Scotch Lodge's creamy, fruity Virgin Sour

Image: Thomas Teal

Mocktails aren’t just for post-holiday booze breaks—and Portland bartenders have taken serious notice. The mocktail scene has had a slow yet steady burn over the last several years, resulting in an increasingly thoughtful approach to these beverages at bars and restaurants across town. No longer relegated to bottles of Coca Cola and kombucha, patrons can now sip on elegant drinks they won’t find anywhere else. Many reflect the cuisines of these spaces, utilize seasonal ingredients, and change out as often as their alcoholic counterparts. Here are just a few of the many spots in Portland where you can still enjoy a night out without the morning hangover.

Abigail Hall

Veteran mixologist Jared Wegner not only incorporates zero-proof spirits into Abigail’s menu, but also utilizes the complex flavors of coffee and tea to elevate beverages.  Launching January 12, the new Tarragon + Matcha and Cranberry + Cascara drinks are a nod to the winter season. The first incorporates  housemade juniper berry tonic with cinchona bark, coriander, cardamom, angelica root and citrus husk. In the latter, macerated cranberries mix with wild rosehip and cascara (coffee husk), cut with whey  and accompanied by pomegranate molasses, rosewater, and saline. 813 SW Alder St

Bit House Collective

Whether late at night or at Sunday drag brunch for a weekly dose of cabaret and high heels, this craft cocktail bar-meets-old school dive offers one of the most expansive menus on this list. Standout beverages include The Fighter, which fuses a handful of unlikely ingredients including coriander, sesame, lemongrass, makrut lime leaf, Thai chiles, clarified pineapple, and grapefruit. With the Chicha Morada, Bit House puts its own spin on the classic Peruvian punch, combining purple corn with pineapple, toasted coconut, baking spices, and citrus, plus a creamy whipped topping of aquafaba. A whole list of 0% beers by Athletic Brewing Club rounds out the menu. 727 SE Grand Ave

Blank Slate

Blank Slate’s Kierre Van Dierre incorporates many of the same seasonal ingredients you’d find in boozy cocktails into nonalcoholic drinks, too. Along with a few low-ABV cocktails, you’ll find a couple zero-proof drinks on hand. The Yuzu Collins relies on saline to properly season the rosemary, grapefruit syrup, and yuzu for a balanced and refreshing beverage, while the Eat, Pray, Pineapple’s combo of pineapple, ginger, and chili are full of eye-opening flavor rarely seen outside of alcoholic spirits. 7201 NE Glisan St Suite C

Luc Lac Kitchen

As one of the first restaurants to put Vietnamese cuisine on Portland foodie maps, Luc Lac gets plenty of credit for its namesake dish—wok-fried cubed tenderloin beef in a buttery, garlicky Hennessey sauce—and late-night hours. But many patrons overlook the innovative cocktail selection, which incorporates ingredients from across Southeast Asia; their non-alcoholic drinks are certainly the unsung heroes of this menu. Beverages highlight flavors such as green tea, lychee, and palm sugar; the Thai Tea Creamosa is a salty-sweet explosion of Thai tea, makrut lime syrup, and salted coconut whipped cream, while the Durian Horchata is a mellowed-out rendition of the notoriously pungent, garlicky durian flavor, stirred with pandan, almond milk and cinnamon-jasmine rice, plus garnished with melon balls. 835 SW 2nd Ave

Scotch Lodge

Let the creativity of Scotch Lodge’s mixologists shine with a bespoke mocktail. One off-menu creation is the Virgin Sour (pictured above), a creamy and fruity blend of pineapple and orange juice with egg white, coconut oolong demerara, and Fee’s Old Fashioned, made by another spirit-free liquor producer. Presented with a fresh flower and topped with grated nutmeg, it mirrors the complexity as a boozy cocktail, complete with an impressively frothed egg white. 215 SE 9th Ave #102

Suckerpunch

Suckerpunch has been a project long in the making. After pausing plans on a Stark Street bar buildout, the entirely zero-proof cocktail brand has been staying active by hosting pop-ups around the Southeast Industrial District and selling elaborately prepared cocktail kits. While the end goal is to open a completely alcohol-free bar in Southeast Portland, Suckerpunch will open a popup cocktail bar this winter at a former gym in the Goat Blocks neighborhood; stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, the cocktail kits are a stay-home friendly option showcasing partnerships with local brands like Smith Tea, Camelia Kombucha, and Wilderton, a local spirit-free botanical distiller. 

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