Mocktails in Boston

For whatever reason you choose not to drink--health-related, religious, just not feeling the sauce--it's absolutely inexcusable to relegate your acute sense of taste to the wearily routine club soda and lime. These Boston bars illustrate the possibilities for alcohol-free drinks when they retain the precision and quality of ingredients that go into any first-rate cocktail. Faced with the caliber of these excellent beverages, you'll soon be belting "Like a Virgin" with renewed vigor.



(Photo: L'Espalier by Christine Liu)

Updated: June 24, 2010

Mocktails in Boston


The Independent

75 Union Sq, Somerville, MA 02143

Though it's know for dishing up quality Sazeracs and intense microbrews, the bar also excels at non-alcoholic refreshers. The resident mixologists won't blink an eye at your "virgin" request and will--if lemon is your friend--conjure a near magical quaff of what can only be described as a garden in a glass. In the breezy mix, lemonade infused with rose is muddled with cucumber, shaken with lime and dashed with the ripe depth of celery bitters. The taste is bright, organic and oh-so-bounteous.


L'Espalier

774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

This luxe, no-holds-barred bastion of haute gastronomy produces alcohol-free beverages of precision. Sidle into the salon (the loungey anteroom) for an ethereal elixir of watermelon granita muddled with lemon verbena "plucked this morning from [L'Espalier chef/owner] Frank's own farm." (Seriously? Seriously.) Another shining option spotlights passion fruit juice steeped with a cinnamon stick, shaken with honey syrup, taken over ice and sipped daintily from a straw.


Clio

370a Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

This quietly upscale bar, complete with Brahmins and banter, can whip up mocktails with no less aplomb than its more famous liquid nitrogen libations (smoke rising!). You might receive a frothy concoction with raw egg white, lime juice, lemon juice, dash of grenadine and ginger ale, shaken like crazy and served sans ice in a Collins glass. The foam floats about the middle of the glass, and a sip reveals the drink's bearings as super-fancy version of middle-school prom punch--kinda fun, kinda sweet and altogether dynamic.


Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks

528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

True testament that this exacting bar puts its weight behind all of its drinks, boozy or otherwise: Its Lemmy Tum Tum made rank on GQ's "The 20 Best Cocktails in America" list--despite its brazenly alcohol-free composition. The house-made lemonade and bitters therapy-in-a-glass keeps cozy company with others on Eastern Standard's mocktail list, including Alexander's Delight with "textured cayenne and mocha" and a rum-free but no less yo-ho-ho-able Stormy Monday.


UpStairs on the Square

91 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Forget the cheeky-comprehensive wine list and cadre of cocktails, skip right to the barkeep to finagle a booze-less treat. One night's encounter produced a mocktail that featured mint muddled with lime, shaken with house-made ginger beer, dashed up with Peychaud's and Fee Bros. whiskey-aged bitters and fizzled with a bit of soda water. The drink imparts a sensually spicy and mintalicious refreshment.