To those of you who read my blog- I know, I’ve already written about Raduno, but some things require more attention. Which is why when Bo Bennett, General Manager and resident mocktail wizard at Raduno asked me to taste-test what he was creating for summer I had to say,” Yes”. If you haven’t had a mocktail at Raduno, what makes their drinks so special is the care that goes into the combining of ingredients. It all starts with the base of each drink, freshly juiced fruits, veggies, and herbs. All that lusciousness is then added to cocktail mixers that dance together on your tongue in joyous harmony. Bo’s absolute passion for the garden and combining the freshest of flavors are the key to what makes me come back for more.
The Summer Mocktail menu will still contain the standards – the Cucumber Limonata, which up to now has been my favorite and the For your health (an incredibly close second). Both drinks are for sure fabulously tasty. The freshly juiced cucumber and lemon flavors are light and slightly effervescent. The For Your Health is also delicious with its herby essence and floral finish. But I was there to taste the new kid on the block, the Cherry Basil Tonic. To begin, it is a beautiful drink served in a cut-glass rocks glass garnished with fresh basil and lemon slice. It resembles a sunrise with a pink hue settled at the bottom of the glass that graduates up into translucence. Bo used Pink House Alchemy dark cherry grenadine with fresh basil as a base and finished with tonic water to create something that at first sip brought me back to the days of sitting on Columbus avenue in NYC people watching and sipping on vodka tonics. My mouth immediately started to water from the astringent tonic flavor. The underlying hint of cherry and basil flavors round out the drink perfectly. This mocktail is a definite go-to summer sipper.
If you’re wondering why the encore at Raduno my answer is this; menus change and I want to keep you up-to-date with what’s out there. True to my mission of “discovering the best mocktails in Little Rock and beyond”, I have reported on what I’ve found. Which is also why I am repeating myself, there are very few mocktail offerings in Little Rock. This leads me to my new mission: A Mocktail for Every Menu.
Read about it in my next installment on mocktailmo.blog
In preparation for Fat Tuesday, we in Little Rock like to
party on like there actually is no tomorrow.
In the SoMa district the party begins with the Mardi Gras parade down
Main Street, is followed by brunch at any one of the establishments in the
area, and then continues until Ash Wednesday.
Not really…well maybe.
This year’s post
parade brunch brought me to Raduno. Now,
I had been to Raduno before my unfortunate current state of health that
prohibits me from imbibing alcohol, and had a lovely Bloody Mary garnished with
a slice of pizza. I knew they served
Mocktails, and boy do they! I have found
my Nirvana on Main Street. At Raduno
there is actually a Mocktail menu
with three drinks to choose from. There
is the Good Luck Chuck, the Cucumber and Limonata fusion, along with the To
Your Health; all of which come with a description of ingredients, but no need. The flavor alchemy is the product of Bo Bennett,
whose wizardry begins in the garden. Coming
to Raduno after owning a juicing business, Bo has a wonderful understanding of how
Mocktails should taste. I have to
confess that I had all three, and couldn’t for the life of me pick a
favorite. Each one is really complex in
flavor and so worthy of taking one’s time to enjoy. The edible flower garnish really brings the
cocktail experience all the way home.
Nothing is missing. Each drink is
visually appealing and tastes fabulous.
For all you good souls giving up the sauce for Lent, may I recommend
Raduno for guilt-free cocktails? Join me
for forty days of hooch-free, booze less, sansahol, Mocktail bliss. Of course, my mission will continue on, yours
will end at Easter.
Just another National Margarita Day, and I’m hard at work on the lookout for Little Rock’s finest Mock-arita offerings.
Since Sauce(d) had been on my wish-list of restaurants to try for a while, I decided to see what sort of boozeless cocktail they might have to celebrate national margarita day. Now, for the most part in this adventure I’ve encountered puzzled faces when ordering Mocktails, which held true at Sauce(d) at first, but then…Wow! With a mischievous smile, the lovely and talented Emily walked away to create. She returned with a light, refreshing Mock-arita full of flavor that had me sipping with joy. It was so good, I decided to stay a while.
