When one is not drinking for any reason, they no longer need to settle for a club soda with lime, a Shirley Temple, or fruit juice parading as a “virgin” cocktail. Mocktails, simply described as nonalcoholic mixed drinks, have burst on the scene as creative, delicious, and interesting beverages, often featuring house-made components that tantalize and please all manner of palates.
Many fine restaurants and bars in Omaha have one or two craft mocktails on the menu, and nearly all mixologists are pleased to create a special drink upon request based on customer desires. However, there also exists an entire establishment dedicated to sober clientele who intend to keep it that way. Detox Sober Lounge, located at 7215 Blondo, was recently opened by Alexis Lawson. The celebratory spot serves craft bartender-designed mocktails and snacks on Friday and Saturday evenings, providing patrons with entertainment options like pool tables, dart boards, karaoke, drag shows, and board games. Beverages such as The Detox, a tropical-flavored treat, or the Skinny Fauxjito are both tasty and popular, providing a little something special for a night out.
To celebrate Dry January, the Continuing Education department at Metropolitan Community College is offering a 5-course mocktail pairing studio at Sage Bistro, the student-led restaurant of The Institute for the Culinary Arts on January 21 and 22. Each course is carefully paired with complementary mocktails, and patrons will leave with a recipe or two to add to their home mocktail arsenal.
At many establishments, the mocktail list also features nonalcoholic wines, beers, and spirits, all of which are more flavorful and nuanced than in earlier iterations. A wide variety of choices, including alcohol-removed wines, beverages infused with CBD or hemp, or zero-proof spirits, are readily available to wet one’s whistle.
Finally, it’s not necessary to imbibe to enjoy locally-produced spirits: Sandhills Elixir is a zero-proof nonalcoholic spirit distilled in Valentine, Nebraska with Ogallala Aquifer water. Flavors such as Sage, Chokecherry, and Cranberry are delicious on their own, but shine bright as components in the wide range of mocktail recipes provided on their social media channels. Sandhills Elixir is available via mail order or from local shops across the state.