When it comes to menu real estate, which genre of drink is the out-and-out champion, in terms of space taken? The cocktail or the mocktail?
The answer, of course, is the one that incorporates spirits. Cocktails and all liquor-y libations tend to dominate beverage menus while those fancier drinks without alcohol are very often relegated to the last page.
Times are a-changin', though, and they change faster for the mocktail, it seems, every January. That's when the overindulgers of December look to lighter choices when dining and drinking out, and a fancy spirits-free sip is the ticket.
But where to find mocktails that are made with the care, pizzazz, and fresh ingredients of a bespoke cocktail? Look to...
Gracias Madre: It's rare to find a mocktail with a salted rim, but the Don't Leave Me Dry goes one better: It has a homemade blueberry salt rim, which sounds so fancy you and your tablemates may discuss nothing but that. Blackberry reduction, chili-infused fresh lime juice, mint, agave, sea salt, and sparkling water up the fancy-pantsy-ness.
Cafe Gratitude: The Effervescent sips just like its handle. Why? It's gingerale, made right at the restaurant, and it includes fresh ginger and agave, promising a piquant drink. The Elevated is rose-water lemonade, and if you're wondering if it incorporates "a splash of beet juice" it does (which you'll likely already know before ordering).
Carthay Circle: Disney California Adventure's fine dining choice isn't all about those martinis with the giant, globe-like ice cubes; the rose petal soda lends the 1930s-esque setting a charming, old-fashioned quaintness. Will you feel as if you're sipping some magic elixir that may spur you to song? You'll definitely feel unusual, as rose petal soda is not found in every vending machine, or any, really, these days.