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Mocktails on the Move: 8 Spots to Eschew the Alcohol

Raise a glass to the rise of mocktails.

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An eight-year-old girl drinking a Shirley Temple is adorable. A 38-year-old woman is not. Luckily, the nation's most drinking-est town is suddenly offering a proliferating range of non-alcoholic drinks which are just as carefully crafted as any premium cocktail.

"In general I think temperance cocktails are a natural extension of the menu, as we are already prepping fresh fruits, juices, and homemade syrups, so it is quite easy to just make drinks with that and omit the booze," explains Kyle Davidson of Blackbird.

Quite a handful of other industry leaders seem to agree, as evidenced by this expansive list of mocktails. So go ahead and volunteer to be the designated driver—we promise your hangover won't miss you.

—Stephanie Sack

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Restaurant Beatrix

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Left to its own devices for years, River North's all-day booze-a-paloozas resulted in a dearth of options for abstainers. Lately, this area has undergone a renaissance for the health-conscious, with LEYE's Beatrix's juice-based mocktails at the epicenter of the revival. Non-alcoholic options are served all day, beginning with the "Blue Boost," a potent mix of blueberry and white grape juices paired with mint. Nine-to-fivers can sip on a mango, orange, and pineapple nectar during lunch, while those looking to keep a clear head at business dinners can enjoy a blackberry and lychee lemonade.

Blackbird

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A regular rotation of mocktails reflect the season's tones and flavors at Paul Kahan's first restaurant, with two drinks from the cocktail menu evolving into non-alcoholic recipes. Currently,the light and bright "Paloma Picante" mixes fresh grapefruit juice, serrano syrup, and soda water, then is served in a tall Collins glass with garnish of fresh grapefruit peel. Davidson estimates up to five percent of Blackbird's diners on any given night defer to non-alcoholic options, including these ultrapremium concoctions.

M Lounge

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Cool jazz and decadent martinis set the swanky scene for this mocktail-friendly South Loop lounge. Offering a fruit-forward range of flavor profiles, clever concoctions such as the "I'll Fake Manhattan" feature a trio of cranberry, lemon, and orange juices with a touch of grenadine and splash of bitters. Those looking for a more traditional analogue to classic cocktails can order the "M Bellini," a simple pairing of alcohol-free sparkling Brut and peach nectar, all the while enjoying live music and flashback DJ sets.

An after-work/pre-CSO crowd is often found enjoying drinks at Tesori's off-Michigan Avenue bar, and the five mocktails here ensure that non-drinkers can also partake. An unusual salt rim decorates the "Beach Grass," which pairs a tart splash of ruby red grapefruit juice with chives for an herbal finish, and Milton himself might ruminate over the lime juice, raspberries, simple syrup, and cucumber spears of the "Paradise Lost."

Allium Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

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Hotel restaurants can be stodgy and stuffy, treading on the faded glory of days past. Not so with The Four Season's Allium, a farm-to-table lounge, focusing on classic Americana eats with a gourmet twist. The two seasonal mocktails fall right in line with this casually chic atmosphere, putting together three low-key ingredients for simple sips. The "Fall Ginger Fizz" combines apple cider, pomegranate, and ginger beer to complement savory dinner entrees such as the tallgrass burger, while the strawberry mint lemonade with strawberry puree, mint meritage, and lemonade perks up the egg white, kale, and quinoa tacos.

South Water Kitchen

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It's obvious that the six mocktails at South Water Kitchen are created with equal amounts of art and science. "We don't want those who are unable to imbibe to feel left out from the cocktail experience, so we try to provide some easy drinking straight forward mocktails for children as well as some with a little more complexity for adults,” explains heads bartender Dan Rook. Collaborating with bartender Brent Poole, options such as the pineapple coconut tea with black tea and nutmeg calls out to a more mature palate, while the cherry fizz with fresh cucumber, cherry syrup, and soda water offers an all-ages appeal.

Flat Top Grill

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Boasting 13 locations throughout the Midwest, each Flat Top Grill offers a kitted-out bar, the four-drink mocktail selection consistently compliments the pan-Asian flavors, relying on zippy citrus as a fruit-forward component. Pineapple juice and lemon-line soda are infused with a hint of desert pear for a "Desert Dream," while those looking for more energy to power eat can enjoy pomegranate, mango, and orange mixed with entire can of Red Bull.

