Going to a bar or restaurant that boasts a big list of fancy cocktails can be a bummer if you're the designated driver, adhering to a resolution, or just don't like drinking. If it seems like everyone else is happily slurping down Manhattans and sangria while you're stuck stirring an RC Cola, don't fret. We hunted down mocktails and alcohol alternatives available at various Valley establishments.
Going alcohol-free can be tough, but armed with a delicious drink you can face the bar scene head-on — and several of these options are easy to re-create anywhere with a full bar.
2201 East Camelback Road
The Gladly provided an important lesson: Don't be coy about ordering a mocktail. If you hem and haw about "Something nice to drink that feels fancy but doesn't have alcohol..." you'll get a confused look and offer of lemonade. Put on your grown-up voice, firmly ask for a mocktail, and you'll be rewarded with ambrosia. Seriously, The Gladly mocktail tastes just like grown-up Ambrosia Punch. It's lightly effervescent and citrusy with a sweet sorbet-like finish. The drink lasted through all three courses and is well worth the $6 price tag.
Yucca Tap Room
29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
There is no official mocktail at Yucca, but they do have a full bar and knowledgeable staff. When asked about a mocktail, they suggested the Fresh Fruit Press, which has ingredients that vary based on what's on hand. Typically, the press includes cucumber, lemon, lime, and orange muddled together and topped off with soda water. The result is a light and refreshing mocktail that is super hydrating. The bar didn't charge for this drink, so they received a $3 tip. Your mileage may vary on price when ordering off-menu, but it's a good rule of thumb to be prepared to pay for a drink and tip on top of the bar price.
Cornish Pasty Co.
Walking into a pub and asking for a nonalcoholic mixed drink can be intimidating, but the results here are downright adorable. The Shirley Temple Lite and Italian Soda both have a soda base with your choice of grenadine or cherry juice. The Italian Soda has the addition of heavy cream, which takes the whole affair to a robust new level. Plan to spend about $3 to enjoy dessert in a glass. Italian Sodas take a little longer to make but are well worth the wait. You'll feel like you're in a soda shop but with more heavy metal.
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609 East Adams Street
Bar Bianco has a full mocktail menu with a price range of $5 to $11. They don't settle for ditching the alcohol from classic recipes — instead many of their cocktails contain Seedlip nonalcoholic spirits and house-made syrups. The Vinifera Spice is a lightly sweet and citrusy concoction. Mariposa Milk has a strong herbal flavor with a citrus finish. In fact, out of all the options on this list, the Mariposa Milk has a taste that most closely resembles drinking a regular cocktail. Bar Bianco not only provides the pleasing visual component of a cocktail, but also a decent facsimile to the flavor.
Lagunitas Hop Water
Currently available at Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers, Valley Bar, and Ground Control, Lagunitas Hop Water is gaining a foothold at bars. It's an excellent alternative to beer, hoppy without being bitter, with a bright finish. Hopefully this is the start of a new trend for beer alternatives that taste more complex and less like old shoes.