Zero Equals More

As seen in Teetotaler Magazine

The AF movement is a firework with an ever shortening fuse that is on the verge of exploding onto the mainstream scene.

We all started somewhere to get where we are now; which is at the beginning of something excitingly full of possibility.  My personal journey was more divinely handed to me rather than a decision made on my own.  I entered the AF community after developing intolerance to alcohol that would made me sick for days after one drink, but not every single drink.  For me it was a roulette game of, “Will this be the one that lands me on the sofa, out of commission, or not?”  After three separate painful episodes over an extended period of time of about a year and a half, I stopped trying.  It wasn’t worth the risk.  My final alcohol drink landed me in the Urgent Care clinic.  Lesson learned, I put down drinking alcohol and picked up a new lifestyle with a purpose.  I wanted to continue living complete with celebrations and socializing, just without booze.  It seemed simple enough until I went out and gave it a try.

My mission was born out of necessity to socialize with a drink that didn’t include dire consequences. Now…in my corner of the world at the end of 2018 AF drinks were pretty sparse.  There was only one restaurant in town that had mocktails on the menu.  At most places if I ordered a mocktail I got curious looks or even snarky comments from unenthusiastic bartenders. Undaunted, I was determined to see mocktails on every menu.  So I began talking with restaurants and bars spreading the word that a new category of customer was looming on their horizon.  I passed out mocktails at food festivals, art walks, ladies nights out, and even competed in an Egg Nog competition just to educate the public on the idea of alcohol free cocktails/mocktails.  Most people humored me by tasting my wares.  Some people asked where I sold my drinks.  Very few understood that I was selling a concept – a lifestyle.  Not everyone took me seriously, but by the end of 2019 there were twelve places in town with mocktails on their menu. (Insert celebratory fanfare here)  Meanwhile I began an Instagram account and found a community of like-minded souls that inspired, supported, and encouraged each other. I kept hearing my thoughts echoed back to me there, “Why can’t I socialize minus the alcohol?”  “Don’t seat me at the kids’ table with a Shirley Temple.”  “Please set your mind free to create an AF cocktail worth sipping.”   “Having a drink without alcohol IS the point.”  One part of my life was an uphill struggle while in another area I was meeting more and more kindred spirits.

Then 2020 hit….

The entire world shut down and life as we knew it literally vanished almost overnight.  This “Mother of all disrupters” year has brought surprising bright spots and devastating losses.  I hunkered down along with everyone else, and lost touch with many of the local places with whom I had built relationships.  I don’t know if they currently serve mocktails or not.  Although, it’s probably a safe bet that they aren’t all that interested in conceptual expansion into another drink category.  I believe they have been hanging on for dear life, and sticking with what they know, which is … sell booze.  A big personal loss for me was a local bar that was near and dear to my heart succumbed to the shattered economy and closed.   I was their first customer the day they opened, and the first actual paid-for drink they served was a mocktail.  It was very sad to see them go. 

On the other hand, as we all turned away from our physical communities we began to gather on the internet.  We have mastered the art of Zoom meetings and Facebook live events and IGTV sharing.  It has been quite an impressive pivot personally from local to global interests.  I may have lost touch with people and place here, but I now can say I have new friends in Spain, Australia, the UK and across North America.   It has been a year of Mindful Drinking festivals and Beer festivals and interesting group hangouts with amazing people.  This year I have witnessed both the AF community and AF industry grow exponentially.  There has been quite a number of new brands take off and brave new entrepreneurs take on the task of packaging and selling them.  Their courage is heartening.   It has been a year of people taking challenges and turning them into opportunities.

            Missing your celebration bubbly wine?  No problem!  There are many wine makers who continue to develop better and better NA and AF versions of their wines.  Is opening a wine bottle an issue for you?  Well, there are enough canned versions of these beauties and wine infused sparkling water brands to satisfy.

            The most successful drink translation to NA and AF in my opinion is beer.  Nothing is lost in the flavor of countless craft brews on the market.  This category continues to grow in the most delicious ways.

            Alcohol free spirits is also making enormous strides in “sippability”.   What began as botanical water distillations has blossomed into delightfully textured libations.

