4 fantastic local “Mocktails” for when you’re skipping the booze

Sometimes you just need a great mixed drink without the booze. Whether you are taking a break from alcohol, or just need a refreshing glass of something that won't loosen your goose too much, a "mocktail" can be a (almost) healthy substitute.

Here are four delicious recipes for non-alcoholic drinks, created by four Cleveland-based bar wizards, that range from simple to complex, depending on your mood.


The Hard Reset

The Hard Reset comes from Cassaundra Hollaway, the Bar Director of Sixth City Sailors Club (668 Euclid Ave) & Society Lounge (2063 E 4th St).
“A bright and effervescent refreshing start to a morning or pick me up in the later afternoon”
The Hard Reset:
1 oz Honey Simple*
1 oz Pineapple Juice (unsweetened)
Fresh squeezed Lime (Half)
Pinch of ground tumeric (to taste)
Top with favorite n/a ginger beer
Garnish: Lime wedge
Build in Glass over ice. Quick Tumble (gently as not to upset the carbonation). Serve
*Honey Simple:
Place equal parts favorite honey and water over medium heat until dissolved fully. Remove and  let cool.

Photo: SC.Social.CLE

Elixir of Life

The Elixir of Life is the offering of Eric Ho, the owner/operator of LBM (12301 Madison Ave, Lakewood), the premiere Viking-themed bar in Lakewood.
“This is going to be for the NA Elixir of Life cocktail currently on our Ghosts of Devil’s Swamp menu. The cocktail in general is a play on a traditional Painkiller but with the addition of kiwi to really brighten it up.”
Elixir of Life:
2 oz House NA “Spanish Rum” * (As an alternative Seedlip Spice works well)
4 oz Kiwi Painkiller Mix **
.5 oz Lime Juice
In a blender add all the ingredients with just a little bit of ice.
Blend until well incorporated and frothy.
Pour over fresh ice.

Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and orange wheel.

* House NA “Spanish Rum” (modified from the recipe from The Aviary in Chicago)
60g Sugar
5g Vanilla Paste
25g Orange Peel
7g Cacao Nibs
1g Nutmeg
2g Salt
1000g Water
In a medium saucepan, melt the sugar over medium-high heat until it is caramelized, taking care not to let it burn or begin to smoke.
Add the vanilla, orange peel, cacao nibs, nutmeg and salt, sitrring for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
Slowly add the water, stirring to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.
Allow to steep for 1 hour.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids.
Transfer the strained liquid to an airtight container and reserve in the refrigerator.
** Kiwi Painkiller Mix
400mL Can Coconut Cream (no sugar added)
400mL Orange Juice
400mL Pineapple Juice
400mL Kiwi Juice
1200g Sugar
Put can of coconut cream, unopened, into a hot water bath and let sit for 15 min.
Add all the juices and sugar into a blender and blend until well incorporated, working in batches.
Whisk in coconut cream to sweetened juices to incorporate and break up any remaining coconut.
Transfer liquid to an airtight container and reserve in the refrigerator.

Photo: Dan Watson

Six-Love at the Pelican Bar

A taste of Jamaica lies within Six-Love at the Pelican Bar thanks to the inclusion of Ting, Jamaican grapefruit juice soda that is both tart and sweet. The drink comes to us courtesy of Dan Watson, one of the bartending brains at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room (2527 W 25th St).
“I’m really more of a social drinker, so with bars not being an option for nearly a year I’ve been drinking a lot more booze-less conditions at home. This was a tart and refreshing one, which had me thinking back to playing dominoes with friends at a magical bar in Jamaica. (This recipe works lovely with some unaged Jamaican rum, as well, if you’re so inclined).”
Six-Love at the Pelican Bar:
.5oz fresh squeezed lime juice
.5oz ginger juice
.25oz quality grenadine*
3oz Ting (or Pink Ting, which I’ve only seen locally at the always amazing Irie Kitchen)
Shake all ingredients save the Ting with ice, add Ting to the Shaker and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange.
*There are some decent grenadines available commercially, but it’s way easier to make at home. Take equal parts (by weight) of unsweetened pomegranate juice and white cane sugar, and mix together in a blender until thoroughly combined. Add a squeeze of orange if you’re feeling extra fancy. Keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks.

Photo: Madison Johnson

NA Sangria

Madison Johnson, head “bourbon jockey” at Toast CLE (1365 W 65th St), gives the secret recipe to the NA Sangria that packs a lasting flavor punch.

“This is my favorite n/a drink right now because it’s super easy to make, packed with vitamin C, and a pitcher will last in the fridge for a few days!   Sangria recipes are super flexible and if you’re missing an ingredient, smart substitutions will almost always work.”

1 bottle alcohol removed red wine (try Fre red blend)
1/2 can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 12oz. bottle of Q Ginger Ale
1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice (or cinnamon)
1 orange, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 bunch grapes, sliced
1/2 red apple, sliced

1.) Combine all ingredients into a pitcher or decanter
2.) Stir to combine
3.) Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 mins or longer, to combine flavors.
4.) Serve over ice!