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Steamboat Magazine

Mocktails Are the New Shirley Temples

04/30/2024 09:47AM ● By Suzy Magill
(Photo: The bar at Yampa Valley Kitchen offers a wide variety of zero-proof cocktails. Courtesy of Yampa Valley Kitchen.)

Steamboat Springs, CO
- In a 100-year-old farmhouse on Ninth and Oak Streets in downtown Steamboat Springs, the newest trend in cocktail culture thrives: zero-proof cocktails, often known as mocktails.
Hannah Hopkins opened Yampa Valley Kitchen in July of 2020, and, despite the fact that the restaurant wasn’t open past 3 p.m., cocktails were a key part of the menu, as they were at her other restaurants, Bésame and Mambo. “I have restaurants that are open at night, so I’m used to a full bar. I wanted to have a full bar during the day, but I also wanted people to feel comfortable in sobriety,” Hannah explains. “As a daytime operation, it’s awesome that people can come in, enjoy drinks, and then go back to work while supporting sobriety.”
To create sophisticated – daytime – drinks, Hannah worked with Rena Day, YVK’s cocktail curator to put together a full zero-proof menu as robust as any cocktail list. Soda and fancy lemonades don’t provide the same sophistication as a true cocktail, so YVK uses Seedlip’s non-alcoholic spirits for more advanced and layered zero-proof cocktails. Seedlip offers three spirits: the citrus-flavored Grove 42; the fresh and herbal Garden 108; and the classic Spice 94.
“What the Seedlip does is give the zero-proof cocktail some body, so it’s not just heavy juice and heavy sugar,” explains Rena. “There’s actually a non-spirited spirit in there that holds everything together.”
Creating a mocktail is the same as creating a cocktail, Rena claims. “It’s seasonal, it’s flavor profiles and it’s creating drinks that satisfy the palate of sweet, sour, salty or savory.”
One of YVK’s creative spins on a classic is their Matcha Mint G&T which is made with Seedlip’s Garden spirit in place of the gin to bring out the bright and green flavors already in the cocktail. The Aloe-Ha-Margarita is made with aloe vera gel, pineapple juice and the Garden 108 Seedlip which subs for traditional tequila. An espresso martini swaps vodka with Spice 94 and the Daly News (YVK’s take on a John Daly) replaces lemon vodka with the citrus-y Grove 42.
In July, YVK opened for dinner service. Each evening they retire their zero-proof menu and rotate a specialty drink throughout the week. While any of their regular cocktails can be ordered with zero-proof liquor, the nightly special is elevated.
“We try to make our rotating mocktail a little bit more boujee to go along with our menu,” says Hannah. “Our bartender, Erin Noonan, created a really awesome Amaretto Sour as a mocktail. It’s sophisticated, it goes well with dinner, it’s foamy, and it has all the flavors you want, but with no alcohol in it.”
Not just at YVK, but nation-wide, zero-proof cocktails have risen in popularity. Alcohol consumption rose during the pandemic in 2020 but even so, in the years since, mocktails continue to trend upwards, as wine sales are trending downwards.
“A lot of millennials are drinking more cocktails and mocktails,” Hannah says. “We’re seeing more mocktails across the board period, and I wanted to provide for that.”

(Matcha Mint Garden & Tonic. Courtesy of Yampa Valley Kitchen.)


Matcha Mint Garden & Tonic Recipe
- 1.5 oz Seedlip Garden 108
- 1.5 oz mint simple syrup (recipe below)
- 1 oz fresh pressed green juice
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 T unsweetened matcha powder
- Tonic
- Garnish: sliced cucumber and mint sprig.

- Shake all ingredients, except tonic, with ice.
- Strain into a goblet glass filled with ice.
- Top with tonic.
- Garnish with sliced cucumber and mint sprig.

For the mint simple syrup:
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- Stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Let sit overnight.

Instead of gin, the Matcha Mint G&T substitutes Seedlip’s Garden spirit, which brings out the bright, green flavors already in the drink.