Best Restaurant Trend - 2009
Pregnant women, recovering addicts, and religious teetotalers unite! No longer must abstainers settle for a lame-o soda or a simple sparkling water. These days, our top bartenders have started mixing equally attractive non-alcoholic alternatives—so raise a glass for the mocktail. These careful blends receive the same attention to detail that arrived with the current cocktail craze: the fresh-squeezed juices, the homemade bitters, the fussy garnishes on the edge of the glass. Johnny Michaels, the mixologist behind the drink lists for Tim McKee and Josh Thoma's restaurants (La Belle Vie, Solera, Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque, and Barrio) as well as those at Cafe Maude, has several we love: the tamarind cinnamon cola, the spicy pink grapefruit juice, the sparkling blue raspberry soda garnished with a silver tassel and a marshmallow Peep. Restaurant Max in the Minneapolis Hotel has followed suit, serving sober sippers mixed with everything from sprigs of fresh tarragon to whole cranberries. And the new Bradstreet Crafthouse in the Graves Hotel shakes several alcohol-free drinks—the Art of the Crafts, with its delicate balance of ginger, lime, and jasmine, for example—that stand up to everything else being poured behind the bar. It's positively intoxicating.