            In order to solve the problem of getting these products into the hands of AF consumers brand new companies have started up as bottle shops and curated packagers that offer introductions to multiple beverages that before could only be purchased on the manufacturer’s website.  One stop internet shopping is becoming easier and easier.

            And marketing the products directly to the people who want them?  This is where I, among others step in and highlight them in our IG stories and feeds.   We interview the product makers, and develop new ideas for drinks to share with the world.  Everyone I have met so far has had a generous spirit in common.  From both sides of the equator people are happy to use their 15 minutes of internet fame to give wholeheartedly to this community.

As my perspective shifted, the mission shifted from “A mocktail for every menu” to crusading for bringing the AF movement into the mainstream globally.  By sharing the stories of the fascinating people I meet and the fantastic places and products I find; I hope to engage, enlighten, and entertain the general public.  For me, zero has meant a whole new world.  I didn’t just give up drinking alcohol.  I gained a universal kinship and exciting new way of life.

Mocktail MO’s Little Rock Mocktail Guide

Curious about “Mindful Drinking” or what a Dry January or Sober October might mean for you?  If you’re interested in making modifications, if not all out prohibition in your drinking habits, January might be the time to take some time off.

Taking a month to put some distance between you and over indulgence is not a bad idea.  The good news is it doesn’t have to include you wearing a shroud and acting like a monk.  Being sober can actually include being social.  No need to worry about club soda as your only option when out and about.  Whether it’s “Dry January” or “Dry Any Day”, there are quite a few places in Little Rock to go out with friends and enjoy an actual cocktail without the consequence.   

                …Welcome to the land of Mocktails!

Some of the drinks I have had the pleasure of trying, and some I look forward to tasting soon.  Check back with the guide every so often because menus are always changing.

Places with Mocktails on the Menu:


  • Peter Webber – Cold brew Coffee and Lemonade
  • Clean Sheet – Pineapple Juice, Ginger beer, Caramelized Pineapple
  • Shliefer – An AF version of an Old Fashioned.
  • Mixed Doubles – Cold brew Coffee lime Honey syrup and Tropical nectar.

Atlas Bar: Winner of the Monarch of MOcktober crown for the Fruit Ninja –  A magical blend of fruit and tonic. 

Raduno :

  • Lavender Limonata – Limonata soda, Lavender Syrup, Lemon
  • For Your Health – Yerba mate syrup, Lemon juice, Ginger beer
  • Cherry Basil Tonic – Basil syrup, Grenadine, Tonic
  • Tiki Me Back to Summer – Grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, Simple syrup, Lemon lime soda, Soda water

Baja Grill:

  • Tastes like a Margarita 
  • Tastes like a Mojito
  • Tastes like a Moscow Mule
  • Tastes like a Spiked Cherry Limeade 

Mockingbird Bar and Taco: 

  • Cherry Lime Mockarita
  • Fauxjito


  • Mango Mule – Cucumber, Mango, Honey syrup, Ginger beer,Rosemary
  • Blueberry Smash – Blueberries, Rosemary, Honey syrup, Lemon, Sparkling water
  • Strawberry Fields – Strawberry syrup, Hibiscus syrup, Soda, Lime

Heights Taco and Tamale:

  • Mercantile Soda No. 1 – Pinapple syrup, Cucumber water, Lemon juice, Soda water
  • Tesote – Black tea, Lemon juice, Simple syrup

The Heights Pizzeria

  • Phoebe’s Favorite – Ginger beer, Grapefruit juice, Muddled basil
  • Cranberry Limonata – Cranberry, Lemonade, Soda
  • Blood Orange Tea – Tea, Blood Orange juice, Simple syrup
  • Heineken Zero is also on the menu

The Fold:

  • Work Barbie – Lemon juice, Lavender syrup
  • The C.C. – Muddled cucumber, Mint, Lime juice, Soda water

Local Lime:

  • Two to Mango – Lime, Mango/Chile syrup, Sparkling water
  • Frida’s Fresca – Hibiscus/Rosehip syrup, Blueberries, Pineapple, Lime, Cream of coconut

Zeteo Coffee: The Orange Espresso is light, effervescent and completely uplifting.

**Teaberry Kombucha – Really in a category all it’s own.  Check them out for whatever new combo they are brewing.  Always a new discovery!

Places On Board with Making Mocktails:

They may not feature mocktails in print, but they are happy to make you one.

