Don’t Mock It ‘Til You Try It: Guide to Alcohol-Free Beverages in Rochester


mocktailTaking breaks from alcohol is not only good for your bank account, but it’s an amazing reset for both your mind and your body. The sober-curious crowd is growing and it’s becoming more popular to do things like “Dry January” or “Sober October.” Have you ever been out with friends but didn’t want to drink? Maybe you had to get up early the next morning, or you were the designated driver (kudos to you!). Or, maybe like me, you just don’t drink at all. Whatever your reason is for choosing to abstain, it’d be nice to have some more alcohol-free drink options besides pop, water, and coffee, right? Enter…the mocktail. 

So, what exactly is a mocktail? It’s a cocktail-style drink, made without alcohol. You’ll often find them with fun names and in fancy glasses just as regular cocktails would be. Mocktails allow people to enjoy a beverage without the alcohol. They’re often cheaper too, since they’re easier to prepare, and are free from some of the more expensive ingredients.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of places that offer a mocktail menu. You can try asking the bartender to make you a fancy non-alcoholic (NA) drink, and they’ll usually oblige. A few local places you can find mocktail menus are: Pittsburgh Blue, Five West, Bleu Duck, and Chesters. Along with those restaurants, LTS Brewing Company brews their own sodas, Fiddlehead Coffee Co. has hand-crafted seltzers, and Twigs has an NA martini and cans of kombucha available for purchase. It’d be awesome to see more businesses list mocktails on their menus, so we need to keep asking for them!

The number of companies providing NA beverage options is growing too. Seedlip Drinks states that they are “the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit.” Another beverage promoting its ability to be both fancy and delicious, yet free from alcohol, is TÖST. TÖST is a dry sparkling beverage of white tea, white cranberry, and ginger. You can find both of these right here in Rochester at Figue. While you’re there, check out the Gardenaire drink mixers. Some flavors include Pineapple and Sage Shrub, and Lavender and Mint Syrup. Yum…now I’m thirsty!

There are also sober bars popping up around the country. Sans Bar was founded in 2017 and started with monthly pop-ups. It quickly grew in popularity and they opened their first permanent location in Austin, Texas in May of 2018. Sans Bar’s mission is “to provide a safe and sober environment for people to have fun while promoting personal and social wellness.” Sans Bar is going on a national tour this year…join me in Minneapolis on July 18th!

So next time you’re out and about and don’t feel like getting something boozy, ask for a mocktail menu! If they don’t have one, see if they’ll mix you up something fun. You’ll save some money while drinking something fancy, and best of all, you won’t have a hangover in the morning. Do you know any other places that offer mocktails? Comment below!

Here are a couple of mocktail recipes you can make at home:

Cranberry Cooler
1/4 cup cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tbsp simple syrup
2-3 drops peppermint extract
1/2 cup ice
12 oz. club soda or sparkling water
Sugared cranberries and rosemary for garnish
Directions: Shake together concentrate, simple syrup, extract, and ice. Evenly separate between two 8 oz. glasses.Top off with club soda. Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

Pear and Rosemary Mocktail
Splash of lemon juice
1 ounce pear juice
Rosemary simple syrup
2 ounces ginger beer (NA)
Rosemary sprig
Directions: Shake lemon juice, pear juice, and simple syrup vigorously with ice. Strain into a glass, top with ginger beer and serve with rosemary sprig.

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Blair is a wife to Rodney and mommy to Kyus (2016). She grew up in Red Wing and has lived in Rochester for 15 years. Blair works full-time at the Mayo Clinic as a Psychometrist (she tests people’s thinking). She finds mental health and psychology extremely interesting and loves learning about wellness. In her spare time Blair likes to do all things relaxing. This includes, but is not limited to: napping, going for walks, taking baths, and watching reality television. On the weekends you can find her thrift shopping, and attending fun events around town with her family of 3. Blair loves to make people laugh with her sarcastic and blunt personality, and she doesn’t take life too seriously.