We asked Calgary’s Milk Tiger Lounge, Anejo and Avec Bistro for delicious cocktail recipes without booze

In my profession you have to like wine. Really like it, and I do. I don’t think there is anything else I like so much or have so much respect for other than the production of fine wine. So you can trust how hard it was when I was a pregnant wine director, the presence of wine as a beverage in my life was sorely missed. I did get to taste wine, after all I have to in my job, but I spat 100% of the time, instead of the sometimes response of, “Oh that wine is amazing, I am not spitting that! Can I have a little more?”

Let’s get one thing straight: I am a creative person. My husband, through those months, was very amused at my antics: that is, the creation and sourcing of creative cocktails in the absence of my favourite chardonnay. I will do almost anything to find something unusual to drink that doesn’t make me feel left out of daily happy hour.

Such is life. We do what we can. And I need fun things to drink! We all do!

So I decided to investigate. What options are there for women with buns in the oven? What kind of social drinks are available to them? Surprisingly, a lot of my restaurant friends came to the rescue with some highly creative and juicy concoctions that truly made me feel like I was missing nothing from the party. Fear not, there are those out there that will truly make the effort to satisfy even the pickiest of palates.

Milk Tiger Lounge

We travel to Milk Tiger Lounge (1410, 4th St SW) first. The site of my first date with my husband. This trendy cocktail joint always has the edge on classic cocktails made superbly well. I went on a date with my husband after work one Saturday and let the bartender make me whatever he wanted to. My only request was for a savoury drink, nothing too sugary sweet and cloying. What he made me was a non-alcoholic whiskey sour. Bam! Kapow! That catapulted me into the highly elite genre of cocktail-savvy hipsters that surrounded me that evening. And it tasted exactly like a whiskey sour. Very impressive.

Here is another cocktail that is sure to impress.

Salted Lemon and Sage Refresher

4 fresh sage leaves
1oz simple syrup
Dash of Kosher salt
1 can of club soda
1 lemon quartered
1 lemon wedge, edged in salt

Muddle the sage and syrup together. Add the lemon and salt. Season with more simple syrup if you like a sweeter cocktail. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top offwith club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


The next stop a couple of months later was Anejo (2116, 4th St SW). It is a common resting stop for those of us who are too tired to travel all the way downtown, and besides that, I have a love of margaritas that knows no bounds. Anejo has a great selection of different flavours that are sure to please anyone. After much trial and error, this is my favorite at-home recipe that I have come up with.

Lime Margarita Punch

1oz of Limeade concentrate (frozen)
1oz of lime concentrate
3 wedges of lime squeezed
Simple syrup to taste
1 egg white
½ cup of crushed ice
Carbonated water to top up

Combine all the ingredients, except for the water, together in a cocktail mixing glass and shake hard, frothing the egg white. Strain into a highball glass. Sweeten with more simple syrup if needed. Top up with carbonated water to the rim.

Avec Bistro

Now I have a friend who is very famous, you might have heard of him: “Captain” Kirk Shaw of Avec Bistro (105,550 11 Ave SW). He is well known throughout the Calgary’s food and beverage scene for his blood orange negronis. I don’t think you can say you have really had a negroni unless you have had one of his. When we celebrated his fiftieth birthday, his bartender assured me he could make me one of Kirk’s negronis with the absence of alcohol. Needless to say, it made my mouth water on impact. This is my best rendition of Kirk’s cocktail with my tasting buds as my guide.


3oz blood orange juice squeezed fresh
1½ oz of Sanbitter (Italian bitter soda)
Two orange wedges
Dash of orange bitters (non alcoholic bitters)
Soda to top

Toss all the ingredients, minus the soda and one wedge of orange, into a cocktail mixing cup and shake over ice. Strain into a highball glass that is full of ice cubes. Top up with soda and garnish with an orange wedge.

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