In 2020, non-alcoholic cocktails have become a staple across many of New York’s best bars and restaurants. The new wave of drinks gracing menus all over are no longer just kids’ mocktails or overly sweet concoctions made to help those of us taking part in Dry January. Bartenders have taken care to create more nuanced libations with quality ingredients and created recipes that are just as intricate as many classics. Whether you’re sober or simply looking to take a night off from imbibing, the options are better than ever.
Best Mocktails at NYC Bars
All the drinks at Getaway are alcohol free, which makes this bar perfect for those seeking an N/A zone where it doesn’t matter why you choose to eschew liquor. You’ll find drinks made with whimsical names like A Trip to IKEA (lingonberry, lemon, vanilla, cardamom and cream) or the Daters Gonna Date (medjool date, peanut butter, lime, banana syrup, vanilla, macadamia nut milk, Coco Rico soda).
The Mango Me Crazy (made with Seedlip Grobe, mango, honey, cayenne and lime) arrives in a yellow-orange hue that blends in with Soho Diner’s salmon-colored, almost Palm Beach-esque interiors. The restaurant’s Restorative “Cocktail” program is perfect anytime of the day.
Listen Bar hosts monthly events across New York with a booze-free focus. They're often part of hip events where the AF (that's alcohol-free!) cocktails are worth sipping all night long.
Chef Jonathon Benno’s upscale Mediterranean restaurant in The Evelyn hotel is inspired by Italy's seaside Liguria region and the south of Fance. The bartenders can create drinks at whim but some recent cocktails we thirst after include the Blaugrana (plum tea, bitter orange peel, dried hibiscus and red verjus vermouth) and Citrus Blossom (orange blossom water, fresh mint and grapefruit juice).
The Korean-inspired elixirs at Reception are like no other. The $12 non-alcoholic drinks include ingredients you won’t find elsewhere: buckwheat, sparkling chrysanthemum, shimeji mushroom shrub, Korean green pepper and other ingredients that purport to have health benefits. We’re also fans of the chic space that’s perfect for dates or just catching up with friends.
Walking into The Well Kitchen & Table makes you want to join this chic wellness club with its options for everything from restorative body treatments and to meditation sessions. The restaurant is open to the public, however, and the non-alcoholic drinks pair excellently with the seasonal, vegetable-forward menu. We recently tasted the Cucumber Kick, a hydrating mix of fresh cucumber juice with lime and ginger.
With its flattering lighting and model-friendly menu, the Fat Radish is catnip for downtown dandies and other denizens of the fashion flock. So it’s no surprise the mocktail options are on point. Exhibit A: Beverage Director Gaby Mlynarczyk’s Carrot Aperol Spritz is refreshing sip with its mix of carrot juice, vanilla extract, lemon juice and Fever-Tree Ginger Beer for some fizz and a kick of heat.
A steakhouse is synonmous with big, bold red wines and martinis. At the Quality Eats venues in town, they’re proving non-alcoholic drinks can hold their own. Beverage Director Bryan Schneider’s menu sans alcohol has included hits like the Razz Basil Fizz and Habanero Limeade.
Drinks aren’t an afterthought at Wayla, where you can pair fiery Thai dishes with creative cocktails. On the non-alcoholic side of the menu, you can order the Seedlip, a drink served over crushed ice with accents of ginger, rhubarb and genmaicha tea to help tame the heat.
A sister joint to the original Antica Pesa in Rome, this 65-seat Williamsburg restaurant reworks the native cuisine of the Italian capital using local New York produce. For those of us fighting the winter blues, the Ananas e Erbe—pineapple juice, sage syrup, lemon juice and cardamom bitters garnished with citrus and herbs—brings you to the tropics with the first sip.
Oceans, a new restaurant from a Vancouver-based hospitality group, offers an optional spirits free drink menu that you rarely find at seafood restaurants. The sustainable theme here extends to the sans alcohol options like the Status Quo with honey syrup, lemon juice, cranberry juice and fig purée.