Cheers to Mocktails

A top New Year’s resolution is to lead a healthier lifestyle. For some people, that may include drinking less alcohol or cutting it out altogether. Even if you are alcohol-free, you can enjoy tasty and thoughtful mocktails at various Valley establishments.

“There are a number of reasons why someone might choose not to drink alcohol, but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded from enjoying handcrafted beverages when they go out,” said Abby Kate Larson, head bartender at J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician in Scottsdale. “A great mocktail needs everything a regular cocktail needs — balance between acid and sweetness, creative use of fresh seasonal flavors and a beautiful presentation.”

Photo courtesy of Little Rituals

J&G’s mocktails include the Spicy Mango Sipper with muddled Fresno peppers, mango purée, lemon, simple syrup and seltzer water. Made with J&G’s spicy house-made ginger syrup, Fresh Ginger Ale is a perfect pairing with dishes like crab cakes and tuna tartare.

“More people are turning to nonalcoholic cocktails not only as a lifestyle, but as a way of pacing their evenings,” said Aaron DeFeo, bar director and proprietor at Little Rituals in downtown Phoenix, which offers nonalcoholic versions of some cocktails, featuring Lyre’s nonalcoholic spirits. 

A great mocktail menu allows bars to cater to a wider group of guests, especially those who do not wish to consume alcohol but still appreciate the social element of enjoying a delicious drink in a fun setting,” said Romeo Rangel, mixologist at Mix Up at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix. Mix Up uses Ritual Zero Proof alcohol to make its mocktails, including the Paloma Ritual with zero proof tequila and grapefruit, and the Royal Collins with zero proof gin and house-made lemonade. 

Photo courtesy of Royal Palms Resort and Spa

“It’s important for us to offer mocktails because we want all people to feel included,” said Chiara Katz of Trucolor Concepts, which owns the Rose Garden and 36 Below cocktail bars in Phoenix. “A good mocktail is one that combines a sense of sophistication with a smooth blend of delicious flavors.”

Bitter & Twisted in downtown Phoenix is known for its extensive and eclectic award-winning cocktail menu, which includes nonalcoholic options.

“Throughout our menu, a selection of drinks are marked as available in a nonalcoholic format so guests can experience our featured cocktails that are particularly well suited to substituting the base spirit with a nonalcoholic spirit alternative,” said Ross Simon, bar director and proprietor at Bitter & Twisted.

HULA’S Modern Tiki offers mocktails that complement the restaurant’s theme. “It’s important that all guests, those who drink alcohol and those who don’t, get the same awesome, escapist experience,” said owner Dana Mule. “A good mocktail has to reflect who you are and be a legitimate part of your cocktail program. It should also taste just as good or better than the cocktails you serve that have liquor in them. The true key to a successful mocktail is that it creates the illusion of a great cocktail.”

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About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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