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Spritzes at Sens
The Montenegro Spritz at Sens

It?s Thursday and you have to take clients out for drinks, but you have a massive presentation in the morning. Or maybe you have to drive home over the Bay Bridge. Or maybe you have to call your aging aunt tonight. In any case, you do not want to get hammered.

And yet, you still kind of want a cocktail. Blessedly, we?ve noticed that more local bartenders are mixing up imaginative low-alcohol concoctions at upscale watering holes around town--and patrons are happily lapping them up. Our picks for the most tasty, least boozy sips:

Inverted Classics at Range The stellar Mission restaurant has put a lighter twist on several traditional drinks, flipping the ratio of low- to high-proof alcohol. We?re fans of the smooth Manhattan-inspired Uptown Downtown, with more vermouth, less bourbon and bitters. 842 Valencia St.

Spritzes at Sens Restaurant It may not be sunny, but summer still calls for refreshing fruity cocktails. At Sens, they?re serving a series of three sparkling drinks injected with amaro, fresh juice, Prosecco and a tad of vodka. We liked the Clementine Aperol Spritz. 4 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level

Aperitifs and Digestifs at AQ This James Beard-nominated best new restaurant has been making low-alcohol cocktails since before they had a liquor license. Sip on aperitifs like the Churchill?s Bane, made with watermelon-rind-infused vermouth and juniper tincture. Finish dinner with the You Bet Your Ascot, a nutty swirl of cognac, amaro and nocino. 1085 Mission St.

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