Move over, Shirley Temple-these no alcohol cocktails are as ‘adult’ as the real thing!
At this year’s WSWA Convention in Las Vegas, one of the top trends discussed by cocktail experts had little to do with alcohol, and yet stands to impact the way we as consumers drink. The trend in question: alcohol-free, or zero alcohol, cocktails.
Unfortunately, to date, the concept of mocktails and alcohol-free drinks have gotten a bad rap. Designated drivers or those that chose not to imbibe have been long mocked for being boring, and less than the life of a party. After all, why visit a bar if you don’t want to drink at least a glass of wine or a cocktail or two?
In June of last year, the UK-based alcohol news site, The Drinks Business, reported that the global alcohol drinks market had dropped by 1.3 percent, the largest percentage seen in the past five years. Prior to this, the overall reduction in alcohol consumption was generally 0.3 percent or less, representing a significant change in the landscape of drinking as we know it. Instead of fearing this change, bars and restaurants around the globe are embracing the shift from boozy cocktails that leave you feeling less than stellar the next day to something new, as they’re now offering tastier mocktails, and dry sodas that taste a bit like a DRY Vanilla bubbly.
“Although there will always be a place for great cocktails and libations in society,” says Cassandra Rosen, mixologist and co-founder of spirits branding firm, FK Interactive, “this is not the time to shy away from what consumer trends are telling us they want. Our job in the hospitality industry is to make guests happy, and to provide them with great choices and selections that add to their experience with us. That means innovating, and stepping out of our comforts zones to provide them not only with top notch service, but also menu choices that cater to their health and personal preferences.”
Presenters at the WSWA Convention said that the no-alcohol trend wasn’t just for home bartenders. Event concepts like Daybreaker are leading the charge for zero-proof menus, combining dayclub party atmospheres with flavor and taste experiences that consumers are demanding. In other words, it’s never been cooler to drink less, or not at all.
“We’ve been talking about sessionable and low ABV cocktails for almost a decade now,” says Rosen. “It’s time to stop thinking about mocktails as the virgin daiquiris and Shirley Temples of decades past, and embrace the capabilities we have with fresh ingredients, shrubs, and kombuchas to make drinks that are tasty, delicious and potentially even good for the body.”
To satisfy both on premise mocktail menus and home bartenders, Rosen has created three fresh mocktail recipes below. Although they’re alcohol-free, these warm weather sippers are packed with flavor from fruits and herbs – perfect for a refreshing way to relax, any time of the day.
After all, isn’t that what we’re looking for in a great drink?
Ginless Citrus Gimlet
By Cassandra Rosen
TIP: You can make this infusion ahead of time and refrigerate for a few days. Just keep in mind the citrus oils will continue to release, so straining is smart once your ideal flavor has been achieved.
For the infusion
- 2 organic pomelos (or large grapefruits)
- 1 organic lemon
- 3 organic tangerines
- 12 dried juniper berries
- 8 cardamom pods
- 1 sprig organic lemon thyme
- Sparkling water or soda water
- ice cubes
- citrus slices
- agave or honey syrup
Peel the citrus, being careful not to cut into the pith. Aim for three to five inch lengths, adding them to a glass container with a lid.
Segment the fruit, removing the pitch, and strain the juice. Add the juice, juniper berries, cardamom pods and lavender or thyme to the container. Stir, and infuse overnight, or for a few days.
When ready to serve, mix with chilled sparkling water over ice. Feel free to add agave or honey syrup, if desired.
Vanilla Grapefruit Kombucha Mocktail
By Cassandra Rosen
- 8 oz fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (2 grapefruits)
- 12 to 14 mint leaves
- 1/4 tsp real vanilla extract
- 8 oz kombucha, chilled
- 1 can seltzer, chilled
- Grapefruit and mint for garnish
In a shaker, add mint and muddle with a cocktail muddler or pestle from a mortar and pestle set. Add the grapefruit juice and ice, shake for 30 seconds.
Add the kombucha to the shaker, stir gently. Add fresh ice to two cocktail glasses, strain in the mocktail, top with seltzer, garnish.
Frozen Hibiscus Lemonade ‘Sangria’
By Cassandra Rosen
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 3/4 cup of brewed, cooled hibiscus tea
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 12-14 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients together, serve in a glass garnished with a slice of lemon.