I think it was how game Emily was to devise new drinks that kept me in my seat not wanting to leave. I settled in and ordered another one, but something different. For any of you who read my blog, this Mocktail movement that I am trying to generate does have a genuine purpose, but also provides wonderful moments of connecting with new people. Emily’s enthusiasm behind the bar was so contagious, I gave something else a try. My new side challenge is to have a drink named after me, so I asked if she could make a “Motini”. That devilish grin reappeared, and she asked me to describe myself in three words. “Not sweet, straightforward, and loving”, I tossed back to her as she left. She returned with much swagger, and rightfully so. If I were a Mocktail this is what I would be. In a stemless martini glass was a deep berry red fusion of flavors with a distinct zap of lime. At first the not-too-sweet berries played with my taste buds, and then the citrus zinged like a lightning bolt that made me smack my lips and pucker a little. Yep, she nailed it! My friends tasted it and we all giggled in agreement – flavorful, not too sweet, with a punch at the end.
It was time to go, and I have to say that an entertaining afternoon was had by all. The best part was that after leaving a bar I drove home and didn’t have to think “be cool…be cool”, behind the wheel. I just drove home. A big “Thank You” to Sauce(d) and Emily for a fun Margarita Day.
Firsts are always thrilling; first kisses, first job, first time on two wheels… I had the joy of being the first customer at Atlas Bar.
The vibe at
Atlas is upper west side New York neighborhood hang-out. You definitely want to spend time there
because each space is so inviting, from the cheerful lipstick red barstools and
table chairs to the pool table area in the back of the bar. It lures you in and allows room to get
comfortable, so I did. Sitting at the
end of the bar I watched as everyone in the room was humming with anxious
anticipation like thoroughbreds at the starting gate. I was handed a menu, and told the kitchen
wouldn’t open for a while, which didn’t bother me. I was there for a drink.
menu I saw that instead of a range of Mocktails they have expeditiously put “Dealer’s
Choice” on the list of drinks. This lets
the bartender on duty decide exactly what you’ll get. Being a person who likes surprises, this way
of ordering was exciting and fun. It gives the customer a chance to have A) a drink specifically made to their
tastes, or B) a drink that expresses the personality of the person behind the
Marcus were tending the bar- two dealers, two different drinks. First up was Samira’s lovely fruit with a
ginger-zip drink that was tasty. She easily reproduced the same drink for
another customer, qualifying it as a standard – I dubbed it the “Atlas Standard”.
I asked Marcus what sort of mocktail
would he deal, and he did a little research into what types of drinks I prefer.
After getting his answers he laid down the voodoo that he do so well and
concocted a drink that very much tasted like an old fashioned, I’ll call it “Voodoo
Doll”. Of course, these are just made up
names for my amusement. Every time I go
back to Atlas Bar I hope to have something new.
spending time talking to people and watching the crowd grow it was time to move
on. I will always remember my first at Atlas Bar, and the irony of me being the
first customer wasn’t lost on the owner, Tony Poe. “I’ll never forget the first drink we made was
a Mocktail”, he mused as we said our good-byes.
For those of
you reading my blog for the first time, my own personal reason for drinking
non-alcoholic drinks is a developed intolerance for alcohol. (Think of it as a dietary restriction that
evolved into an extraordinarily fun lifestyle.)
One alcohol drink makes me sick for days, which of course is absolutely
no fun. But I fit within only one
section of a large category of people who don’t consume alcohol for countless
reasons. Here are a few: There should always
be a designated driver for groups of two or more people drinking. These people
want to feel included even if they are being the “responsible ones”. Many people don’t imbibe because of religious
beliefs. Pregnant women, who do actually
drink, won’t during pregnancy. Perhaps you live in a dry county, of which there
are plenty in the Bible belt. Not to mention people who are underage, and
curious about cocktail culture. And last, but not least a large number of
people who have devoted the rest of their lives to not drinking due to
addiction. This makes up a large population
of people who, for whatever reason, don’t consume alcohol, but do spend money
and go out. Am I painting a clear picture?
For those in
the food and beverage business, this group of consumers is a source of revenue
that has not yet been taken seriously.
Wouldn’t you agree that a bit of room on the menu for Mocktails would
show considerable hospitality to an up-to-now untapped profit resource?
We want to
go out and have fun, and not feel less-than, or excluded, or as a distraction
to a busy bartender. The time for Mocktail culture is now. Let’s get this party started.
The atmosphere at Allsopp and Chapple is decidedly contemporary upscale casual with comfy leather chairs, and uncluttered décor.
