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These Chicago Mocktails are No Joke

All of the flavor, none of the punch

Mocktails from The Virgin Hotel Chicago

Whatever your reason for wanting to reduce your alcohol intake (or avoid it altogether), you can steer clear of cloyingly sweet Shirley Temples and the like, and instead order from a menu inspired by lust-worthy cocktails—without the booze. Indeed, Chicago’s non-alcoholic drinks go beyond ordering soda—each flavor profile is carefully considered to create a completely quaffable beverage, sans liquor. In fact, “mocktails” have become de rigueur in many nightlife circles, holding their own against a sea of traditional mixological styles. Here’s a taste of where Chicago’s inventive mocktail scene is headed.

Photo via South Water Kitchen

South Water Kitchen

When it comes to mocktails, the South Water Kitchen {Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago, 225 North Wabash Avenue; 312.236.9300}  team are experts. Their bar staff creates a seasonally rotating list of mocktails that are often non-alcoholic versions of current cocktails. From the Beet Shrub Arnold Palmer to Lavender Soda made with fresh blackberries and lavender syrup, the offerings are varied and ever-changing.

BIN 36

The BIN 36 {161 North Jefferson Street; 312.995.6560} team has long been known for their expertise in all things wine, but recently they’ve added a regularly changing list of mocktails to their bar offerings—off menu. According to the bartender’s current inspiration, guests can indulge in the sweet or sour flavors of their favorite cocktails, without the alcohol. This is insider knowledge, and not listed on their regular menu, so you’ll look like an in-the-know regular when you walk up to the bar and order your non-alcoholic treat. Let their staff guide you through the perfect pairing for your dining experience, whether you’re sipping one of their many wines or your own custom non-alcoholic cocktail.

Photo via Urbanbelly

UrbanBelly

Urbanbelly {1400 West Randolph Street; 773.583.0500} and bellyQ in the West Loop both feature drinking vinegars created by Chef Bill Kim. Given that the chef himself doesn’t often imbibe, he’s developed refreshing and flavorful beverage options that guests of all ages and palates can enjoy. The full-flavored vinegars, like Passionfruit Lemonade, match the bold tastes of both menus. Want a bit of booze? Each vinegar can always be spiked.

Labriola Chicago

Just because a diner doesn’t want to indulge in a cocktail doesn’t mean he or she should miss out on the taste of Labriola’s {535 Michigan Avenue; 312.955.3100} signature drinks. Lovers of the Ruby Red Daisy cocktail (from their bar menu) can now try the non-alcoholic version, called The Orchid, which is full of fresh citrus and a light effervescence. At Labriola, they’re continually thinking outside the box to give their guests unforgettable sippable experiences.

Photo via The Kitchen

The Kitchen 

The Kitchen {316 North Clark Street; 312.836.1300} prides itself on using the freshest ingredients available, and sourcing locally whenever possible. This extends to their menu of non-alcoholic beverages, too, like the Cucumber Breeze, made with fresh cucumber, mint, lime juice, and soda. “People are becoming more intentional with their choices and with this, we are seeing a need to make more refreshing non-alcoholic drinks available,” says Executive General Manager Sandy Park. “Our non-alcoholic cocktails are inspired by seasonal ingredients, much like the rest of our menu.”

The Florentine

“Well-balanced and flavorful mocktails speak volumes about a bar program and its commitment to fresh and creative ideas,” says Sarah Landry, Beverage Director at The Florentine {151 West Adams Street; 312.660.8866}. And based on the Italian eatery’s non-alcoholic options, ranging from the Mixed Berry Italian Cream Soda to the Pomegranate and Mint Mojito (without the rum), The Florentine is on point. These and other offerings are made with fresh farmers’ market ingredients and provide a wide range of fun flavors without the pesky hangover.

Photo via Virgin Hotels Chicago

Virgin Hotel Chicago

With a variety of spots within Virgin Hotels Chicago {203 North Wabash Avenue; 312.940.4400} to drink and dine, cocktailing can be booze-free as easily as it can be spirited. From creative pressed coffee drinks to fresh juices and non-alcoholic cocktails, there’s something for every palate at Virgin Hotels Chicago. Just the same, we can’t seem to turn down the buzz-worthy Upside Down Tea service on the weekends. The Commons Club serves a wide range of hot and iced teas but makes them boozy for a special afternoon tea party.

By Kaleigh Glaza, Online Editor