Amorous Mocktails Prevail
Zero proof cocktails are gaining traction for those seeking sophisticated drinks without the drawbacks of booze
Por Mi Amante
Add 2 ounces of strawberry-infused Verjus Blanc, 1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice, 1-ounce Demerara simple syrup and 2 dashes of Pamplona’s Housemade Hot Sauce into cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass or a coupe, and serve straight up, garnished with a strawberry and a metal straw (optional).
With elevated zero proof spirits such as Seedlip, Kentucky 74, Three Spirit, Abstinence and Borrago on the rise along with near-beers, verjus and CBD-enhanced mixers, the past two years have seen no/low alcohol drinks as a more socially acceptable, and even hip option.
Wellness is the ongoing drum beat. Health-conscious millennials and Gen Z-ers continue redefining the drinking and dining and experience. They expect attractive, spirit-free craft mocktails nuanced with fresh ingredients, complex flavors and depth. The old-hat soda-and-juice blends just don’t cut it anymore.
According to IWSR, a firm that analyzes world beverage trends, the low-and-no-alcohol market will continue to expand in 2022, with consumption expected to grow 31% by 2024. Hence, more producers creating non-alcoholic versions of products that mimic distinct flavors and enhance the bartender’s tool kit.
“Prior to the pandemic, we never had mocktails on our list,” says Philippe Callais, manager and sommelier of Pamplona Tapas Bar (pamplonatapas.com). “Now, we design the majority of our cocktails so they can be easily transformed into mocktails. Seventy-five percent of our drinks for pop-up events are made that way.”
Callais’ fascination for craft cocktails emerged seven years ago when he acquired a Masters Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers after completing his master’s degree in architecture.
“Each year, I travel to learn more about cocktails,” Callais says. “I’ll be in Dublin for two weeks. At Mace in New York last year, we experimented with Verjus Blanc, which adds another layer of complexity and acidity to a mocktail. We’ve incorporated it into a Valentine’s mocktail named Por Mi Amante, which means “for my beloved” in Spanish. Normally, we would do a strawberry-infused tequila but instead, we do a strawberry-infused Verjus Blanc combined with Pamplona’s hot sauce made in-house.”