Raise a glass to the meteoric rise of mocktails

Jan. 7—TRAVERSE CITY — Some people are turning toward non-alcoholic drinks this month as they make New Year's resolutions and/or participate in "Dry January."

Trattoria Stella in Traverse City provides a mocktail menu with this in mind.

Deputy bar director Kristen Warba said they have always offered some cocktail-inspired, non-alcoholic options. Staples include their version of a Shirley Temple (the "Colibri" or hummingbird in Italian) and Moscow Mule (the "Macau Mule").

"We have signature beverages that go in classic coupe glasses," Warba said. "You still have that vibe and don't feel like you're missing out."

One of their most popular drinks, Warba said, is the "Step in Thyme." The mocktail's ingredients are house-made lime cordial, thyme-infused water and tonic.

"It's a fantastic, flavorful, herbal beverage," she said.

Another mocktail is the "Lucky Clover." Warba said this pink drink is a version of a Clover Club cocktail, made with local raspberry juice from Guntzviller's Berry and Vegetable Farm along with lemon juice, orange flower water and egg white. Though it is featured on the spring and summer menu, it is available all year.

The "You're A Wizard Harry" drink is also on the summer menu and is "really fun for kids and adults," Warba said. The drink features butterfly pea flower tea, which has a "deep purple, almost blue" color. Guests can pour lemonade over it, changing the color.

"It's like a magic potion," Warba said.

Warba said in recent years there is a "greater call for zero-proof, mocktail options." The Trattoria Stella mocktail menu aims to cater to this trend, emphasizing local ingredients like teas and sodas.

"We try to keep at least four cocktail-style, shaken and composed beverages," she said. "It's going to be fully realized. It's not just a soda or hot tea."

Local chef Loghan Call launched Audacia Elixirs in December 2021 after winning a TCNewTech pitch night event.

During COVID-19, he was out of work but was able to develop the company with his herbalist/nutritionist mother Naomi Call.

"We're creating our own line of zero-proof spirits," he said. "We're not recreating spirits. We call them 'elixirs.'"

His goal in 2023 is to bring these non-alcoholic spirits to the local market, including restaurants and bars that serve alcohol.

"We want to provide folks with an alternative that is complex and bring a new drink into the market that is satisfying," he said. "We can provide home bartenders with something fun, creative and delicious."

Call said many people want to change their relationship with alcohol and that Audacia Elixirs, once released, can help.

"We can use the new year to set better and healthier intentions," he said. "You are not alone in this. There is and will be broader support. I encourage people to talk more about it with their friends and family."