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3 holiday mocktails to sip or spike
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3 holiday mocktails to sip or spike

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Blood Orange Margarita

The Blood Orange Margarita mocktail at Tappo Restaurant captures the classic taste of a margarita, minus the buzz. 

Enter the season of cozy sweaters and candlelit evenings that grow ever darker by the day. But it doesn’t have to mean complete hibernation. We’ve done plenty of that over the last year and a half amid the all-too-familiar pandemic.

Spending time with loved ones—and toasting to another year together—is the perfect way to usher in the season.

If you’re looking to refresh your drink list this holiday season, here’s a dash of fresh-mixed inspiration for you to consider. Plenty of bars and restaurants around the 716 are pouring creative mocktails, virgin cocktails that tantalize your taste buds and allow everyone to enjoy.

Mocktails serve up delicious sips that diversify your beverage options and open your palate to a different way of celebrating. Whether you’re venturing out to cherish the growing variety of establishments in Buffalo or concocting these drinks from the comfort of your own home, these mocktails are tailored to satisfy and embrace the cold weather.

“We all know that the holidays are about indulging, but mocktails can still feel indulgent with their flavors or components, even though they do not contain alcohol,” says Lindsay Robson, mocktail aficionado and founder of Nickel City Pretty and Buffalo Blogging Network.

Buffalo’s mocktail scene is ever-growing (check out Nickel City Pretty for a full rundown), so why not sip something new? With this sentiment in mind, we tapped in three local establishments to share mouthwatering mocktail choices and recipes to try this holiday season. 

Yamu Yamu

Misuta Chow’s | Buffalo

This colorful, modern Asian fusion eatery earns acclaim for their fried rice bowls, ramen noodles and cheeseburgers—plus the 1980s-themed video arcade upstairs. (It’s also home of the iconic pink staircase you’ve spotted all over social media.)

There’s no better way to complete the Misuta Chow’s experience than trying the Yamu Yamu, Japanese for Yum Yum. This drink is refreshing and citrusy with a twist to it—a hint of cinnamon and plum—that hints at holiday cheer.

Make your own Yamu Yamu:

  • 1 oz. cinnamon simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water infused with a cinnamon stick)
  • 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • A dash of plum bitters
  • Top with soda water

Spike with: 1.5 oz. of your favorite vodka

Citrus Delight

Juicy Burger Bar | Hamburg

Nestled within the quaint Village of Hamburg, this is a burger destination with hidden gem mocktail options. Sit at the polished wooden bar and red lights illuminate the vast selection of sips, including indulgent shakes.

The bartenders concoct a perfectly festive elixir composed of ingredients you can easily collect at home. The result: a taste of fruity nectar that locals know as the Citrus Delight.

Make your own Citrus Delight:

  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
  • 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz. soda water
  • A dash of bitters

Spike with: 1.5 oz. of your favorite gin or light rum

Blood Orange Margarita

Tappo Restaurant | Buffalo

Known for their excellent Italian dishes and breathtaking rooftop patio, Tappo also serves up a robust cocktail and mocktail menu. Their Blood Orange Margarita is spectacular, with all the makings of a holiday fireside favorite with enlivening citrus layers. Ritual Zero Proof, a readily available spirit substitute, is how Tappo captures the classic taste of a margarita minus the buzz.

Make your own Blood Orange Margarita:

  • 0.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. Lyre’s Orange Sec
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
  • 1 oz. blood orange juice
  • 2 oz. Ritual Zero Proof tequila alternative

Spike with: 2 oz. of your favorite tequila

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