In Charleston, there is no shortage of bars/restaurants/clubs to help you unwind after a long day, celebrate a special event, or just enjoy a fun night out. In the last decade, mixology has boomed and with it comes a new class of cocktail that envelops many of your senses and enhances your night out. However, can that still be experienced if you don’t drink? Absolutely!
After a grueling week with my children that included lice, a tonsillectomy, and a flooded bathroom, hubs and I needed a few hours out of the house. I had the idea of finding different mocktails here in Charleston because I don’t drink. But we ladies know that we all have the friend who for some reason or another isn’t drinking one night out. It could be a pregnancy, a dry month, or a way to jumpstart weight loss that has them saying no to booze. Us non-drinkers also want to be included in the fun and have something delicious to drink.
We started our evening off at Prohibition. Having been there before and knowing the caliber of bartenders there, I knew that I would be able to get something incredible, and I did. I asked for a mocktail, bartender’s choice. What I received was delectable and took me straight back to my childhood. Mint lined the bottom and top of the glass that was filled with ice. The drink itself consisted of mint syrup, grenadine, pineapple, and grapefruit. The taste was sweet and reminded me of the sherbet float punch we had at birthday parties as a kid.
Next, on a recommendation from my husband, we walked to Closed for Business. While known for their draught beers, they do have the means to not only make cocktails but mocktails too. Served in a martini glass, this drink was tart and refreshing. It had a beautiful blend of sweet and sour that wasn’t too overwhelming. It was a simple blend of cranberry, simple syrup, lemon juice, and a splash of soda water.
After that, we walked a few doors down to Proof, a casual and somehow elegant bar. Out of all of the mocktails, I tried that night, this one was the most innovative and delicious. According to the bartender, this is his go to for mocktails and it is made of pineapple, coconut water, mango vinegar, soda water, lime, and a bit of agave. When you take a sip, the acidity from the vinegar and pineapple hit the back of your throat but then dissipates quickly. What you are left with is an invigorating drink.
Our last stop of the evening was Cocktail Club. As a business that thrives on making cocktails, I knew they would have to be on the list of places to try. As with everyone else, it was bartender’s choice. The mocktail was comprised of cranberry, strawberry, lemon, and lime, and garnished with African Blue Basil that is grown on their decks and hand picked. When it came to taste, this mocktail was tasty but slightly underwhelming. I was going to write it off as just ok but as I sipped I kept getting the smell of the basil which complimented the strawberry so well that, just like the others, it was amazing.
After a night of bars, mocktails, and great conversation, I can say that it’s easy to enjoy a night of delectable drinks here in Charleston without touching a drop of booze. Every bartender I talked to easily created something that I would order again and again. That is what I love so much about the craft of mixing cocktails, it is always an experience. I do have to warn you though since most of the drinks were sugary, it was a bit of a punch to the pancreas by the end of the night so be sure and drink lots of water. One place this night didn’t get me is in the wallet. Drink prices ranged from $2.50 to $6.50 and many had a preset mocktail price. Be sure and challenge your taste buds and your local bartender and order a mocktail the next time you are out.