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DIY: Winter Mocktails from South Water Kitchen

South Water Kitchen is offering delicious, but non-alcoholic, cocktails that any guest can enjoy

South Water Kitchen

Since it’s the start of the New Year, many are cutting back on spending and indulging in the decadence that we all took part in over the holidays. With that in mind, South Water Kitchen’s {Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago, 225 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago; 312.236.9300} Head Bartender Dan Rook has created a rotating list of non-alcoholic “mocktails” that are often derived from the restaurant’s existing cocktail list. These mocktails go above and beyond a simple Shirley Temple, by including housemade shrubs, syrups, and inventive flavor combinations. Think drinks like “Cool As A Cucumber” made with cucumber shrub, ginger beer, lemon, simple syrup, and soda or the “Clementine Lemonade” made with clementines, cayenne, lemonade, and soda water.

We spoke to Rook about the new menu items and how we can all indulge even without alcohol this season …


DiningOut: What led you to expand your drink menu to include mocktails?

Dan Rook: Providing non-alcoholic options to guests, that weren’t generic offerings, just seemed to make sense. It gives us a chance to offer custom made offerings for non-alcoholic drinkers and it allows us to use some of our own housemade ingredients in another avenue.

Why would someone want to choose a mocktail over their standard cocktail order?

In addition to the obvious—a pregnant woman or someone who is on the wagon—I have also noticed mocktails popping up in professional settings. Such as business professionals who want to stay mentally on point during a cocktail hour. It is absolutely okay to order a non-alcoholic drink and your bartender will be happy to make it for you, regardless of circumstance.

Chef Rofer Waysok

Chef Roger Waysok


Can we expect more seasonal mocktails in the future?

Of course! As craft cocktail menu ingredients evolve with the seasons so to will mocktails.

What are some tips for someone looking to make their own at home mocktails?

Start playing around with shrubs! It’s a great way to preserve perishable citrus or vegetables, and will undoubtedly allow you to step up your non-alcoholic cocktail game.

Clementine Lemonade

What are some great, no-fail ingredients for the drinks?

Fresh, always fresh, squeezed juices, fruits, and vegetables. Berries, herbs, tonics, sodas, and easy to make syrups (i.e. simple syrup with lavender) are all easy and fail-safe.

Which mocktail is your favorite?

Our Lavender Soda. It’s made with our house made lavender syrup, fresh lemon juice, and blackberries, shaken, and rolled into a collins glass, topped with soda.

Aside from the Lavender Soda, Rook also shared one of his other favorite recipes with us, so you can make the mocktail at home…

Clementine Lemonade from South Water Kitchen

In a shaker filled with ice, combine 1 ounce Clementine-Cayenne Syrup*, 5 ounces lemonade, and 5 ounces soda water. Shake and pour into a collins glass. Garnish with an orange wedge.

*For Clementine-Cayenne Syrup: In a pot, add juice of 40 clementines, 1 quart sugar, 1 quart water, and 10 dried, broken up dry chilies. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and double strain into a container. Let it chill and then refrigerate (it will keep for up to 30 days).


By Kaleigh Glaza | Online Editor