar, and maybe even egg whites to add frothiness.

I might also add that while I like the thought behind the house made sodas at Myers + Chang, I've tried them all and don't like them --- I find them too sweet and flavourless. For the same reason, I think the only thing I've tried and haven't liked at Flour bakery is the raspberry lemonade.

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  1. Prav RE: lipoff Jun 30, 2008 09:26 AM

    28 Degrees makes some fantastic non-alcoholic cocktails. Had their 'Fresh Fruit Aide' a couple weeks ago, it was terrific. Basically tasted like a ginger/lime mojito sans liquor.

    1. j
      JWR RE: lipoff Jun 30, 2008 09:58 AM

      Boston Public Meat isn't making soda or anything these days.

      I have never ordered one (I had a taste of my niece's) but 9 Park makes a nice limeaid type drink. They use mint simple syrup and lime juice. Since it is two of the ingredients in a Palmayra it is somewhat similar in taste although served over ice.

      1. yumyum RE: lipoff Jun 30, 2008 10:20 AM

        I tend toward the high-test myself, but a tee-totaler friend really enjoyed her mocktails at ESK. The guys at Highland Kitchen usually make a non-alcoholic special or can adjust any of their standards to be virgin.

        1. beetlebug RE: lipoff Jun 30, 2008 10:38 AM

          Baraka Cafe (Pearl Street, Central Sq) doesn't serve alcohol. But they make a great rose lemonade. Cash only.

          I also really like the aqua de melon at Taquiera Mexicana in Union Sq. Somerville.

          1. l
            lycheefloat RE: lipoff Jul 1, 2008 04:54 AM

            Blue Ginger has a homemade ginger ale that's pretty good.

            1. c
              camparibabe RE: lipoff Jul 1, 2008 01:51 PM

              I am pregnant, so this is an important topic for me! I work in the financial district and have had great experiences at Lobby Bar on Broad Street - the bartender was kind about making special drinks for me and putting them in a martini glass. (We go there for post-work drinks) I've also enjoyed my non-alkie drinks at the bar at Excelsior in Back Bay.

              1. e
                ebgreen RE: lipoff Jul 28, 2009 09:03 AM

                Mandarin Oriental Bar and Erbaluce both have fabulous concoctions and yummy syrups. The Zen and the Mandarin bar is my favorite, and I now make my own jasmine syrup at home so I can create it!

                Elizabeth

                1. barleywino RE: lipoff Jul 28, 2009 09:45 AM

                  surprised nobody has mentioned Craigie-- i haven' t personally tried their mocktails but you can see them muddling and chopping mangoes, cherries, etc and reports have been favorable

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: barleywino
                    Joanie RE: barleywino Jul 28, 2009 09:51 AM

                    I had some raspberry mocktail at Rialto on Sun. that I made her put in a martini glass so I could try to fool myself. It was $5.50 and a little sweet but not bad.

                  2. kobuta RE: lipoff Jul 28, 2009 10:06 AM

                    Craigie on Main for me. Hands down some of the most creative and unique mocktails, and oh so delicious! When I did my tasting menu there, they served me 4 different mocktails all crafted to compliment my meal and they were spot on and perfect with the food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kobuta
                      p
                      panda681 RE: kobuta Jul 28, 2009 10:55 AM

                      I third the Craigie recommendation. I went there not even thinking to order a mocktail, but the waiter noticing my big pregnant belly and suggested I order one to complement my meal. Dare I say that my husband thought it was better than his cocktail.

                    2. t
                      tsackton RE: lipoff Jul 28, 2009 01:12 PM

                      My DC had a great virgin mai tai at Hungry Mother.

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