Try as we might to ignore it, no one can argue that alcohol is bad for you. There are the immediate effects, of course, not to mention the potential for cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy and cancer, just to stay in hazards that can be filed under "c."
But avoiding firewater doesn't mean skipping another "c" word. Cocktails are hotter than ever, and Phoenicia Specialty Foods' MKT Bar is taking its virgin cousin, the mocktail, a step further than most. Late last month, the downtown market's restaurant and bar debuted a summery new cocktail menu and all of the drinks can be prepared without the wines, beers and ciders that typically goose them up.
Most of the drinks are botanical in nature, whether it's herbs, flowers or fruits that flavor them. The Splish-Splash pairs the classic combo of cucumber and dill, but there's nothing reminiscent of pickles about it. Sweet and fresh, with a surprising milky note, the alcoholic version remains light with a hit of pinot grigio.
The Ginger Blossom uses sake to take the edge off, but for those who get it without, a gingery burn gives the aromatic blend of orange blossom syrup and fresh-squeezed pineapple-orange juice plenty of zip. Lavender blooms in the similarly flowery MKT Cosmo, which can be made with or without a white wine blend.
But our favorite mocktail is perhaps the most simple: The Melon Cooler, in its virgin form, is lightly carbonated watermelon and mint. In its alcoholic form, the buoyant confection gets its bubbles from prosecco. But chances are, you'll feel even lighter if you skip the sparkler.