Every year the span of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is filled with joy, cheer, quality time with loved ones, and yes — a fair bit of drinking. From mulled wines to hot toddies, pinot to champagne; it’s the season of indulgence.
Whether you’re partaking in “Dry January” to heal from a few too many libations in December or simply venturing into sobriety, it can be quite a challenge to find high-quality non-alcoholic adult beverages, particularly when dining out. Avoiding alcohol shouldn’t have to mean soda and bad cranberry juice — it should instead mean delicious, balanced, and sophisticated drinks, just without the booze. Enter: the mocktail.
One of the best places to find a great mocktail in the Hudson Valley is Lola Pizza in uptown Kingston, NY. The restaurant is known for its namesake — fantastic pizzas served fresh out of a wood-fired oven that sits adjacent to the tables in the main dining room. Lola also now offers seating in a covered outdoor area, with standing and overhead heaters. The pizzas range from delightfully classic (a perfect Margherita) to a little more adventurous (the “Tiger Paw” with pepperoni, tomato sauce, provolone, mozzarella, onion, and chili honey is not to be missed). The menu also ranges from a selection of starters (I highly recommend the stracciatella and the calamari) to non-pizza mains like the classic rigatoni alla norma and a filet of roasted salmon.
We’re not here to just talk about pizza, although I could probably do that all day — on par with its food, Lola Pizza has a great selection of natural wines and an impressive cocktail program curated by cocktail consultant Natasha David, co-owner of You & Me Cocktails. One of my personal favorites is the “Cacchi Negroni,” (gin, persimmon, bianco vermouth, and contratto bitters), a delicious play on the beloved negroni bianco.
But Lola takes it one step further with its non-alcoholic offerings, making an important effort to include sober individuals in the fun of dining and drinking. The wonderful mocktails, also created by Natasha David, are liquor-free versions of cocktails Lola is already serving; you can order “the Gin Sorrento,” a warming concoction of gin, blood orange, lemon, cinnamon, and fevertree tonic, but sans gin. Or try the “Even Keel,” a zesty blend of ginger, apricot, lemon, honey, with an option of vodka, tequila, or neither! These drinks are creative, sophisticated, very well-balanced, served in cocktail-appropriate glassware with garnishes, and most importantly; they taste amazing. When you’re sipping a Lola mocktail, it’s easy to forget you’re skipping the booze.
Visit Lola Pizza at 243 Fair St, Kingston, NY 12401 and/or make a reservation online.