Much Ado About Mocktails

By: Karen Dybis | January 10, 2020
Mocktails at Brooklyn Street Local

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Street Local.

Hanging out with friends has evolved from the heavy bar scene to something more sophisticated and conversational with the trend toward mocktails, a non-alcoholic way to enjoy a drink as well as big flavors. 

More bartenders, bars and restaurants are adopting a drink menu that includes cocktails made with spirits and the like as well as a special listing of tasty beverages that are free from any kind of alcohol. This gives you a chance to try their homemade mixes, unique juices and other ingredients and really savor the flavor rather than the impact on your mind and waist. 

Some of this trend started with that very idea – that drinking a lot of alcoholic drinks was not only uncool but it also added unnecessary health risks and calories to our everyday diets. A backlash against recreational drinking and a longtime taboo of drinking and driving also fueled the effort to offer more interesting non-alcoholic drinks to the nighttime scene, giving designated drivers something to look forward to trying when heading out on the town.

If your favorite watering hole doesn’t have mocktails on their radar yet, just give it time. With local as well as major celebrities highlighting the mocktail scene, it’s likely that they’ll add something to the drink menu soon. There’s also a rising interest in the “sober curious” lifestyle scene, so there is good reason for people to invest in mocktail options at any place that offers food and drink.

Here are some Metro Detroit locations that are making a name for themselves in mocktails.

Punchbowl Social 

This trendy Detroit site not only has food and bowling, but it has a well-loved mocktail on its menu. You’ll want to order what is known as the Chef’s Cup — made with muddled cucumber and lemon, housemade cardamom syrup, currants, and sparkling water — which offers the bubbles with none of the alcohol that normally goes with it. 

Brooklyn Street Local 

There’s a whole menu here for people looking to join the sober-curious crowd. Its non-alcoholic menu is known as “The Virgins,” and it features four cool drinks. There’s Swamp Water with all of its juices combined with a splash of soda. The Brooklyn Street Sunrise has orange juice, soda water and grenadine. The Bloody Mary is delicious without the vodka. Plus, who could say no to a Boston Cooler with Vernor’s Ginger Ale and a scoop of Guernsey Dairy vanilla ice cream?


Everyone has been going to this new Detroit location to try its menu of contemporary Italian dishes. Detroit’s Cass Corridor is home to this inventive restaurant, which also is getting raves for its mocktail, the Venezia Spiaggia. Imagine the refreshing taste of mixing three main flavors – raspberry, ginger and lemon – together in one great drink. 


This Detroit favorite has several options for the mocktail crowd. There’s the Golden Hour, which has orange juice, lime, a punch of ginger, coconut and tonic for that sparkle. You can also try what’s known as the Suckerpunch, which has a great burst of flavor with its blend of hibiscus, lime, grapefruit, habanero, salt and soda.

Empire Kitchen and Cocktails 

Yes, the word “cocktails” is right in the name, but there are many kinds of drinks on the menu of this Detroit mainstay. The Midtown restaurant has great American-style food in a bistro setting as well as a robust cocktail menu, both with and without alcohol. Try the array of house-crafted sodas with great flavors such as cucumber mint, which has a hint of lemon, or hibiscus, which has a bit of grapefruit for a citrusy finish.