By Erik Kennedy Special to OnMilwaukee Published Nov 06, 2019 at 3:01 PM

One of my favorite hotel restaurants in Milwaukee is Stella Van Buren. Their commitment to provide a vibrant experience each time you patron their establishment is inspiring – plus, did you know that, besides their flavorful Italian-American steakhouse food and known bourbon selections and craft cocktails, they also have an established mocktail selection?   

May yer Thao, Shary Tran – aka one of Milwaukee’s well-known foodies – and I were recently catching up over tasty food at Stella Van Buren, and our server highly recommended that check out Stella’s mocktails. Thankfully we listened, as Jessica’s recommendation made our Stella experience that more memorable.      

Stella Van Buren's mocktails are enlivening, luscious and light while pairing well with any of their savory dishes, appetizers and desserts. Plus each chic mocktail sells for just $5. 

"Our mocktails are a fun way to enjoy a drink with character while being a playful alternative way to enjoy juice," said Matt Bristow, manager at Stella Van Buren.  

At first glance, the Blackberry Basil exemplifies what is mocktail art because of the flavor combinations. It is yummy but not saccharinely sweet with an effervescent hit – as Shary mentioned, due a great deal to a herbaceous hint of basil. It was a mocktail favorite of May yer and Shary – and apparently great minds think alike because it's one of Stella’s best sellers. As an added bonus, it pairs well with Stella Van Buren’s burrata cheese bruschetta.

The Cranberry Breeze is another example of mocktail dreamsicle art. The taste is tart and sweet as it pairs well with the Stella Van Buren cheese ravioli.

The Sparkling Mint Lemonade was refreshing as well and not too sweet – thanks to the mint that sets it apart from any other mocktail lemonade creation. Fun fact: Our server Jessica mentioned that one of their "regulars" from out-of-state orders this drink twice a week. Plus it pairs well with Stella Van Buren’s shrimp spaghetti. 

Last but certainly not least, the Strawberry Lime Mock-A-Rita mirrors a margarita But what sets it apart from other mocktail margaritas is the fresh strawberries. It pairs well with Stella Van Buren’s goat cheese.

  • Blackberry Basil: Lemon, simple syrup, sparkling soda, muddled lemon wedges, blackberries and basil 

  • Cranberry Breeze: Grapefruit, cranberry juice, splash with lemon juice and sparkling soda

  • Sparkling Mint Lemonade: Muddled lemon wedges and mint, simple syrup and sparkling soda with a garnish of lemon

  • Strawberry Lime Mock-A-Rita: Agave simple syrup, lime juice and sparkling strawberry juice

The next time you are wanting both a distinctive Downtown experience and craving sophisticated mocktails, head to Stella Van Buren. With its engulfing vibe and transformative experience, you won’t be disappointed.