Sober up with these Spirited but alcohol-free drinks
Going dry for the first month of 2021, or just ‘sober curious’? Either way, there’s great drinks for you in our new cocktail book
You can take the hard liquor out of mixed drinks without softening their punch. Just ask Adrienne Stillman, the alcohol aficionado and author of Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World.
Sure, most of her authoritative new overview details recipes for intoxicating concoctions, yet she also recognises that the call for less-heady choices has sobered up bar menus across the globe.
“Mocktails used to be an afterthought on the cocktail menu, often little more than juice or soda,” she writes. “But more and more drinkers are demanding low and no alcohol alternatives so that they can enjoy the social aspects of a night out without the booze. There are many reasons people choose not to drink, but a wave of ‘sober curious’ are joining their ranks purely by preference.The good news is the bartending community has taken note.”
Unfortunately, many of us can’t reach out to that bartending community right now, and ask them to knock us up an alcohol-free drink this January, so here’s the next best thing: a selection of recipe extracts from our new book.
Carrot Spritz “A non-alcoholic spritz from the Savannah outpost of The Fat Radish restaurant, which combines the sweet earthiness of fresh-from-the-ground carrots with spicy ginger,” explains Stillman. To make this, combine three oz (90 ml) of fresh carrot juice, one oz (30 ml) of ginger syrup, 3/4 oz (22 ml) of fresh lemon juice, one drop of vanilla extract, in a cocktail shaker without ice and dry shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) of ginger beer and garnish with carrot curls and a parsley sprig.
Seedlip & Tonic Want the taste of a G&T without the intoxication? There’s a recipe for that. Seedlip & Tonic is “a teetotaler version of the classic Gin & Tonic made with the newly available Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distillate that approximates the botanicals in gin” writes Stillman. Take two oz (60 ml) Seedlip, add four oz (120 ml) tonic water, pour it all into a Collins or highball glass filled with ice, and stir to combine. Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge into the drink and then drop it in.
Horse's Neck This mixed drink, distinguished by its distinctive curl of lemon peel, began as a non-alcoholic choice, before boozier customers opted for a shot of liquor. Still, you can make it the old (dry) way, with three dashes of Angostura bitters, and four oz (120 ml) of ginger ale. First peel an entire lemon in a spiral fashion to keep the peel in one piece. Place the peel in a Collins or highball glass so that one end sticks over the top and fill with ice. Then add the bitters and ginger ale.
Highball We might think of this as a quintessentially alcoholic choice, but Stillman quotes from the classic cocktail textbook, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury, which defines a Highball as “any tall iced drink ... consisting of a base liquid (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) in combination with a carbonated beverage.” “For a no-alcohol version, substitute two oz (60 ml) Grenadine, berry syrup, or herb syrup for the base spirit.* Stillman goes on. Mix this into four oz (120 ml) of carbonated soda in a Collins or highball glass filled with ice. Then garnish with a lemon or lime wheel depending on your ingredients.
For greater detail on these drinks and much more besides, order a copy of Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World here.