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A guide to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day if you don’t drink

Non-alcoholic options are available at home and at Boston bars with similar flavors to classic cocktails

A zero-proof cocktail called "Mo-HEAT-o" by Raising the Bar. Liz McEachern Hall/Three Twelve Photography, Raising the Bar

Boston ranks among the top five places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, according to Visit the USA . And, of course — along with the packed parade in Southie and people covered in green flooding the streets — there will be a lot of drinking. But if you would prefer not to drink alcohol, don’t worry. Abbie Romanul, cofounder of Raising the Bar — a company dedicated to creating mocktail kits, has tips for you to have fun and enjoy great zero-proof drinks.

What to drink

In terms of festivity, Romanul discussed the green beers you can often order on the holiday. She enjoys the selection of non-alcoholic beers at Athletic Brewing Co. from Stratford, Conn., and suggests adding a couple drops of food coloring to recreate the beverage.


One of her favorite mocktails is the Ghia Apértif , which has Riesling white grape juice concentrate, yuzu juice, gentian root extract, elderflower extract, and other flavors. She just adds seltzer and a squeeze of lime. And for alcohol-free liquor, her favorite is Spiritless non-alcoholic whiskey. “It’s not going to give you the same burn, but I think it really does a good job,” she said.

If you want to buy mocktail supplies locally, she suggests Boston Shaker in Davis Square. She said they have lots of options for fun ingredients to add to zero-proof drinks.

Although she loves nonalcoholic versions of classic drinks, she clarified that transitioning to spiritless liquors definitely requires time to adapt. Romanul said people often assume a nonalcoholic liquor will taste exactly the same as the traditional liquor they are used to, but that’s not the case.

“Because there’s no alcohol in them, they don’t have that typical bite or dryness that you might experience,” she said. “So when you are getting into alcohol-free drinks, I think there’s a little bit of adjusting of the palate to know that this isn’t going to be a one-for-one.”


However, beer drinkers transitioning to alcohol-free options are in luck because some nonalcoholic beers do taste the same, she said.

“I think some people are kind of disappointed when they first start with alcohol-free spirits, but the more you start experimenting, and adjusting, if you’re making a mixed drink, the sugar content or the acidity or citrus or things like that,” she said, “you can find some really beautiful things that really do offer that same complex drinking experience that a traditional cocktail would.”

Where to go for the best mocktails

If your plan is to go out to bars for St. Patrick’s Day, Romanul likes the selections of zero-proof drinks at Sarma in Somerville and Oleana in Cambridge.

“Right now Oleana serves Athletic cans . . . as well as an amazing pear and cardamom spritz,” she said.

She also enjoys Yvonne’s , which has three spirit-free drinks. Her favorite is the Cecily, with salted cucumber, wasabi, lime, and yuzu.

How to handle being alcohol free in an alcohol-filled world

Romanul’s first tip to leaving your home as a spirit-free drinker is to not be afraid to bring your own drinks to a friend’s party. She always packs a beverage she will enjoy in case nonalcoholic options are limited. She said it’s also fun to bring extra for your friends to try.

When going out to restaurants, she looks up the menus ahead of time to make sure they have good options for mocktails or ingredients for her to request her own. She said if a restaurant doesn’t have a zero-proof menu or nonalcoholic beer, she orders “club soda with a splash of grapefruit juice and a dash of bitters in a champagne flute. I think sometimes having a glass that’s not just like a beer pint glass makes it feel a little more exciting and sophisticated.”


A mocktail to make at home

Her suggested at home mocktail for St. Patrick’s Day is the “Mo-HEAT-o,” a nonalcoholic twist on the classic mojito with added spice.

The Mo-HEAT-o

In the bottom of a Collins glass, muddle the mint leaves with the mojito syrup and juice from half of a lime (if desired). Add crushed ice to fill ⅔ of the glass. Pour in Sexy AF Spiced Yum and King Floyd’s Green Chili Bitters (if using). Top with AVEC Yuzu and Lime, give it a stir, and garnish with a dried lime wheel and a sprig of fresh mint.

Maddie Browning can be reached at [email protected] .