  • Kemuri –  Basil lime tonic and Tropical fruit Paradise  
  • South On Main – They are happy to make a “Virgin” anything you wish
  • Petit and Keet – The Dandelion and Dragon Fire are special off-menu mocktails not to be missed!
  • The Pantry – Their virgin Moscow Mule is pretty lip smacking!

What you can find at the Grocery Store

  • Kroger – Fre dealcoholized wine and Heineken Zero
  • Wal Mart – Heineken Zero
  • Trader Joes – Gerstel 0.5% beer
  • Fresh Market – H2Opps Water

The Happiest of Trails

Happy trails to you…until we meet again.
Happy trails to you…keep smiling until then.

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.

Happy trails to you…’til we meet again.

                         -Dale Evans and Roy Rogers

Certain occasions need to be celebrated in a memorable way.   As 2019 marks fifteen years of marriage for my husband and me, it was therefore worthy of an unforgettable experience.  To honor this momentous adventure together we decided to visit our happy place, Morro Bay, California; and since the hubs hadn’t seen the western U.S., a road trip was in order.  There is nothing quite like the expansive vistas that the west offers, and they are completely missed by plane.  You have to be a part of it to really understand the mind blowing beauty of it all.  Our course took us through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and finally California.  Not to play favorites, but I have to say that driving down the 70 highway through Utah is like being inside an oil painting of a western landscape.  It is simply indescribable, the magnitude of its beauty. Every turn of the head, angle of the sun, mile down the road is breathtaking. Needless to say…our fifteenth anniversary will be remembered. 

The downside of road trips is weariness at the end of the day.  Mostly you’re stiff and tired and want to hit the sack, and this was true for a lot of our stops along the way to our landing spot. (I intend on circling back another time to investigate mocktails further in the future in Colorado as well as a few other places we passed through.  I understand the NA craft beer scene is pretty next level there, and a whole other trip should probably be planned to do it justice.  Stay tuned friends…I’ll see what I can do about that.)  The M casino and spa in Las Vegas was the first place we had the opportunity to dress up a bit and have a night cap. We had taken our time driving through the aforementioned splendor of Utah and were trying to push through to California, but Nevada was as far as we could go. Road weary and desperate for a place to stay outside of the neon jungle that is Las Vegas, we soldiered on until the skyline got darker. 

Night Cap at M Casino & Spa

The M was the last hotel we saw before the desert began again.  As we drove to the entrance I volunteered to go in and see if there was a vacancy. I didn’t care how much it cost; it was time to stop. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t’ sure at the time where we were exactly – Henderson? Las Vegas?  The lovely woman at the front desk set me straight on our location, and during the check-in process found out we were celebrating our anniversary.  Not long after we were in our room chocolate covered strawberries were delivered compliments of the front desk.  Nice, huh?  And the room was sexaaay! Sexy!  Not a clichéd mirrors on the ceiling kind of thing, but a low light twinkling skyline, bathtub with a window to the twinkling skyline sort of sexy.  I’m not gonna lie, it was a great stop.  We filled our bellies with a fantastic meal and set off to the bar to wrap-up the day with a mocktail.  Continuing this theme of fabulous hospitality, there was no problem ordering alcohol free drinks.  The bartender offered a mojito and suggested a Heineken zero for my husband.  We sat and blissfully enjoyed our beverages while congratulating ourselves on our good fortune.

Welcome Home

The next day was a long haul to The Inn at Morro Bay, our celebration destination. We arrived just at sunset (a perfect time to be in Morrow Bay) and soaked it all in over a cocktail.  We sat at the bar a little worse for wear, and were treated by our bartender Tracy like family.  No sooner had I asked “do you serve alcohol free…” she finished the sentence, “Mocktails?” All I could do was nod and smile.  She made a perfectly refreshing fruit and cucumber mocktail that blended into the colors of the setting sun while the hubs opted for a full octane Blue Hawaii.  It felt like coming home. 

