If you’re trying to steer clear of boozy beverages this season, there’s no need to limit yourself to simple club soda or everyday iced tea. Whatever your reason may be (hello baby bump for me), here’s a non-alcoholic summer drink guide for Charlotte.
All thirst-quenchers below are listed in alphabetical order by subject. This is (by no means) a catch-all list and I encourage you to continue seeking-out your favorite non-alcoholic swills. If we didn’t list your preferred drink of choice, let us know in the comments so we can check them out!
Coffee & Coffee Shops:
If you’re seeking a larger coffee guide, check out C5’s ultimate roundup here.
Find where to buy some here
Started by Charlottean Matt Yarmey, this coffee brand can be found at several of Charlotte’s eateries (like Holler and Dash, and Amelie’s) and grocery stores. They carry year-round and limited release blends to satisfy the taste buds of a wide variety of coffee drinkers.
Recommended: Their cold brew (which is on tap at WeWork) is one of my favorites. You can find it on tap at several eateries and also offered by the can in both restaurants and grocery stores.
Have you stocked up for the weekend? It’s going to be a great one for the crisp refreshing energy boost that Classic Cold Brew Coffee delivers without any sugar or additives! Take a magic carpet ride of energy and feel great about what you’re drinking – it’s called a win-win. . .. .. .. 📷: @katherine_kirchner 🏠: @groundwork.common 👋: @jesielaine
3306 N. Davidson St.
Located above Salud Cerveceria, this coffee and tea shop has countless options for your thirst-quenching needs.
Recommended: Their seasonal Tea Sodas. These change quite often, so I would visit while you’re in the mood to try something new. The Hibiscus Mint at their Asheville location is awesome.
House-made Brewery Options:
Several breweries have non-alcoholic options that rotate in and out. Please check your preferred brewery prior to visiting if you don’t see them listed below.
117 Southside Dr.
Recommended: They serve freshly-pressed apple juice and Lenny Boy Kombucha. I usually go for the apple juice, it’s really refreshing.
2909 N. Davidson St.
I often bring people to this beerhouse when they are visiting from out-of-town. It’s located in a fun area of NoDa and I just overall like the vibe. Food note: check out their brunch!
Recommended: They make their own tasty root beer and ginger beer.
3000 S. Tryon St.
I love the fact that they sincerely try their best to use locally-sourced ingredients in everything they brew. Oh, and bonus: Everything is organic.
Recommended: You really can’t go wrong with any of their kombuchas. They offer seven varieties year-round and a few seasonal varieties. My personal favorites are Lost Rose and Good Ol’ Ginger.
1327 S. Mint St.
They just recently unveiled their new taproom and rooftop bar – make sure to go check it out and live without boundaries.
Recommended: Go for the ginger ale they brew; it has the perfect amount of zesty fresh ginger flavor and carbonation.
Lose the Booze and Enjoy These Mocktails While You’re Out On Date Night:
All restaurants will serve some sort of non-alcoholic options, so fear not when dining out at establishments other than the ones listed below. These here are just a few of my favorites I’d like to share.
4237 Park Road, Unit B
With such an outstanding cocktail program, it’s nice to see the extra attention they give to hooch-evading guests. I had the pleasure of tasting their spring menu last weekend and I was simply amazed with my carefully crafted mocktail.
Recommended mocktail: Bundle of Joy – Strawberry puree, black pepper syrup, lemon juice, black walnut bitters, Topo Chico, Angostura bitters and a fresh mint garnish.
2000 South Blvd.
This South End restaurant offers traditional sashimi, specialty rolls and contemporary Japanese entrees. In addition to what I recommended below, the Yuzu Cherry Soda is fun to opt for once in a while.
Recommended mocktail: White Dragon – Lychee, lime, sparkling green tea and ginger.
201 E. Trade St.
Bob Peters has dedicated an entire page to non-alcoholic infusions on his menu, this way he can ensure they do not exclude anyone from The Punch Room experience for any reason.
Recommended Mocktail: Beets The Odds – Fresh-pressed lemon and Lenny Boy Beet Ginger Kombucha garnished with fresh-cut lemon wheel and rosemary sprig.
Here are a few of my go-to cans and bottles I enjoy when I’m out and about.
Find where to buy some here.
Recommended: Ginger Beer. I had my first taste of Barritts while enjoying a sandwich at Rhino Market. It comes in regular and diet, and for the purists out there… the bottled version only uses natural cane sugar. I know this isn’t North-Carolina made… but it’s offered at a variety of shops in Charlotte (so you can still support local) and I really do enjoy drinking it.
Find where to buy some here.
Recommended: I did not grow up drinking this popular soda, but I’ve become quite fond of it since moving to North Carolina… so cheers to Cheerwine! I even enjoy cooking with the drink, which is produced in Salisbury, and love seeing it used in menus around the city (like the Pretzel Brioche with whipped Cheerwine butter at Stoke). Garden and Gun recently talked about a recipe created by my dear friend, Heidi Billotto. Check it out here (video alert)!
Call them to find where they are sold near you
Recommended: Root beer from this business based in Mooresville. All ingredients are clean and simple (and you can pronounce them all); just take a look at the side of the bottle. There’s no high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Just an all-in-all great collaboration of natural ingredients.
Find where to buy some here.
Started by two recent graduates of Wake Forest University, this kombucha brand formed out of a love for yoga, tea and an overall passion for local, handcrafted products. They currently offer six year-round flavors that can be purchased in kegs or bottles. You can also find them at several farmers markets, and yoga studios (like Y2 in Cotswold) and eateries (like Lincoln’s Haberdashery and ROOTS Cafe in South End) .
A little North Carolina History: Did you know that Pepsi was developed by Caleb Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina in 1893?