Listen. You don’t owe us, your friends, your mom, or even (especially?) the bartender an explanation for why you’re not drinking right now. Taking a boozecation for Dry January or Sober October for a healthy little reset? Good for you. Overdid it on the hard seltzer this summer and can’t handle the thought of another black cherry White Claw? We feel you. Or maybe you just don’t feel like responding to overly nosy questions. As far as we’re concerned, no reason is the best reason of all.
Luckily, zero-proof cocktails, mocktails, or whatever you want to call them are getting easier to find around town. We found six spots with very delicious booze-less selections for you.
This choose-your-own-flavor-adventure drink comes from the menu dubbed “mock”-tails. Ask for a taste—sweet, sour, fruity, salty, spicy—and one of Plat 99’s mixologists will concoct a drink. Each is $6, which is about half the cost of the bar’s more spirited cocktails. The spicy version, made with cucumber, jalapeño, lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda is tart and refreshing. Bonus: The bite of the jalapeño and the tangy lime work perfectly with those rich, buttery, delicious, and complimentary bags of truffle popcorn Plat serves. 333 Delaware St.
Union Jack Pub
The Broad Ripple strip mainstay has a six-drink alcohol-free menu, all made with Seedlip (non-alcoholic) spirits. The cocktails cost $6 to $7, and are just a few bucks shy of Union Jack’s typical booze offerings. The Elderflower Garden, $7, made with Seedlip Garden, elderflower simple syrup and tonic, is extremely floral (as if we should be shocked by the name and description?) and has a low-key perfume-y flavor, but in a good way. There’s a nice balance of tart and sweet, but you’re going to want to keep stirring this one, as there’s a bit of settling that can happen in the bottom of the glass. 924 Broad Ripple Ave.
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
The Ironworks spot’s three-item mocktail menu offers the cheapest of the drinks we tried at $4 each. Blue Sushi Sake Grill’s offerings are a little heavier on the lemonade or juice mixtures than mixologist works of art, but they’re worth the taste nonetheless. The Coco Hydration, made with coconut water, strawberry and fresh-squeezed lemonade, is light, coconut-y, sweet and refreshing—but the sour finish is definitely the star. 2721 E. 86th St., Suite 100
Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery
Fountain Square’s Hotel Tango put some effort into its four-drink mocktail menu, and the prices reflect it, but so does the extra work. The drinks are $8 to $10, which is about the same price as the booze-filled menu ($8 to $13). The sage lemonade ($8), a mixture of smoky sage simple syrup, saline, lemon and soda, is a unique twist on the typical no-alcohol cocktail. We especially loved the gentle hint of savory smoke and salty flavors that take this from an average lemonade to a seriously grown-up sipper. 702 Virginia Ave.
Punch Bowl Social
Known for its elaborate bowls of booze (and games!), Punch Bowl’s “built and mixed without” menu doesn’t hold back any punches in its complex recipes—liquor or not. The $6 Cilantro Fizz, made with jalapeño and cucumber syrup, fresh lime juice, and aquafaba, a vegan egg-white substitute, is a foamy, texturally pleasing cocktail that felt a little less cloying than most other no-alcohol drinks, which are often massive sugar troves. 120 S. Meridian St.