Sunset in Morro Bay

After a restful night sleeping to the sound of the distant fog horn sighing its monotone song it was the big day. Fifteen years of a committed relationship is quite something if you think about it; but it’s just a chorus compared to the complete love ballad of twenty-five years our dear friends that we had come to visit were celebrating.  Our anniversaries are one day apart from each other, and occasionally we get to celebrate together.  Because this was quite a milestone for us all we made the pilgrimage out west to share in the festivities.  The day was spent touring around the exceptional central coast of California just soaking in with every pore the charm and glorious nature that part of the country displays.  The vast ocean and all its creatures entertained us by just going about their day.  Otters twirled in the kelp or slept in their prayer poses, seagulls squawked begging for food, land squirrels practically sat in our laps eager for nibbles of whatever snack we had, and sea lions barked at each other for the best sunning spots all while the pulse of the ocean rolled on.  Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but my hear lives at Morro rock. 

Anniversary Mocktails at Ventana

That night we were treated to another Technicolor sunset as we dined at the Ventana Grill in Pismo beach.  Did they have mocktails on the menu? Yes, yes they did!  I ordered the AF version of their coconut mojito, a blend of coconut milk, lime, and mint. The hubs had a zesty muddled berry, lime, and orange AF Ventana View.  I loved both drinks equally.  Both were light on the taste buds yet full of flavor.  We all ended the evening at the fiery 1865 Craft House and Kitchen where we had wild and wonderful Unicorn Palomas which they graciously deleted alcohol for me. 

Unicorn Palomas at 1865 Craft House

A treat for the eyes as much as it is to drink.  It starts with a charcoal black salted rim and inside is where the magic happens… a huge blue ice cube floats in the middle of the drink changing the color as it melts. Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo! Unicorn alchemy in a glass.   The night was getting late, and it was time to call it a wrap on the day’s revelry and tuck ourselves into bed.

We bid farewell to our beloved Morro Bay and headed back east with a side trip to visit more friends in Palm Springs and another opportunity to sample a new mocktail.  Dinner was at the Tropicale, a restaurant that maintains an absolutely perfect balance of homage to the mid-century beginning of the area and fully modern cuisine.

Tropicale Palm Springs
Cheers from Palm Springs

The hubs went neck deep into the vibe and had a dirty martini.  I was given an excellent lemongrass and basil mojito. Wow is all I can say about that.  It was completely delicious.  I had never had lemongrass in a drink before – I can’t recommend it enough.  It was so tasty with the other herbaceous ingredients, and made the drink beautiful to look at along with the flower decorating the rim.  It was a very memorable drink to end a very memorable anniversary road trip. 

We hot-footed it home replete with soul redeeming re-connections with old friends, great food, nature, and the Pacific.  A very memorable anniversary journey indeed.

Dos Rocas – Ole’ Baby!

If I were an adventurer looking for mocktail treasure …   Oh, but I am and I have found an absolute gem at Dos Rocas Beer and Taco. Ok friends and followers, I do see a pattern in my return trips to the SoMa district, but so far I keep coming up with delightful mocktail finds.  What’s a girl to do?

Dos Rocas Cherry Lime Mockarita

It was another damp dreary Saturday afternoon, and I was restless to discover something new.  Dos Rocas had been on my radar with its simple unassuming lightbulb framed sign quietly inviting people in.  Curious about what was beyond the sign, Dos Rocas became the next watering hole to explore.  Inside, the vibe is casual and friendly.  I headed straight for the bar tucked away in the corner of the wide open restaurant space.  The usual thing happened when I asked Stephaney, the bar tender, for a mocktail.  “A what?” she asked back, confused.  After introducing myself and explaining my mission we were definitely on the same page.  I ordered a margarita and anything else alcohol-free she deemed appropriate.  Stephaney went to work on the margarita a little uncertain at first, but then everything seemed to click. Fresh lime juice and other tasty ingredients went into the rocks glass. The result was a pretty cool looking drink with a bright red layer at the bottom and lime wedge perched atop the salted rim. Everything in between was tangy lime lusciousness.  Stephany called it the mocktail version of their Cherry Lime Margarita.  Yes Ma’am! It was just what I wanted.  The balance of flavors of salt with the tartness of the drink was the perfect complement to my chorizo tacos. This mocktail deserves a permanent place on Dos Rocas menu as their signature alcohol alternative cocktail.  It looks and tastes like a drink for grown-ups that stands toe to toe with any “adult beverage”.  This drink is a definite jewel!  Next time you’re in Dos Rocas give it a try, and tell Stephaney Mocktail Mo sent you.