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Mocktails, malts, and more: A 'Dry January' guide to the Twin Cities

Cereal malt, Raspberry Rickey, and Orange Dream at Can Can Wonderland

Cereal malt, Raspberry Rickey, and Orange Dream at Can Can Wonderland Alma Guzman

Don’t mock the mocktail.

After the all-too-real excess of the holidays, perhaps you’re opting into Dry January—abstaining from alcohol for the first 31 days of the year. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop going out for drinks with friends. Here are some of the spots serving up thoughtfully crafted mocktails, sodas, and other non-alcoholic beverages alongside their boozier offerings.

Bad Weather Brewing Company

The extensive draft list isn’t the only thing here that rotates—on each visit, you’ll find two different tasty sodas. The Bad Weather folks whip them up in-house, taking cues from the season. Recent flavors include vanilla cream, cranberry-rosemary, and Thai tea. Friends who are still imbibing can enjoy the same sodas in Bad Weather’s radlers. 414 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-207-6627

Tattersall Distilling

Tattersall is known for standout cocktails that appeal to a variety of palates, so it’s no surprise that non-alcoholic options are similarly diverse. Order a Mexican Coke or kombucha made by Prohibition, or mix it up with one of Tattersall’s house-made sodas: rooibos-lime, carrot-ginger-lemon, or the spruce tip tonic. Try the Shirley Temple, too, which is updated with a burst of raspberry. 1620 Central Ave. NE, Ste. 150, Minneapolis; 612-584-4152

Five Watt Coffee

Many of Five Watt’s coffee concoctions feature bitters, giving you all the layers of flavor you’d find in a cocktail—plus caffeine! Evoke a gin cocktail with the Gin Basil Smash, which combines cold press with basil simple syrup and gin bitters; go sweeter with the Busy Beaver, a perfect winter drink with blackstrap bitters, maple syrup, and cinnamon leading the charge; or live dangerously with the Pumpkin Spice Lawsuit. You know what’s in that one. Multiple locations, fivewattcoffee.com

Eastlake Craft Brewery

If you have a hankering for a growler full of kombucha but want the ambience of a bar, get on over to Eastlake in Midtown Global Market. There, you’ll find a rotating daily tap of Deane’s Kombucha, which on any given day could be cherry basil, ginger cherry, lemon lime, or buckwheat honey. When you’re hungry for something to nibble on while sipping that kombucha, you can order from one of the numerous nearby market vendors. 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-224-9713

Can Can Wonderland

Want a drink to match Can Can’s psychedelic interior? Look no further than the old-fashioned sodas. Sip a Raspberry Rickey—an electrifyingly red and bubbly concoction—or slurp an Orange Dream, a refined, Creamsicle-flavored beverage kicked up with a dash of Bittercube’s orange bitters. Can Can also offers cereal malts: Choose your favorite sugary breakfast cereal (they have a ton), and they’ll malt-ify it. 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 004, St. Paul; 651-925-2261

JUN

JUN’s lip-smacking Sichuan cuisine begs for an accompanying drink, and while you can order cocktails featuring baijiu, lychee liqueur, and green tea, they also mix up an assortment of mocktails. They’re sweeter and more fruit-forward than the cocktails, but what’s not to love about pineapple shrub mixed with coconut milk and orange juice? And at $5 each, they’re also a steal. 730 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; 612-208-0706

iPho

You know iPho for, well, its pho, and for banh mi in baguettes with a crispy crust that satisfyingly shatters upon impact with your teeth. It’s also where your bubble tea dreams can come true: Pearls and jellies come in a rainbow of flavors, so you can make repeat trips to try all the combinations. If you’re not feeling bubbles, try the strawberry limeade or the hot coffee with condensed milk. 704 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-225-8751

Cold Front

No booze at this joint, but you and your friends won’t miss it when faced with the wide-ranging menu of sodas, shakes, malts, coffee, and tea. We suggest indulging your sweet tooth and whimsy with the Princess Rainbow Float. With strawberry ice cream, cherry syrup, and rainbow sprinkles, this treat looks ready for a parade. Go a little more minimal with one of Cold Front’s house-made sodas in flavors like pomegranate ginger, blood orange and beetroot, or strawberry balsamic. 490 Hamline Ave. S., St. Paul; 651-330-7632

Norseman Distillery

Norseman’s cocktails are always on point—they were our 2017 choice for best distillery, after all—and the choices for those abstaining, while limited, provide sippers with a bold variety of flavors. The Bjorn mixes lemon, honey, and assam—perfect for chilly nights. The Sigrid goes light, with juniper, lavender, and seltzer. Non-alcoholic beverages served at Sunday brunch fall into the usual categories of coffee and juices, but all of Norseman’s booze-free drinks are $4 or $5. Not too shabby! 451 Taft St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-643-1933

Quixotic Coffee

Going dry in January doesn’t have to mean foregoing tap drinks. Head to Quixotic and order from one of three on tap: the rotating selection of kombucha from Deane’s, Prohibition, and Lake State as well as cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee. That nitro cold brew makes an appearance in three other mixed coffee drinks (but make sure your caffeine tolerance is high). Quixotic also serves tea and smoothies along with wine and beer. It’s a great stop before or after a movie at the Highland across the street. 769 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul; 651-699-5448

Martina

Argentinian seafood restaurant Martina offers an inventive mocktail list with a wide range of flavors. Try the rich Nectar, featuring almond and vanilla topped off with cream and seltzer. The Sumol, on the other hand, offers up a tarter, citrusy combination of passionfruit and lime. 4312 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-922-9913

Gyst Fermentation Bar

You could sip brewed-to-order coffee or hot green tea, but when you’re at a bar focused on all things fermented, why not go for the kvass? Traditionally a beverage fermented from rye bread, kvass is available in pear and beet varieties at Gyst. There’s also a rotating selection of kombucha, seasonal shrub sodas, Sweet Potato Fly (a fermented soda), and brine shots. Bottoms up! 25 E. 26th St., Minneapolis; 612-758-0113

Groundswell

Relax into one of the many tables that fill this popular cafe and enjoy coffee from Dogwood, chai from Gray Duck, or tea from TeaSource. Groundswell’s relaxed vibe and walls covered in art and hand-crafted items from local artisans will give you the time you crave to catch up on work or dive into your latest book, and any friends or family who come with you who aren’t participating in Dry January will be able to order from a carefully curated wine and beer list. But then they miss out on a cup of Montana Gold…. 1340 Thomas Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-645-6466

Dogwood Coffee (Lake Street)

In addition to a list of beautifully roasted coffees and unique teas, this location serves up a small selection of beer so everyone can wet their whistle. Teas range from classics like Earl Grey and Assam to rhubarb oolong and Evening in Missoula. Or try a soda that combines watermelon and pink peppercorn or rhubarb and lime. You can also depend on the rotating signature coffee beverage. Because you’re at a Dogwood Cafe, after all, and when the coffee is this good, why skip it? 4021 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-886-1585

Tiny Diner

Sure, there’s an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail list, but the non-alcoholic options at Tiny Diner are just as robust and appealing. Find coffee and tea along with a range of house-made sodas (think honey sage cream or cucumber mint) plus kombucha and switchel—an old-timey drink making a comeback. Switchel combines water and vinegar with different seasonings, often ginger, and is sometimes sweetened with maple syrup or molasses. Milkshakes are also on the menu. 1024 E. 38th St., Minneapolis; 612-767-3322