Mocktails Gain New Popularity

By: Karen Dybis | June 7, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Lost River.

People who abstain from drinking or prefer non-alcoholic drinks have few options when they join friends at the neighborhood bar. They could hold a beer all night and never take one sip or they could sip their water or fruit juice politely.

Metro Detroit bars and taverns are changing that scene, adding an array of “mocktails” to their menus and proudly serving everyone who steps up to the rail, no matter what they want to order. Popular spots such as Detroit’s Lost River advertise their mocktails right on the menu and serve a wide audience looking for dry options.

“Our most popular mocktail is the Painkiller mocktail – a delicious combination or fresh squeezed pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream,” said Matt Mergener, co-owner of the Tiki bar on Mack Avenue.

Lost River offers its mocktails for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they’re delicious for any bar patron and allow the bartenders to show off their in-house skills with syrups and new non-alcoholic products.

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Lost River

Photo Courtesy of Lost River.

“We realize that not everyone wants to drink, whether that is simply a choice, someone is a designated driver or even women that might be pregnant. With juices and syrups that we make or squeeze fresh in house every day, a tiki bar is perfectly set up already to make delicious mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks,” Mergener said.

“The second reason is that potential ingredients for mocktails have improved over the past couple of years. For example, there are now distilled non-alcoholic “spirits” like Seedlip that you can add to a mocktail, giving it a distinct flavor profile that you couldn’t find anywhere else,” he added.

Here are a few other Metro Detroit bars that go out of their way to offer mocktails, as recommended by Nick Britsky, the brains and taste buds behind Nick Drinks, a website and personal blog that highlights his explorations of all kinds of beverages from beer to wine to spirits.

  • M Cantina: Come for the Tapas, stay for the mocktails. This Dearborn restaurant serves what it calls “Neuvo Latino Street Food,” that is gourmet in flavor and a treat for the eyes. Its drinks are meant to hydrate, and they include offerings such as Horchata, which has rice, cinnamon and banana, as well as Indulge, with blueberries, ginger, hemp milk and chocolate.
  • Standby: It is known as a bar, but it also offers great food along with its drinks. They offer a high-tech “cocktail lab,” which is equipped with a centrifuge, liquid nitrogen and lots of fun tools. The bar says it has “the perfect drink for everyone,” including those who want to avoid alcohol.
  • Willis Show Bar: Come for the show, stay for the drinks. The enjoyment of this recently relaunched bar is going upscale in your dress and your drinks, like the vintage punch bowls that can be filled with any liquid, alcoholic or not.
  • Menjos: When you check out Menjos location in Detroit, you’ll find an open-minded and welcoming crowd. There are lots of drink specials and special events that center on cultural and social phenomenon as well as karaoke nights. Plus, the bar will make any drink a mocktail for you.
  • Castilia: This event space within Sfumato will delight every one of your senses without being too intoxicating. Their mocktail game is strong with special events to help you make your own non-alcoholic specials in house or at your own house. Head downstairs and follow your nose.