Every year, there is a special month that some deem “Dry January” or something similar, giving people who prefer to avoid or skip alcohol a time to share their traditions with the rest of us. That is why many Metro Detroit bars and restaurants offer what they call mocktails on their drink and overall menus–they want to reach as many teetotalers as they can.
Mocktails are traditionally made with the same ingredients as an alcoholic drink–except they skip the alcoholic beverage inside them. Instead, the recipe comes up with a similar flavor or ingredient that will make a beverage that both tastes and looks like its original. There also are mocktails that are unique in and of themselves, and people have come to love them as a special treat.
Mocktails don’t need to be boring, either. Some are sugary delights, such as a house-made lemonade with fruit or another addition. Some are for kids, such as a legendary Shirley Temple. Others are targeted to adults who prefer not to drink alcohol, blending mature flavors or special ingredients that give a sophisticated guest an enjoying beverage experience.
Here are five Metro Detroit bars and restaurants that have developed a reputation for serving mocktails that are both delightful for the vision and an experience for the palate. You may want to call ahead if there is a specific drink you’d like to try before visiting, just to make sure that the item is still on their menu.
There’s no better view in Metro Detroit from a rooftop bar than this one. There is a wide array of alcoholic drinks on the menu, and the perfect way to balance that is with a well-made and unique Shirley Temple with house-made grenadine. Other options include Lebanese White Coffee, House-made lemonade and Topo Chico, a sparkling mineral water.
If you want an intimate, unique setting for your mocktails, this bar is the ideal spot to try. For your mocktail pleasure, there’s “Any Card,” which is the mocktail partner to its Pick a Card drink. Any Card features lemon, lavender syrup and soda water. It pairs with Sfumato’s Epiphany scent. There’s also Light as a Feather, which features House cardamom tonic and soda water and pairs with the Gravitas scent.
Ferndale has one of the coolest Metro Detroit bars in The Oakland for its moody vibe and impressive bartenders on staff. They can create any one of its many menu items as a mocktail, and they’re likely to have something special up their rolled-up sleeves if you are willing to let them experiment a bit.
Detroiters love this eastside bar and restaurant for good reason, and the mocktails are among the best in the area. There’s the Shirley Ginger with Ginger beer, Club soda, lime juice, grenadine lime rounds and Maraschino cherries. Ivy also features a Rosemary Blueberry Smash with blueberries, rosemary sprig, honey syrup, lemonade, sparkling mineral water and ice.
This beautiful hidden spot has legions of fans, and they come not only for the atmosphere but the welcoming bar staff. Their to-go and in-person mocktail menu features a rotating mix of fresh-squeezed juices and syrups carefully concocted to “fly you away to a tropical paradise.” It changes weekly, so be prepared to try something new with each visit. If you get the mocktail to go, it comes in a 6.8 ounce recyclable glass bottle.