Who says you need to drink alcohol to have fun? Try these fun drinks—from some favorite local spots—that are big on flavor, without the buzz.
It seems a new brewery opens every week in the Twin Cities, and it’s hard to sit down at a restaurant without being bombarded by photos of the latest cocktails or extensive wine lists. From go-to watering holes that have a party reputation to fast-casual eateries to tea rooms and more, delicious non-alcoholic beverage options abound in Woodbury. Really! To the designated drivers, the moms-to-be, the budget- or waistline-conscious, and those who simply choose not to drink alcohol for reasons all their own—this one’s for you.
Yes, there’s a whole mocktail menu at Crave. From simple flavored iced teas and lemonades to downright delicious-sounding concoctions, there’s no reason to miss the alcohol here. The crowd-favorite Cucumber Splash is ginger beer-based with fresh cucumber, house-made simple syrup, and lime juice—with a splash of soda water. “We have also recently added cold-brew coffee offerings and they have been very well received,” adds general manager Terri Heimerman. Brewed in-house with Ethiopian Sidamo beans, it’s a medium-bodied brew. Try the Raspberry Truffle or Coco Cream flavors—with raspberry or coconut, respectively—that come blended with sweet cream.
Homemade Horchata (pictured at the top of this article)
Machete Cocina Mexicana
The newest in the Los Ocampo restaurant family, Machete Cocina is an upscale take on traditional Mexican fare—based on top-secret family recipes and masa that’s cooked to perfection as a base to a variety of key dishes. One might immediately assume there’s a focus on tequila and mezcal—and they’d be right—but many cocktails are just as flavorful sans booze. Co-owner and vice president Julian Ocampo says the margaritas, piña coladas and daiquiris—which are made in-house, from scratch—are popular in their virgin form. But the house-made horchata—a milky, nut-based drink—is the right mix of creamy and refreshing. Jarritos bottled soft drinks are also a popular, and authentically Mexican, choice.
Even the name Tamarack Tap has a certain connotation, but never fear. “For the non-alcoholic crowd, we have three different root beers on tap, Prohibition Kombucha (my favorite), flavored lemonades, and of course soda,” says general manager Jesse Barton. Prohibition is made in Minneapolis from hand-picked, single-estate tea that’s fermented until it’s fizzy and delicious—and infused with a variety of flavors.
Root Beer Float
3rd Act Brewing
3rd Act is known for its cleverly named brews, but did you know about the pretzels and brick-fired pizzas? Yum. And 3rd Act also carries a selection of locally made Northern Soda, including a fresh-brewed root beer that’s to die for. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and really make a night of it.
Nekter Juice Bar
Produce-forward and vitamin-packed options abound at Nekter, but try the Little Beet for a gorgeous pop of pink in your summer. It’s a blend of cucumber, carrot, beet, lemon, orange and zingy fennel. “This light and citrusy blend combines the best cleansing ingredients that are sure to make your inner beauty shine!” reads the menu. Try it with ginger for an extra punch.
Taro Shake with Lychee Pearls
Sencha Tea Bar
Have you heard of bubble tea? Don’t be afraid. The Asian specialty is made from tiny pearls—not bubbles at all, actually—of tapioca or jelly. At Sencha, mix and match a beverage with a bevy of bubble flavors. Ask for help from the knowledgeable staff, if you want, but the taro shake goes well with the lychee pearls.
Blackberry Hibiscus Lemonade
Piada Italian Street Food
For those who haven’t tried Piada yet, it might be best to compare it to a known commodity: Chipotle. Picture an Italian wrap situation packed full of sun-dried tomatoes, charcuterie-like meats and cheeses, crunchy add-ins, and decadent sauces. It’s like handheld magic. And the blackberry hibiscus lemonade—made with fresh-squeezed lemons, all-natural blackberry and hibiscus extract—will make you forsake the carbonated beverage fountain with its sweet-and-zingy fizz.
Virgin Kentucky Buck
Alamo is the new movie theater in town, but you’ll want to forget everything you know about the traditional “dinner and a movie” before you go. People at Alamo take their films—and their food—very seriously, with gourmet menus tailored to what’s on screen. “We have a wonderful local brewed root beer from Lift Bridge on our tap wall, ginger beer, locally roasted coffee, an iced coffee, and our made-in-house brown sugar lemonade,” says creative manager Tim Holly. “We can do our Kentucky Buck non-alcoholic: it would be a scratch-made strawberry ginger beer-type drink. Since we make almost every one of our cocktail mixes fresh, in-house, we are able to modify and make a lot of drinks without booze if people are so inclined.”
Turmeric Lime Green Tea
It’s pretty. It’s tasty. And isn’t everyone talking about the health benefits of turmeric these days? It’s an organic green tea—with 100 percent pure coconut water, clover honey, and filtered water—infused with fresh-squeezed limes, Persian cucumbers, Indian turmeric and fresh ginger.