Downtown Date Night

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.

We’re Number One!

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. 

Mocktail Wonders at The Fold

These were 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.

Everyone 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 invents next.

A toast to being Number 1!

Don’t Put Me at the Kids Table

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.

What 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. 

Mocktails…It’s a Thing

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 Mocktail! 

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.