The newest bar trend is for booze-free options, see what Boise has to offer
Author: McCale Ashenbrener
My old party trick was to bite into a can of cheap beer and shotgun it, vigorously drinking through the ragged hole as quickly as possible. It was quite impressive really. Now I have a stroller for two and avoid hangovers like the coronavirus, and I’m not alone. Kate Taylor wrote in Business Insider, “A 2018 report from Berenberg Research found that respondents in their teens and early 20s were drinking over 20% less per capita than millennials — who drank less than baby boomers and Gen Xers — did at the same age.” Sales of liquor and beer are down while nonalcoholic beer and cocktail sales are exploding. Sober bars are popping up in hip cities all over the nation. The message is clear, people want social connection, while also craving healthy alternatives.
What makes a good cocktail, also makes a good mocktail. It is the balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, mindful of temperature and texture, all with a beautiful delivery. The best cocktails are complete thoughts of their own, everything in its right place. Mocktails have all the swank of a cocktail: fresh juices, shrubs or tart drinkable vinegars, and tinctures with herbaceous extracts and infusions, minus the booze.
So whether pregnant, in recovery, or just wanting more clean, healthy living, these fine establishments and their delicious mocktails are the best in Boise.
The tried and true Red Feather did not disappoint with The Sage of Innocence for $4.25. It was bright with Martinelli’s sparkling cider providing a fun fizz, while the house made cranberry sage cordial brought a tart balance. Aptly named, it felt like listening to The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever whilst reclining on a blanket in the shade of a sycamore tree on a summer day.
Fairly new to the block, Water Bear, has an exciting list of sans or low booze options on their Lo + No menu. The Eddy Out for $8 boasted pineapple, lime, habanero shrub and non-alcoholic beer. While I’d have liked more spice from the habanero, it was thick and juicy, yet still effervescent. I imagined myself in a 70’s basement, melted into a velour couch, listening to the Velvet Underground’s Stephanie Says sipping on the Eddy Out.
The Shangri-La of spirit-free drinks is the very new Free Spirit Lounge and home to iOne Bitters. They have an impressive rotating menu of booze-free drinks, shrubs, bitters, and syrups. Everything is diligently house made with local ingredients, like rose hips foraged from the Boise River and then energized with crystals and moonlight. The Elevation for $8 combines pasilla, perilla and clover tea with celery shrub, smoked blood orange, rosemary simple syrup, fresh lime juice, smoked citrus salt and smoked bitters. It drank like a walk on a fall day listening to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Brisk and earthy, it grew in flavor and complexity with each sip, all whilst helping to balance my third-eye chakra.
My shotgunning days may have waned, but I’m feeling way more spry on Saturday morn. So whatever the reason to be off the sauce, do not deprive, Boise has many palate pleasing options for the sober curious.(526)