Make me a mocktail that's as good as a cocktail

Where: Hank’s Oyster Bar, 1624 Q St. NW

Bartender response: “Yeah, absolutely.”

What we got: Orange juice with strawberry pecan syrup and a squeeze of lemon, topped off with club soda in a wine glass over shaved ice

Price: $5

How it tasted: Tropical, but not too sweet, with plenty of fizz and a hint of earthiness from the pecans

Improv points (1–5): 4. If our bartender told us this was a real cocktail, we would have believed it.

Where: Bar Pilar, 1833 14th St. NW

Bartender response: “Oh, OK, sure.”

What we got: Tonic water, lemon juice, and honey syrup with a lemon twist served shaken over ice

Price: $5

How it tasted: Citrusy and tart. The honey syrup took the edge off the lemony elements, but wasn’t flavorful otherwise. But coupled with the tonic water, this was a pleasantly fizzy, refreshing treat that avoided the often too-sweet dregs of lemonade.

Improv points (1–5): 1. This is the nonalcoholic incarnation of the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail on Bar Pilar’s drink menu that’s made with Plymouth Gin. Though we’d happily enjoy it in lieu of the boozier option, it’s a simple thing.

Where: Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St. NW

Bartender response: “Not a problem.”

What we got: Pomegranate juice and lemonade served on the rocks

Price: $2.95

How it tasted: This was a bit fresher than whatever bottled version likely exists, but both elements were too oversugared for our liking. A less sweet pomegranate juice, or less sweet lemonade, would’ve made for a more easily imbibed beverage. As it was, we had to alternate with sips of water.

Improv points (1–5): 2. We suppose our bartender could’ve just given us an Arnold Palmer.

Our Readers Say

Because I'd forgotten my ID, I asked the waitress at Bar Pilar to bring a cocktail with no alcohol. The best she could offer was ginger beer with lime--a Dark 'N' Stormy with no stormy. And she still wanted to charge full price! I just settled for water.

I'm starting to judge bars now on their ability to make a good non-alcoholic drink. It's easy to say you can make a cocktail, as long as you get someone drunk enough to believe that.
Hi Angel,Yes, tickets will be abvllaaie on a cash-only basis at the event. There's a cash machine there, if you end up forgetting to bring some. Thank you!Lindsay

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