Out to dinner on a Friday night in Downtown Little Rock, my husband and I decided to try Allsopp and Chapple, a new establishment known for its signature burger. True to my mission, when our drink order was requested, I asked for a Mocktail. Our waiter unflinchingly replied that they didn’t have Mocktails per se, but he’d see what he could do. I’m not gonna lie, I totally appreciate a “can do” attitude, and the bartender fearlessly put something together. What he came back to the table with was uncomplicated, yet satisfying; a fruity mixture of ginger beer and pineapple that turned out to be the perfect complement to my delish Farmer’s Market Hash. As with all newborns, this baby came out nameless, so we christened it the Allsopp and Chapple fizz.
Would I return to Allsopp and Chapple, or recommend it to
friends? Without a doubt for the food,
and for alcohol imbibers it’s a thumbs up.
For me, I look forward to a little Mocktail real estate on the menu.
Every journey starts with the first step. I couldn’t imagine a better beginning than the exclusive tasting of the upcoming Spring Mocktail menu at The Fold restaurant. Sarah Repp, the bar manager is the genius behind these spirit free libations. We had talked a few days before about the void in grown-up, alcohol free cocktails, and how she wanted to create a new menu for spring. I was more than happy to oblige as a guinea pig, so a few friends and I got together on a gray February afternoon to experiment. In stark contrast, a rainbow of color shone from the bar with six absolutely delicious creations. From white to pastel green and pink to the most saturated indigo-red, each in an individually shaped glass.
no ordinary non-alcoholic drinks. No,
these were Mocktails with a capital
M! Each one had an identity of its own,
and none were a disappointment. There was a standard virgin pina colada that
was light as a feather with its tropical sweetness. My personal favorite was an herby rosemary
citrus combination that you could easily sip on a hot summer evening. We all decided that the drink we called “Berry
Minty” was the perfect first date drink because it was refreshingly fruity and
left your breath smelling great. One
tasted like Skittles, but not as sweet.
We called that one “Taste the Rainbow”.
There was a yummy cucumber mint combo that was spring in a glass, and a
Pear Collins that brought sophisticated Rat Pack thoughts to mind.
agreed that they wouldn’t feel less-than if they ordered any of these Mocktails
when out with friends for drinks. Each
drink had complex flavors that deserved to be savored, and I left absolutely
effervescent with joy. What a way to start! Sarah completely gets it when it
comes to Mocktails, and I look forward to many visits to The Fold to see what she
So.. Here we are at the start of something big. It turns out that Mocktails are a thing starting to make traction in popular culture. What an exciting time to be an imbiber of non-alcoholic bevs. Up to now when I have gone to a restaurant and asked for a Mocktail it has been a hit-or-miss situation. A couple of times I lucked into a bored, but creative bar tender who took the challenge and came through. Mostly I‘ve been offered some version of a Shirley Temple, which is a sort of maraschino syrup soda, or fruity slushies. There must be another way to go out for drinks, and not feel like I should be sitting at the kids table.
I’m looking for is a non-alcoholic drink for grown-ups. Something that isn’t sweet enough to rot my
teeth, or with a name reminiscent of a six-year-old in ringlets. I am seeking a drink with a level of
sophistication worthy of the name Cocktail. How many more adults could be served if they
were offered a menu of Mocktail creations?
Come on all you mixologists out there- you artisanal barkeeps; I’m certain that if you put your mind to it…the
sky’s the limit.
Bathroom tile floor
seeking–toilette hugging- head pounding misery is where my story begins. After turning 45 I began having recurring
headaches that lasted for days. What brought the problem into sharp focus was
three separate occasions when I had a single drink before dinner and ended up
in the aforementioned position in the loo.
I was desperate for and answer, and saw a doctor who told me to wash my
hands more – Hah! Undaunted I searched the internet and
discovered Alcohol Intolerance. (Think
of lactose intolerance but with booze.) The heavens opened and the angels
sang. Halleluiah! Something that described my symptoms and made
sense. Except the part where the most
common risk factor is being of Asian descent.
Uncertain, but I’ll roll with it.
Problem identified, the
solution to the problem is to not drink alcohol. Now, I’m a gal who enjoys the social aspect
of adult beverages like meeting friends for drinks, or having a bourbon while
making pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, and the midnight “chin-chin” of champagne
flutes on New Year’s Eve. Being alcohol
free has really put a dent in celebrations.
What does a body do? Have a
I am on the hunt for
Arkansas’ best non-alcoholic cocktail.
There are plenty of recipes online , but I’m curious what our foodie
culture has to offer. Please join me on
my journey. Together we will achieve
oneness through Mocktails.