The Best of the Booze-Less

NonAlcoholicNo More Boring Soda Water and Lime Wedges

Story and Photography by Molly Rippinger

Today’s bartenders are catering to teetotalers with concoctions that are just as complex and delicious as the real deal. “You want the drink to be refreshing,” says Joshua Wolter, beverage director and general manager at C. 1880. “Also, a nonalcoholic drink should never take away from the experience of enjoying a cocktail.”

Ask Wolter for a nonalcoholic option at C. 1880 and he’ll deliver a drink that isn’t dulled down. During late summer months, he reaches for cucumber or ripe melon, fresh herbs and a bottle of Fever-Tree ginger beer. Shaken, strained and served in a coupe, no one will know the concoction is sans spirits.

Belly up to the bar at Goodkind and enjoy the invigorating flavors of a craft soda laced with fresh ginger, Szechuan peppercorns and lime juice. The housemade ginger beer, served over ice with a lime, arrives at the table in its own individual bottle.

NonAlcoholic2Tiki drinks are notoriously heavy on the alcohol, but if you ask for a booze-less option at Foundation Bar, they’ll happily oblige— umbrella and all. Try the lightly carbonated “Lei Cooler” with fresh pomegranate, lime and grapefruit juices, finished with a splash of fragrant and floral rosewater.

The Hamilton’s menu can swing both ways when it comes to containing alcohol. The “Snap Into It” combines muddled sugar snap peas, lemon juice and ginger along with Top Note Tonics’ bitter lemon and a splash of soda water.

The bartenders at Balzac accommodate nonalcoholic requests by making a few modifications to the classic Collins. Starting with a housemade lavender simple syrup, the cocktail is crafted with fresh lemon juice and basil, and topped with soda water.

Wherever you go to whet your whistle, Milwaukee restaurants have options for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Balzac Wine Bar
1716 N. Arlington Pl. •

C. 1880
110 S. 1st St. •

Foundation Bar
2718 N. Bremen St. •

The Hamilton
823 E. Hamilton St. •


MollyRippingerMolly Rippinger is a writer with a passion for the food and restaurant industry. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she is well versed in all things food-related and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Marquette University. A Midwesterner at heart, Molly is eager to see Milwaukee’s food scene continue to develop in the years to come.

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