The Buzz on Mocktails

What with stories of four-star restaurant benders, near-daily rounds of drunk celebrity roulette, and pregnancy’s continued hipness, the oft-maligned mocktail has been making a shy re-entrance at clubs and restaurants, according to the New York Post, which says:

None other than Indochine, known for feeding and inebriating a quarter century’s worth of celebrities, including various Olsens and Hiltons, introduced a menu featuring 10 liquor-free elixirs last month.

Time Out traces the nonalcoholic drink trend back to the French Laundry, where beverage director Paul Roberts started pairing sodas with food in 2003. Epicurious gives a shout-out to Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, where a long-standing beverage tasting menu pairs elixirs of Asian pear and yuzu or almond milk and verjus vinegar with courses of food. San Francisco’s Frisson restaurant calls its mocktails “antidotes,” and says they’re popular with “health-conscious customers” as well as those “who just came off a bender.”

“One-third of restaurant guests will not purchase an alcoholic beverage, so there’s a big upside in premium, nonalcoholic drinks,” beverage consultant Glenn Schmitt tells trade mag R&I.

If you’re thinking of ordering up a liquor-free libation, a recent Chowhound thread linked to the blog drinkboston.com, which lists some solid and savory options. Among my favorites is the good old Freddie Bartholomew.