Looking for a way to enjoy a night out or a dinner drink without the buzz? In Baton Rouge, it actually may be easier than you think. Local restaurants, bars and spirit purveyors are expanding their offerings to include non-alcoholic or zero-proof beverages that drinkers can throw back without having to worry about feeling too tipsy.
Still, sober conscious restaurant- and bar-goers want to enjoy a drink that’s more exciting than a ginger beer, lemonade or soft drink. To accommodate, restaurants and bars around town have developed a few drinks that give the feel of an alcoholic beverage without the added booze.
This movement is something that John Dupont has recently seen an uptick in. Dupont, a beverage director with Bar Napkin Ink, has been working with alcohol and developing cocktails for 34 years. He recently helped craft the menu at the new Mid City tiki-inspired bar, Pelican to Mars.
“It’s something that we’ve been seeing as the current generation is getting old enough to drink,” he says. “They still want to go out to bars with all their friends, but drinking isn’t as big in their culture as maybe it was for us. Making sure that they don’t just stay home and do all of their communing at home, we had to at least have something there for them other than Diet Coke.”
He explains that zero-proof and non-alcoholic drinks are not the same.
“The difference is that you can list something as non-alcoholic even if it’s up to 0.5% alcohol,” he says. “So, most of the non-alcoholic beers that you see will show that they have 0.4% or 0.5% alcohol. Zero-proof would be absolutely zero alcohol.”
Though he credits the new generation of drinkers as favoring a night out with less alcohol, he also says there are many reasons those of any age might go for something more tame.
“It’s also possible that as people become more intelligent about their health, there are a lot more people that are turning away from alcohol,” he says. “That’s also a big reason, whereas 10 years ago, the only time we cared about non-alcoholic drinks was when a pregnant lady walked into a bar.”
While he admits he’s still learning about this new craze in the beverage world, Dupont says he’s been noticing at least three zero-proof or non-alcoholic cocktails on menus around Baton Rouge these days. Here are just a few places that are hopping on the new refreshment fad and promising a fun night out without the hangover in the morning.
Know of a place with zero-proof or non-alcoholic drinks that we missed? Let us know by emailing [email protected]—we’ll keep updating this article with new information.
Bin Q Liquor
3911 Perkins Road
The newly re-opened Bin Q Liquor is full of boozy beverage options, but the shop has an impressive selection of zero-proof and non-alcoholic options too. Bin Q has its own alcohol-free wine and rose along with zero-proof and non-alcoholic brands like Ghia tonics and Athletic beer. Find it on Facebook
Martin Wine and Spirits
Inside both Baton Rouge locations of Martin Wine and Spirits, you’ll find a few items for a sober or low-alcohol lifestyle. On the shelves, there are non-alcoholic wines, spirits and IPAs that will give you the taste and feel of drinking. martinwine.com
5110 Corporate Blvd., Suite B
This modern speakeasy bar features three cocktails crafted for those who want to take it easy. All three Temperance Cocktails are shaken up using zero-proof spirits like the Deliver Us from Gin with zero-proof gin, the New Fashioned with zero-proof whiskey and bitters, and the No Lomo with zero-proof tequila. hayridescandal.com
Pelican to Mars
2678 Government St.
This bar on Government Street offers two tropical mocktail drinks to go along with its retro, tiki theme. Though not on Pelican to Mars’ formal menu, these drinks can be requested at any time and are a play on cocktails on the menu minus the alcohol. Try the Blueberry Lychee Mock-mojito, or unwind with the Kiwi Coconut Water Mocktail made with fresh coconut water and served inside the coconut. Find it on Facebook
2963 Government St.
Mid City’s laid back arcade bar plays on popular video game characters’ names in its three non-alcoholic cocktails. Pack-Man aficionados will appreciate the Blinky Spritz with fresh lemon juice, vanilla, strawberry and soda. For more traditional cocktail flavors, sans the booze, try the The Bride of Pina Colada or the Mikeys Mojito. brcade.com
Mestizo Louisiana-Mexican Cuisine
2323 S. Acadian Thruway
Local Mexican food favorite Mestizo has a stacked menu of mocktails for those who can’t drink or simply don’t want to. Pair The Mock-a-Rita with a plate of tacos or grab a Cos”no”politian to sip on while snacking on chips and queso. Check out the full list of mocktails to find something to try that will ensure you can drive home after dinner. mestizorestaurant.com
151 Third St.
Opened in June, Dark 30 services downtown with a unique selection of wines, beers and liquors. Along with all the alcohol, there’s also a section on this bar menu reserved for drinks that are zero alcohol by volume or zero proof, like wines, beers and CBD sparkling waters. Find them on Instagram
8201 Village Plaza Court, Suite 1B
Stop into the Village at Willow Grove to browse the unique grocery selection at Mulberry Market. Inside this quaint store, you can grab fresh bagels, cold cheeses, snacks and a vast selection of wines. Mulberry Market also stocks non-alcoholic wines for those who want to indulge in an afternoon glass or two without feeling the effects it in the morning. Find it on Instagram
445 N. Sixth St.
An early adopter of the zero-proof cocktail trend, Cocha has been creating high-end craft cocktails with non-alcoholic spirits for nearly two years. The downtown restaurant rotates out its zero-proof cocktail menu regularly, but typically features Seedlip, a UK-based botanical spirit, for its inspired creations. cochabr.com
515 Mouton St., Suite 103
Mid City restaurant Tap 65 has crafted three fruity mocktails for its drink menu. First up is the Blue Grass Harvest with blueberry, cardamom, lemon and ginger beer. Next, is the Pretty in Pink with lemon, lychee, hibiscus and Sprite. The last drink in this mocktail trio is the Barbie with hibiscus tea and lemonade. Along with mocktails, Tap 65 also offers two choices of non-alcoholic beer from the brand Untitled Art. tap65.com
222 Laurel St.
Just in time for spooky season, River Room has crafted a list of specialty cocktails including two that are zero proof. The Creature’s Hellcat features lemon, strawberry puree, mint, cucumber and lavender bitters. There’s also the Elm Street which contains blueberry puree, smoked rosemary, lime and pecan bitters and is topped with ginger beer. riverroombatonrouge.com
13214 Coursey Blvd.
JoVi’s Tacos can make any of its house-made cocktails alcohol free for anyone who doesn’t want to overindulge with their drink choices. Here you can get non-alcoholic versions of the Tropical Sunrise, Piña Colada, and the restaurant’s fresh or blackberry mojitos. Along with these drinks, JoVi’s Tacos also offers a selection of non-alcoholic beers. jovistacos.com