Cocktails are so 2014. After a long year of boozing it up, we're ready to start 2015 with a little detox session. Fortunately, there's no shortage of delicious, alcohol-free drinks at bars and restaurants across the city, ready to give our system a reset. From new takes on the classics to fresh fruit sippers, here are our favorite mocktails.
Vincenzo Marianella (Copa D'Oro) may be the man about town for cocktails, but he's also shaking up alcohol-free versions at the recently opened Love & Salt. The barman's mission: Create mocktails that "appeal to an adult palate." Translation: Not-too-sweet drinks flaunting a tart, kicky side that won't blow out your taste buds. Try the Off the Funking Chain ($8)—jalapeño, grapefruit juice, passion fruit, lime, ginger beer and honey syrup—topped with a grapefruit peel and jalapeño slice in a julep cup.
Craft cocktails are the theme at Magnolia House, a Pasadena craftsman house-turned-liquor store-turned-bar. But teetotalers aren't left in the cold—beverage guru Evan Zimmerman (formerly of Laurelhurst Market and The Woodsman Tavern) creates swanky tipples for drinkers and nondrinkers alike. The Cherry and Lime Rickey ($6) takes its cue from an oldie but a goodie: Start with fresh-pressed cherry juice, then layer with lime juice and honey. It's about as complex as a nonalcoholic drink can get.
Keep with the detox theme—we're hanging tough—at Gracias Madre, the vegan, local, organic offshoot of Café Gratitude. The feel-good restaurant toasts the New Year with the Don't Leave Me Dry ($9), a booze-free concoction that still make us feel righteous: blackberry reduction, chile-infused fresh-pressed lime juice, agave, sea salt and sparkling water, garnished with mint and a blueberry salt rim. We'll drink to that.
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At Ink., Michael Voltaggio's fine dining destination, even the drinks go upscale. There are cocktails classic and newfangled (mirepoix bitters, anyone?), beer, wine and house-made sodas. But those taking a break from booze can apéro, too, with a full menu of nonalcoholic drinks. Try the virgin Moscow Mule ($7), which swaps vodka for green tea and adds mint.
We can't resist a good swizzle—it's like staycation in a glass. Playa del Rey wine bar Bacari P.D.R. takes on the tiki cocktail (minus the rum) with its Cinnabark Swizzle ($5), mixing equal parts pineapple, grapefruit and cranberry juice with cinnamon syrup and a splash of club soda. The festive drink is served in a Collins glass with crushed ice, another cinnamon stick and a sprig of fresh mint.
We hear the Caribbean calling already.
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