Nonalcoholic cocktails are having a moment. More than a moment, actually — interest in zero-proof drinks has grown steadily over the past few years, and the pandemic seems to have only accelerated the trend. From nonalcoholic bars mixing elixirs of fermented pineapple, housemade bitters, shiso, and shrubs to the nonalcoholic bottle shops popping up around the country, spirit-free spirits seem here to stay. In the Twin Cities, a number of restaurants and bars serve excellent nonalcoholic drinks, which range from the herbaceous to the vibrantly fruity. Here are 13 great spots to find a zero-proof cocktail around the Twin Cities.Read More
Sip Nonalcoholic Cocktails at These Twin Cities Restaurants
Guava-grapefruit cordials, watermelon tonics, and matcha lemonade
Hai Hai’s expansive inside/outside bar is built for summer sipping. The nonalcoholic menu highlights tropical flavors: Try the lychee and jackfruit cordial, a guava-grapefruit cordial, or a soda made with a rhubarb-strawberry-ginger shrub.
Located in Northeast Minneapolis on the banks of the Mississippi River, Aster Cafe serves three excellent zero-proof cocktails. The Broadway Bubble mixes a “Proxy Secco” from local spirit-free makers 3Leche with cucumber and basil, while the Bittersweet Bomber has a crisp sparkling wine base.
Spoon and Stable
Spoon and Stable bar manager Jessi Pollak is the United States Bartenders’ Guild 2022 bartender of the year. Happily, her cocktail menu atSpoon and Stable’s includes some choice nonalcoholic drinks: A tart grapefruit cordial, a watermelon and verbena tonic, and an elixir of peach blossom, lemon, verjus blanc, and celery.
Owamni by The Sioux Chef
The 2022 James Beard Award winner for best new restaurant, full-service Indigenous restaurant Owamni has a zero proof drink menu that’s just as alluring as the food. The Gaagaagiwaandagomin is an herbaceous blend of juniper, bay leaf, and sumac with sweet notes of blueberry and agave, and the Zesegaandag mixes spruce tips with cinchona bark and lavender.
Zen Box Izakaya
Zen Box Izakaya’s sodas go way beyond the usual syrup and sparkling water pairing, with flavors of lychee, yuzu, and Calpico, a popular milk-based Japanese drink. If you’re stopping by for lunch, try the refreshing lemonade laced with ginger or matcha.
Umbra, the house restaurant at the boutique Canopy Hotel, serves three vibrant, fruit forward “faux-tails.” The “You’re A Peach” is a lemonade-peach iced tea with mint and muddled strawberries — for something even more tart, try the Pineapple Express, a tasty punch of ginger beer, lime, and pineapple juice.
Cardamom, the elegant restaurant on the first floor of the Walker Art Center, pours four ambrosian mocktails. The Mahamadi combines Persian tonic with rosewater, orange blossom, and espresso — for a fruitier sip, try the Gazoz, made with fermented berries, cardamom, and pomegranate.
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This sunny, tropical-toned restaurant on Nicollet Avenue stays lovely through all the seasons: Grab a drink on the outdoor patio or, in chillier weather, get a table under the heated canopy. Settle in with one of the spirit-free drinks: Think coconut horchata, watermelon agua fresca, or a tart strawberry rhubarb soda. These top-shelf sippers are a divine complement to the restaurant’s famous arepas.
This Loatian restaurant in south Minneapolis serves an exceptional nonalcoholic cocktail menu. The house nonalcoholic drink is the creamy lassi: Try the classic mango, the piquant ginger lassi, or lassi and pina colada hybrid, which comes garnished with Balinese pyramid salt. The 3Leche Ispahan is a fermented drink similar to kombucha that’s made with lychee and cacao — or sip on the Dharma, made with mangosteen, grapefruit, and green coffee.
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Martina’s bar is a case study coaxing subtle flavors from fresh fruits and herbs. The nonalcoholic drinks get just as much TLC as their spiked counterparts: The lemongrass cocktail is a refreshing, aromatic spritz with a bit of bite from the fresh ginger, while the raspberry hibiscus hits lovely floral notes.
A cozy British pub-themed spot in the Macalester Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul, Chip’s Clubhouse serves six light, citrusy nonalcoholic drinks. The Chip’s lemonade, made with honey and balsamic vinegar, is pucker-inducing in the best way, and the Mr. Bluemint, a blueberry lemon soda, pairs well with the fish and chips.
Pajarito’s standout nonalcoholic drink has to be the Wild Card. Tell the waiter what flavors you like, and the bartender will whip up something special. Or try the Guava Spritzer, a refreshing, bubbly mix of pink guava and lime.
W. A. Frost and Company
W.A. Frost, with its lovely ivy-covered patio, sits in the shadow of the Saint Paul Cathedral on Selby Avenue. The extensive nonalcoholic cocktail options include a Light and Stormy, made with nonalcoholic rum and ginger beer, and the No Name: an elixir of wormwood, sugarcane, and lemon. W.A. Frost also has a low-proof cocktail menu, with Japanese martinis, palomas, and more.