The craft cocktail movement and a higher demand for nonalcoholic drinks has led bartenders to take a more creative approach to nonalcoholic drinks. No longer does getting a “mocktail” mean being limited to a soda or a drink labeled virgin. Gone are the days that these drinks are called mocktails, too, with many bartenders opting for less infantilizing terminology like “zero-proof” or “spirit-free.” There are also pop-ups specializing in zero-proof drinks, like Alt, and Zilch Market which hopes to be Atlanta’s first store specializing in nonalcoholic spirits.
You don’t have to try very hard to find a creatively made nonalcoholic drink that’s just as complex as a traditional cocktail (though sometimes a well-executed Shirley Temple is just what you need). From fruity concoctions to send ups of classic tipples, here are 15 zero-proof drinks to try around Atlanta. Some might change seasonally, so double check before you go if there’s one you have your heart set on trying.
The Lime Rickey at Chai Pani
Chai Pani doesn’t shy away from bold spices in its dishes, and the Lime Rickey is a perfect companion. The fruity concoction is simple—raspberry syrup, lime juice, and soda water—but it’s oh so refreshing.
Zero-Proof Negroni at Storico Vino
Jose Pereiro, beverage director of Storico Vino in Buckhead, wanted to make sure that non-drinkers could sip a classic Negroni with their friends. His take is sophisticated twist on the classic beverage, made with a blend of Pentire’s zero percent ABV gin, Wilfred’s nonalcoholic bittersweet aperitif, and Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso (a booze-less vermouth). An infusion of expressed orange peel takes it over the edge, and a large ice cube adds flair. Enjoy it with a bruschetta platter and salumi.
Gin-ish Daisy at Southern Belle
Southern Belle kind of rules when it comes to nonalcoholic drinks—they have 10-12 available at any time and a zero-proof pairing option—and each one is thoughtfully prepared. The Gin-ish Daisy is made with with zero-proof versions of gin and Triple Sec, rosemary, lemon, bitters, and orange.
Papa Don’t Preach at The Select
The Select’s chic dining room and patio in Sandy Springs is lovely for dinner but even better as a sunny happy hour and brunch spot. It’s ideal, then, that their zero-proof drink, Papa Don’t Preach, lends itself to daytime sipping (though we wouldn’t judge you if you ordered it at night). It’s a sweet and spicy blend of white peach puree, lemon juice, lavender simple syrup, rosemary extract, and jalapeño. It can also be found at the Select’s sister restaurant, Paces & Vine in Vinings.
Kumquat and yuzu soda at Juniper Cafe
The recently opened Juniper Cafe has five house-made sodas on its menu. Beverage director Carl Van Tyle Gilbert is especially excited about the kumquat and yuzu concoction, though, because it gives him a chance to highlight what he calls “nature’s Sweet Tarts” (kumquats) and yuzu, a bright and floral Asian citrus. All of the sugar in this soda comes from the fruit, he says. There are also notes of basil and black pepper in the soda, which cuts the sweetness.
The Staten at Atrium
Ponce City Market’s newest addition, Atrium, has lush decor and a drink program match. This includes nonalcoholic drinks, too, like the cheekily named Staten which riffs on the classic Manhattan. This drink combines Amethyst Blueberry Mint (a zero-proof spirit made in South Carolina) and nonalcoholic muscadine, stirred and served in an elegant cocktail glass.
Something Clever at Lazy Betty
Beets might scream juice bar to you, but at the elegant Lazy Betty they lend themselves nicely to a zero-proof drink. The Something Clever is a concoction of beet shrub, lemon juice, and club soda that’s tangy, slightly earthy, and definitely refreshing.
Tea Total at Rowdy Tiger
Rowdy Tiger in Midtown might be known for its extensive whiskey offerings, but they didn’t forget about the non-drinkers. The Tea Total pays homage to the Negroni and Jungle Bird by combining tannic tea (over-steeped Earl Grey), verjus, pineapple juice, and mango syrup.
Eight Line Poem at Lyla Lila
Who says zero proof drinks can’t be a little bit rock-and-roll? Lyla Lila thinks they can, which is why they drew inspiration for the Eight Line Poem from David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album. Ginger, sherry vinegar, orange, and lime oleo come together in this drink that has a little bit of a bite.
Daily Grind at Seed Kitchen and Bar
Marietta’s Seed has a brunch drink that’ll give you a different kind of buzz if you’re forgoing the bottomless mimosas. Cold brew is stirred with pasilla syrup and cold brew ice cubes before being topped with foamy oat milk. A bourbon smoked chile powder garnish adds a little something special on top.
Bedouin’s Secret Garden at Leon’s Full Service
Leon’s patios are ideal hangout spots to enjoy this drink that channels springtime with pomegranate, grapefruit, elderflower, and soda. Its citrusy dryness makes it a great companion to that bucket of fries that you know you’re going to order with at least three dipping sauces.
Strawberry Sparkler at Lure
If you’re dining at this Midtown mainstay, you’re probably a fan of seafood and want a drink that’s light and won’t compete with those coastal flavors. The Strawberry Sparkler is just that. Made with strawberries, citrus syrup, and soda, it goes down easy, just like those cold water oysters.
Hand-Spun Sunshine at Iberian Pig Decatur
More sunshine is always a good thing, and Iberian Pig in Decatur knows this. The tapas institution known for pork cheek tacos and jamon has long offered zero-proof drinks, but the Hand-Spun Sunshine is especially a standout, with a tropical lilt thanks to pineapple, tarragon, lime, orgeat, and saline.
Hibiscus Mock Mule at Puttshack
Atlanta’s only indoor mini-golf experience has a handful of zero-proof drinks to sip while tapping that ball around obstacles. Opt for this mock mule made with hibiscus syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer.
Unhinged at Bar Margot
It’s not always as simple as removing the alcohol to make a zero-proof drink, but Bar Margot made it work for their Unhinged cocktail, which typically includes vodka. The booze-free version features Earl Grey lavender syrup, black tea bitters, ginger beer, and orange, and is best enjoyed with their killer lunchtime burger. It’s also worth noting that Bar Margot makes an outstanding Shirley Temple—complete with maraschino cherries, of course—if you prefer to keep it classic.