Mai Kai Muddler at
HITIDES coffee/Photo by Natalea Bonjour
Everyone thinks I must be pregnant again. I’m not. This year, I made a personal decision to cut back on booze because I realized I’m not winning awards for the world’s best mom when I’ve had a few drinks. And yet, mommy wants something adult-ish to drink after a long day of work. After announcing to my Instagram followers I was on a quest for the best non-alcoholic beverages available in KC, I was surprised to hear how many of my friends are also “sober curious” for myriad reasons. Even so, it’s still not typical to find a great alcohol-free drink menu at most bars and restaurants in Kansas City—we have a long way to go in normalizing sobriety and semi-sobriety. But there are a few local spots paving the way. Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve tried more than a dozen non-alcoholic cocktails across the city to find not only the best drinks but also the best, most welcoming places for non-drinkers. Here are my top five spots in Kansas City to grab a zero-proof cocktail.
The Bitter Italian at Corvino
A lot of non-alcoholic drinks tend to be overly sweet, but the bar team at Corvino in the Crossroads (1830 Walnut St., KCMO) offers a good option for the bitter cocktail lover. Made with Verjus Rouge (an acidic grape juice), Giffard Aperitif (a zeroproof Campari substitute) and bitters, it’s reminiscent of a classic Negroni.
The Piña Col-nada at The Town Company
Playing off the wood-fired theme that you’ll find throughout the menu at The Town Company in downtown’s new Hotel Kansas City (1228 Baltimore Ave., KCMO), this zero-proof take on a piña colada is made with hearth-roasted pineapple, mint, coconut water and lime. It’s a refreshing, summery drink with a smoky finish.
The Hold the Bubs at Ça Va
Yes, you can be sober and still enjoy a night out at a champagne bar. The Hold the Bubs drink at Ça Va (4149 Pennsylvania Ave., KCMO) in Westport is made with sparkling water, lavender honey and lemon and is just as satisfying as a glass of Brut. Plus, the team at Ça Va is eager to serve up alcoholfree drinks, so you’ll feel welcome and at home.
The Danielle at The Antler Room
While The Antler Room (2506 Holmes St., KCMO) doesn’t publish specific spirit-free drinks on the menu, the masterful bartenders can whip up a drink to your taste. I requested something “citrusy, refreshing and not overly sweet,” and the bartender made me a fancy drink in a coupe glass with lemon, lime, simple syrup, hibiscus and a splash of ginger beer, fit for a celebratory night out. Ask for what I had or request something to your own taste.
The Strawberry Tangerine Mai Kai Muddler at HITIDES Coffee
This Crossroads coffee shop (519 E. 18th St., KCMO) might not be the first place you think of for a non-alcoholic cocktail fix, but this zero-proof drink on the secret menu is a standout. Made with muddled strawberries, tangerine and Topo Chico over ice, the sunny flavors and tiki-kitsch decor will leave you feeling like you’re on a Hawaiian vacation.