Upgrade your Shirley Temple: a guide to mocktails in Asheville, N.C.

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Elixir at the Waterbird in Asheville. Photo: @thewaterbirdasheville
Elixir at the Waterbird in Asheville. Photo: @thewaterbirdasheville

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As we move along in the New Year, there’s a good chance you or someone you know are participating in Dry January, a month-long movement where you give up alcohol following the indulgent holiday season. I, Editor Brook, am currently taking part in it. The practice began in the U.K. in 2013 and was followed up in 2014 by a government-funded public health British campaign that also encouraged the booze-free movement. When it launched across the pond it had about 4,000 participants; in 2018 + 2019, that number rose to around 4 million. That increase makes sense – considering participants report getting more exercise,  better sleep, and feeling better all around. Lucky for us, there are mocktails to help. 

Whether you regularly eschew alcohol or it’s only temporary, here are Asheville’s best places to throw back some fab flavored drinks without the hangover. Many cocktails are seasonal, so if you don’t spot our recs on the menu when you visit, be sure to ask your bartender for their favorite drinks.

🍸 The Admiral, 400 Haywood Rd. 

One of the hottest restaurants in town also has a great bar that can dish out pretty much any drink, alcoholic or not. Check out this drink they’re serving in honor of Dry January. 

🍸 Antidote, 151 Coxe Ave. 

Situated in the South Slope next to Chemist Gin, Antidote has a wide variety of cocktails, as well as many non-alcoholic options – there are plenty of mocktail options using products like Seedlip. Plus, with a vintage speak-easy look, the space is simply lovely. 

🍸 Buchi Bar at Rosetta’s Kitchen | 116 N. Lexington Ave. 

“Free-spirited” mocktails + kombucha on draft. MustTry: Happy L’il Cloud with coconut cream, cherry juice, Blue Blaze orange dreamsicle syrup + bitters.

🍸 Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Rd. 

Bartenders squeeze fresh juices daily and prepare a variety of shrubs + nonalcoholic concentrates along with in-house syrups).

🍸 Laughing Seed, 40 Wall St.

Fresh juices, smoothies + mocktails. MustTry: Smoothie with coconut, strawberry, papaya + rosewater.

🍸 Limones, 13 Eagle St.

This restaurant offers killer cocktails and margaritas highlighting Mexican flavors , as well as a sizable selection of tequilas. MustTry: Teetotaler’s Tonic with muddled cucumber, mint, lime juice, simple syrup + tonic. 

🍸 The Odditorium, 1045 Haywood Rd.

Unique + quirky non-alcoholic concoctions like Radioactive Unicorn Tears (orange juice and coconut cream with whipped cream and cherry topping) and Bloody Ming Dy-nasty (wasabi, sriracha, ponzu, tomato juice, and fish sauce with a sushi garnish). These drinks are also available with alcohol, so be sure to request virgin versions so you don’t accidentally tie one on. They also carry standard non-alcoholic drinks like Appalachian Mountain Culture kombucha, ginger beer, sodas, and juice.

🍸 Sovereign Remedies, 29 N. Market St. #105

Arguably home to some of the best bartenders in town, Sovereign will happily mix up a delicious non-alcoholic alternative. Protip: make reservations as this spot fills up fast. 

🍸 The Waterbird, 197 Charlotte St. 

Coffee, elixirs + fresh juices. MustTry: Pear, ginger + cardamom elixir with house-made shrub soda.

And look out for these local, non-alcoholic beverages at restaurants + breweries around town, which are ideal for sipping solo or as an addition to your own mocktail creations. 

🌱 Buchi Kombucha | A probiotic, carbonated beverage with flavors like Earth, Fire + Seed (with ginger, peach + molasses). 

🌱 Devil’s Foot | Ginger beer + sparkling lemonade that’s not too sweet.

🌱 Shanti Elixirs | Shanti specializes in the lightly fermented, probiotic tea known as jun, in flavors like tulsi rose hibiscus + blueberry basil.

🌱 Waynesville Soda Jerks | All-natural soda syrup company focused on using local ingredients to create flavors like lavender lemon and strawberry, ginger + basil.

 

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