Uncommon Ground

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From the rooftop garden to the community-based music programming, the Uncommon Ground model at their Devon Avenue location is one of eco-friendly sustainability through innovation and eclecticism. This energetic approach is reflected in their "Cherry Bomb" mocktail, featuring the twin jolts of cherry juice and lemonade, then tempered with vanilla simple syrup and topped off with soda water. Served in a tulip glass over ice and festooned with cherry/lemon garnish, this refreshing mixture is basically a beautiful summer day in liquid form.

Restaurant Beatrix

Left to its own devices for years, River North's all-day booze-a-paloozas resulted in a dearth of options for abstainers. Lately, this area has undergone a renaissance for the health-conscious, with LEYE's Beatrix's juice-based mocktails at the epicenter of the revival. Non-alcoholic options are served all day, beginning with the "Blue Boost," a potent mix of blueberry and white grape juices paired with mint. Nine-to-fivers can sip on a mango, orange, and pineapple nectar during lunch, while those looking to keep a clear head at business dinners can enjoy a blackberry and lychee lemonade.

Blackbird

A regular rotation of mocktails reflect the season's tones and flavors at Paul Kahan's first restaurant, with two drinks from the cocktail menu evolving into non-alcoholic recipes. Currently,the light and bright "Paloma Picante" mixes fresh grapefruit juice, serrano syrup, and soda water, then is served in a tall Collins glass with garnish of fresh grapefruit peel. Davidson estimates up to five percent of Blackbird's diners on any given night defer to non-alcoholic options, including these ultrapremium concoctions.

M Lounge

Cool jazz and decadent martinis set the swanky scene for this mocktail-friendly South Loop lounge. Offering a fruit-forward range of flavor profiles, clever concoctions such as the "I'll Fake Manhattan" feature a trio of cranberry, lemon, and orange juices with a touch of grenadine and splash of bitters. Those looking for a more traditional analogue to classic cocktails can order the "M Bellini," a simple pairing of alcohol-free sparkling Brut and peach nectar, all the while enjoying live music and flashback DJ sets.

Tesori

An after-work/pre-CSO crowd is often found enjoying drinks at Tesori's off-Michigan Avenue bar, and the five mocktails here ensure that non-drinkers can also partake. An unusual salt rim decorates the "Beach Grass," which pairs a tart splash of ruby red grapefruit juice with chives for an herbal finish, and Milton himself might ruminate over the lime juice, raspberries, simple syrup, and cucumber spears of the "Paradise Lost."

Allium Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

Hotel restaurants can be stodgy and stuffy, treading on the faded glory of days past. Not so with The Four Season's Allium, a farm-to-table lounge, focusing on classic Americana eats with a gourmet twist. The two seasonal mocktails fall right in line with this casually chic atmosphere, putting together three low-key ingredients for simple sips. The "Fall Ginger Fizz" combines apple cider, pomegranate, and ginger beer to complement savory dinner entrees such as the tallgrass burger, while the strawberry mint lemonade with strawberry puree, mint meritage, and lemonade perks up the egg white, kale, and quinoa tacos.

South Water Kitchen

It's obvious that the six mocktails at South Water Kitchen are created with equal amounts of art and science. "We don't want those who are unable to imbibe to feel left out from the cocktail experience, so we try to provide some easy drinking straight forward mocktails for children as well as some with a little more complexity for adults,” explains heads bartender Dan Rook. Collaborating with bartender Brent Poole, options such as the pineapple coconut tea with black tea and nutmeg calls out to a more mature palate, while the cherry fizz with fresh cucumber, cherry syrup, and soda water offers an all-ages appeal.

Flat Top Grill

Boasting 13 locations throughout the Midwest, each Flat Top Grill offers a kitted-out bar, the four-drink mocktail selection consistently compliments the pan-Asian flavors, relying on zippy citrus as a fruit-forward component. Pineapple juice and lemon-line soda are infused with a hint of desert pear for a "Desert Dream," while those looking for more energy to power eat can enjoy pomegranate, mango, and orange mixed with entire can of Red Bull.

Uncommon Ground

From the rooftop garden to the community-based music programming, the Uncommon Ground model at their Devon Avenue location is one of eco-friendly sustainability through innovation and eclecticism. This energetic approach is reflected in their "Cherry Bomb" mocktail, featuring the twin jolts of cherry juice and lemonade, then tempered with vanilla simple syrup and topped off with soda water. Served in a tulip glass over ice and festooned with cherry/lemon garnish, this refreshing mixture is basically a beautiful summer day in liquid form.

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