Skip the spirits and enjoy these local mocktails

New choices add merriment to non-alcoholic beverages this holiday season

Tis the season to be merry, but that doesn’t mean all your merriment needs to be accompanied by a hangover. “Mocktails” are making sobriety look cool again, and there are plenty of places around the state stirring up delicious concoctions without the booze. So whether you’re looking to take the night off or you’re just not into the “spirit,” here are some drinks you can find at restaurants across the Granite State that are worth sipping this holiday season (and beyond).

The mocktail: Viridescent
Where to find it: Greenleaf
54 Nashua St., Milford

Why it’s worth sipping: Having this refreshing blend of cucumber, tamarind, and lime juice on the menu at Greenleaf is great for those of us indulging in mocktails, but really, almost any cocktail at this establishment can be made virgin or with lower alcohol. “Having non-alcoholic options other than sodas is really important to me,” said Tiffanie Austin, bar manager. “It’s a fun way to be a part of the group when you’re not drinking.”

The mocktail: Prickly Pear
Where to find it: 110 Grill
Locations in Stratham, Manchester, Rochester, West Lebanon, Nashua

Why it’s worth sipping: As 110 Grill phrases it, this liquefied treat is “without the buzz.” Made with housemade blackberry syrup, pear nectar, and topped with Sprite, this inventive concoction will have you forgetting booze even exists. (Especially because this drink costs a mere $4.) If blackberry and pear isn’t your idea of a tasty combination, 110 Grill also offers a Raspberry Lime Rickey for the same price, made with raspberry syrup, lime juice and Sprite.

The mocktail: Pearl Pure Sodas
Where to find it: Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar
Monadnock Community Plaza, 1 Jaffrey Road, Peterborough

Why they’re worth sipping: You’re always being told to eat more fruit, so why not sip on fruit while getting your fill of fresh seafood? At the Pearl, you can do just that. Their housemade “sodas” combine currently-available-fresh-fruit purees with carbonated water — and no added sugar. Refreshing, healthy and hangover-free.

The mocktail: Sober Old-Fashioned
Where to find it: Botanica Restaurant and Gin Bar

110 Brewery Lane, Suite 105, Portsmouth

Why it’s worth sipping: Craving one of your favorite cocktails — but eager to avoid the morning-after headache? At Botanica, the old-fashioned is just one traditional cocktail that can be made alcohol-free. “One problem I have with a lot of mocktails is sweetness,” said Brendan Vesey, chef and owner. “I like to use teas and other infusions to get the herbal and tannic notes of spirits without the alcohol.” The alcohol-free old-fashioned is made with iced Lapsang Souchong tea and cherry juice to help it not only taste like the signature drink, but also look like it, too.

The mocktail: Green Acre “Just Maple” Cream Soda
Where to find it: Republic Café
1069 Elm St., Manchester

Why it’s worth sipping: Republic Café has a small yet mighty variety of spritzes on their menu, ranging from fruit-forward to cream-based (and they also offer an IPA from Athletic Brewing, a Connecticut-based non-alcoholic brewery). The “Just Maple” Cream Soda stands out as unique, yet decadent. It’s made with New Hampshire amber maple syrup, cream from Hatchland Farm in North Haverhill, and soda. Drink it for dessert or pair it with your meal.

The mocktail: Mango Pineapple Coconut Signature Frozen Smoothie
Where to find it: The Red Blazer

72 Manchester St., Concord

Why it’s worth sipping: The Red Blazer has several smoothie flavors including strawberry mango, tropical, and straight-up mango or strawberry, but the mango pineapple coconut is a rare treat. Blended with mango, pineapple, coconut cream, and ice cream, you’ll be transported to a tropical island in the dead of winter – without needing to consume extra calories from alcohol.

The mocktail: Triple Berry Fizz
Where to find it: Stella Blu

70 E. Pearl St., Nashua

Why it’s worth sipping: No need to skirt the cocktail bars — many of them make non-alcoholic libations, too. Stella Blu is one such place, offering up an impressive handful of thoughtfully curated mocktails. “Our bartenders have decades of experience creating both alcoholic and non-alcoholic libations, as we pride ourselves on being able to serve our diverse customer base equally,” said owner Jeff Bois. The Triple Berry Fizz, for instance, is a puree of cherries, blueberries and strawberries with white cranberry, fresh lime and ginger beer.

Michelle Lahey is a food writer who has been writing about (and eating) food in New Hampshire for over 10 years. Outside of food, you can find her sipping on a good IPA, correcting other people’s grammar, or hiking in the White Mountains.

Categories: Food news