Three days after finding out I was pregnant with my son, I found myself in a quandary. I had arranged a Back Bay bar crawl for my husband’s birthday. How would I handle this shindig when I wasn’t ready to tell everyone I was expecting? Well, I quickly called myself the “designated dragger” and said I had to stay sober to keep everyone in line. I think people bought it.
But as a working professional in Boston, I continued to get social invites to bars and restaurants before I wanted to tell everyone I was pregnant. Because of this, I started scoping out non-alcoholic cocktails, otherwise known as “mocktails,” that I could order around Boston.
Over the next 30 some-odd weeks, I began a hodgepodge list of the best mocktails I found around Greater Boston. I combined that list with a few more recent recommendations from my bartender friends throughout Boston to create this list of pregnancy-safe mocktails that can give you a break from Shirley Temples and club sodas.
Earls (Assembly Row in Somerville and Prudential Center in Boston)
The hip Earls has a changing cocktail menu, so the cocktail I loved two years ago, a muddled mojito-style drink with mint and lime (pictured), may no longer be available. But Earls boasts others, including a spring gimlet, which uses Seedlip Garden, a non-alcohol-containing base that is growing in popularity. The gimlet also includes cucumber, rosemary, and fresh lemon.
Cafeteria (Newbury Street in Boston)
This Newbury Street standby is well-known for its two longtime non-alcoholic offerings: the Cafeteria cooler (muddled oranges, lime, lemon, and mint with fresh orange juice) and the cucumber lemon rickey (lime, mint, cucumbers, lemon, and soda water). The cucumber lemon rickey was my go-to during our Back Bay bar crawl.
I’m married to a proud Saugonian, meaning the Kowloon is a regular stop when we have a rare night out. They have a whole section of mocktails on their drink menu, including my favorite — the virgin pina colada. Sweet and tropical, Kowloon makes it look just as pretty as their alcoholic tiki drinks.
Banyan and The Gallows (South End)
I love to hear the bartending stories of a former student of mine, so when I started writing this post, I knew I had to ask her input. She’s currently at The Gallows in the South End, which is part of a restaurant group with Banyan, an Asian gastropub close by. Both restaurants are well versed in mocktail concocting, with house-made syrups like cranberry, mint, and blood orange available daily. Banyan sometimes has non-alcoholic house sodas on their menu as well.
Temazcal (Boston Seaport, Lynnfield, Burlington, and Legacy Place in Dedham)
Margaritas are my guilty pleasure. I don’t get them often, but when I do, I enjoy every last drop. They were the lone alcoholic drink I missed while pregnant with my son. Temazcal to the rescue! It is my absolute favorite restaurant in all of Boston. My husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary at Temazcal about a month before my son was born. We asked our waitress if there was any way they could make a virgin margarita, and she said, “Of course!” A few minutes later, she stopped by with the most wonderful and refreshing drink I had enjoyed in a long time. It still had the tart lime flavor I craved.
Loretta’s Last Call (Fenway)
Margaritas are one guilty pleasure of mine, and sweet tea is the other. Loretta’s has the best sweet tea I’ve ever had up North. They use it as a base in many of their alcoholic drinks, but they also offer it as a stand-alone drink. So if you are okay with some caffeine (it has roughly 41 mg of caffeine — less than a cup of coffee), head to Loretta’s and enjoy a sweet tea that looks and tastes as good as their fun Southern-style alcoholic options.