Five Low-Octane, Fully Loaded Cocktails Around Boston

These days, local bartenders are taking low-proof libations to new heights, incorporating fortified wines, uncommon liqueurs, and bright bubbles that offer plenty of punch without the hangover. Whether fueling an al fresco brunch or a leisurely dinner, these are cocktails to sip and savor all day long.

Photograph by Lizzy Barrett

Café du Pays
Frontenac

Pictured: The latest from the team behind State Park and Mamaleh’s is inspired by the French-Canadian experience in New England. Fitting, then, that this blend of fortified wine, sparkling cider, gentian liqueur, and soda water gets its tartness from acid phosphate—easier to come by than fresh citrus for 19th-century immigrants.

Spoke Wine Bar
A Little Influence

To ensure diners would retain enough of their palate (and their wits) to share a meal and a bottle of vino, Mary Kurth reopened Spoke this spring with an exclusively low-ABV cocktail list. This earthy stunner blends Austrian Zweigelt rosé, solera sherry, house-made tonic syrup, and a bar spoon of mezcal for a smoky edge.

A4cade
Bella Marie

Hours are lost to pinball tournaments in this windowless Central Square speakeasy. To ensure that dignity isn’t, too, bar manager Tainah Soares introduced “day drinking” cocktails, such as a bellini riff with house-made peach-ginger shrub (a drinking vinegar with negligible alcohol content), herbaceous Génépy des Alpes, and a splash of bubbly.

The Townshend
Cocomero Spritz

Bar manager Palmer Matthews keeps it fresh and simple with this pink drink, composed of just Cocchi Americano Rosa—a bright, just-bitter-enough Italian aperitivo—and watermelon juice. In other words, the perfect patio sipper.

Loyal Nine
Fenton’s Phantom

Loyal Nine’s historical theme often permeates Frederic Yarm’s libations, including a fruity, spicy cobbler named after a different kind of cobbler—the former workers of nearby Fenton Shoe. “Phantom” not only hints at the factory’s closure, but also the lighter alcohol content.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com