Photo: Margo Roy
GOES GREAT WITH A MEAL Flatbread's sweet lemonade.
You're under 21 and your fake ID got denied, or maybe you just need a night off the booze but still want to go out with friends. Never fear. There are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on offer around town; we've picked out a few for you to try. Some of them, we dare say, are so tasty you should actually skip a PBR and enjoy something with a bit of flavor.
Maple syrup-sweetened lemonade
Flatbread | 72 Commercial St | $2.75
A cold, refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot, summer day is always a welcome treat. Flatbread's own brew is the cream of the crop. The lemonade starts with hand-squeezed lemons and is sweetened with maple syrup. This is not your typical recipe for lemonade but it is unrivaled as the best lemonade in town. And coupled with Flatbread's relaxed and inviting environment (set adjacent to the Casco Bay Line wharf), you have found the perfect formula for an enjoyable day in Portland!
Photo: Margo Roy
Gritty McDuff's | 396 Fore St | $3.50
So you're at a bar. You try to order a beer but the bartender smiles knowingly and shakes his head. What are you going to do? Despite the fact that no local breweries make non-alcoholic beer, Gritty McDuff's and many other Portland bars proudly carry Clausthaler, a very satisfactory, non-alcoholic alternative. It has a deep golden hue and a malty, somewhat sweet palate. It finishes with a tangy aftertaste. Without alcohol, Clausthaler is still impressively flavorful for this type of beer. At a very reasonable price, it cures the alcohol fever for the underage and no one will ever know that it's not "real" beer.
Smoothie as big as a meal
Maine Squeeze Juice Café | 2 Moulton St | $5
With vegan and vegetarian options galore, plus all sorts of body-friendly supplements, the Maine Squeeze Juice Café's selection might leave you paralyzed, overwhelmed with choosing. But you should just choose — it's impossible to go wrong. If there's an ingredient you don't like, don't order it. Stuff you like is plentiful. We suggest the banana-Nutella. But seriously, walk in, say the names of several tasty things, and enjoy drinking the result.
Mexican hot chocolate
Artemisia Café | 61 Pleasant St | $2.75
Surrounded by original artwork and jazz music playing softly in the background, Artemisia Café possesses a trendy and hip quality. It is how you wished your apartment would look like, if you actually put the time into decorating. Despite being located farther away from downtown that most other cafés, Artemisia Café attracts Portlanders who are "in the know" about good dining venues throughout the city. For breakfast one morning, I ordered the Mexican hot chocolate. This rich hot chocolate is spiced up with a pinch of chili powder. It was still hot chocolate, but with a delicious, savory twist. Ideal for those chilly Portland mornings.
Photo: Margo Roy
Bubble Maineia | 136 Commercial St | $2-6
Bubble tea, a growing Asian craze, is the combination of solids and liquids in one drink. The solids (or "bubbles") are little tapioca balls that sink to the bottom. You then suck them up through a giant straw. We know, it sounds weird. But it's actually fun and tasty; bubble tea's popularity continues to grow throughout the country. At Bubble Maineia, you can pick from many different flavors of tea, and bubbles can even be put in milkshakes or smoothies. So give it a try if you're in the mood for a bit of tea, or rather, a bite of tea.