April 17th, 2007

Mocktails for the sober and sick

A sober friend said to me a while ago, ‘You should write something on mocktails.’ He was getting pretty tired of ordering O’Doul’s every time he went out and was looking for other options. I sympathized, filing his idea away in my brain’s to-do list. Well, that to-do list quickly became buried by other to-do lists filled with my usual booze-centric topics. Then, about a week ago, I developed the most hellacious cold; my doctor actually prescribed Vicodin to numb my cough. Ginger ale, tea and water are all I’ve been drinking, and I’m damn sick of it. That mocktail idea is back at the top of my list. My friend is right: those of us who are on the wagon, temporarily or permanently, should have more drink options. And I’m talking adult options (not sugary kid’s drinks like Shirley Temples) beyond NA beer, virgin Bloodys, or soda with lime.

The Arnold Palmer, a classic quencher of half iced tea, half lemonade, is a simple, good drink that seems surprisingly under the radar. However, it is listed prominently on the drink menu at the All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square, Cambridge. Thai and Indian restaurants also offer interesting non-alcoholic beverages, like Thai iced tea (cold, spiced red tea with sugar and cream) and Lassi, a south Indian yogurt-based drink that can be sweet (and mixed with mango, etc.) or savory.

Eastern Standard has one of the few cocktail menus around that feature a list of Mocktails — actual made-to-order mixed drinks, only without spirits ($5 each). They are:

  • Stormy Monday (a play on the Dark and Stormy): ginger beer with lime and bitters.
  • Abbey’s Punch (ES’s Papi’s Punch without the rum): Fresh lime, pineapple and orange juices, housemade grenadine, splash of Sprite.
  • Lemmy Tum Tum: Great for the tummy, ’cause it’s full of Peychaud’s bitters. “It’s basically fresh lemonade with tons of Peychaud’s, served as an up drink. Medicinal, tart and flavorful,” says bar manager Jackson Cannon.
  • Sophisticated Lady: Cucumber muddled with a sprinkle of salt, shaken over ice with cranberry juice, lime juice and simple syrup, then filtered and served over ice. This one’s Jackson’s fave, “a real cocktail. It just doesn’t have alcohol.”

Finally, Jackson suggested a Mock Toddy for my froggy throat: pour boiling water over two lemons cut into eighths and dusted with cayenne pepper, and a spoonful or two of honey. Strain into a mug and drink.

Got your own mocktail suggestion? Let me know.

Permalink | Filed under Mocktails |

10 Responses to “Mocktails for the sober and sick”

  1. Stephen

    martinelli’s sparkling cider…..then use it anywhere you would champagne….more bar should have it so i can order it with gin.

    martinelli’s julep….real serious…. then i can look like i’m behaving but then sneak some gin from my flask into it….

    i probably go through a bottle of angostura exclusively devoted to soda water per week….with a two ounce pour you can get nice off of it…..

  2. MC Slim JB

    I think if you’re putting 2 oz of Angostura bitters (90 proof) in your soda, what you have is not a mocktail but a highball, not something you do not want to serve to someone on the wagon.

    One summer quencher I make for designated drivers is seltzer, pomegranate molasses (my preferred substitute for Grenadine), a few gratings of fresh ginger, and the juice and shell of half a lemon over a lot of ice in a tall glass. I suppose I should come up with a name for it.

    That mock highball was inspired by a drink I created for a summer party last year, The Anastasia: my own fresh-ginger-infused vodka (I generally use Skyy or Smirnoff), pomegranate molasses, and fresh lemon juice, shaken over ice, strained into a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a lemon twist and a lump of crystallized ginger.

  3. MC Slim JB

    Sorry, that should read, “something you *do not* want to serve to someone on the wagon.” I’m too used to temporarily editable comments on Chowhound.

  4. ljclark

    A reader named Matt wrote:

    Just read your mocktail article. Although I am quite a fan of boozy cocktails, I thought it was a great idea. I think alcohol usually makes drinks more complex and interesting because they involve more of your senses (the alcohol vapors as you inhale, the warming of the belly after a few sips) but it’s nice to know you don’t always need the booze to get a complex, interesting drink. Here is a recipe I got from Gourmet magazine a few years back that I feel that way about…


    The combination of pineapple, celery and cilantro make it a very refreshing (and interesting) summertime drink.


  5. Mike

    Vicodin & Gingie! Now that’s entertainment, make mine a double! ;-D

  6. Gail

    These sound delis..being clean n sober 26 years..cokes,cranberry juice,soda water gets boring I love the last one! Thanks!

  7. ljclark

    Glad to hear it, Gail. The sober need interesting drinks, too.

  8. Jimmy Osbourne

    I didn’t understand from the article what is mocktail? Firtst of all I thought that it should be “coctail” not “mocktail” 🙂

  9. ljclark

    Not sure I follow you, Jimmy. It’s just a cocktail without booze.

  10. Day 5: Sober Tuck « 30 Day Healthy Habits Challenge

    […] In anticipation of the event,  I had looked up a couple of “mocktails” that I could enjoy, so that I wasn’t stuck drowning my sorrows in seltzer with lime all night.  So I grabbed some of the ginger beer from the Moscow Mules and made a Stormy Monday by mixing the ginger beer with soda water, lime, and Angostura bitters.  When I got jealous of the warm rum drinks my friends were imbibing, I tried a Mock Toddy, made with cayenne-dusted lemon, hot water and honey. (These are both drinks featured on the cocktail menu at the Eastern Standard that I discovered via Drink Boston). […]

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