wildeabandon: A gin bottle and martini glass (gin)
One of the things I miss most about drinking is discovering delicious cocktails. Of course, non-alcoholic cocktails exist, and some of them are very nice, but a lot of them have the failure mode of basically tasting like a mixture of fruit juices, maybe with a hint of ginger or mint if you’re lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I like interesting fruit juice mixes, but they don’t feel like a cocktail.

Recently however, I acquired a couple of bottles of Seedlip, alcohol-free copper pot distilled “spirits”. There are two varieties with different selections of botanical. The first, Spice, has notes of allspice, cardamom, citrus fruits, and is quite similar to Opihr. The second, Garden, has notes of herbs, grass, and pea, and whilst I’m not aware of anything as similar as the Spice/Opihr comparison, there’s something a little Hendricks-like about it. Both of them make a pretty decent G&T. Spice goes well with a standard tonic and a dash of bitters, and Garden is lovely with Double Dutch Pomegranate and Basil.

In addition, the Seedlip website has a couple of downloadable booklets of cocktail recipes (Spice, Garden) which I’ve been working my way through. A lot of them call for ‘shrubs’ - a mixture of sugar, vinegar, and fruit. This may sound a little odd, but I find that it adds quite an interesting note, and really helps steer well clear of any “this just tastes like fruit juice” potential.

I really liked the Garden Sour (Seedlip Garden, apple juice, lemon juice, cider vinegar, sugar, and egg white) although did reduce the vinegar from 5ml to 2. I wasn’t entirely sold on the Peas and Quiet (Seedlip Garden, mange tout and fennel shrub). The Watermelon & Basil Sour was alright, but a little bit watery, so I think I might need a better shrub recipe. Of the spice cocktails, the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Persica (Seedlip Spice with raspberry or peach shrub respectively) were amazing. The Seedlip Switchel (Seedlip Spice, pineapple & ginger shrub & soda) and the Eliza Cholmondeley (Seedlip Spice, marmalade, & soda) were both pleasant and refreshing, but I think would be improved by substituting ginger beer or lemonade for the soda. The Spice Sour was pretty good, but not as good as the Garden, and sadly the “Martini” didn’t really work at all. I think that short drinks with these bases need something fairly powerful to stand up to the intensity of the spirit, and the brine/verjus combination wasn’t doing it. I also tried making a conventional dry martini using vermouth, but it had the same problem. Possibly a sweet one might work, but by that point you’d be stretching the idea of a non-alcoholic cocktail rather past breaking point.

non-alcoholic beverages

Date: 2017-06-09 07:22 pm (UTC)From: (Anonymous)
I hope you don't mind the intrusion from a stranger.

I'm interested in non-alcoholic drinks and I found your entry interesting.

I don't mourn my decision to stop drinking alcohol, but am frustrated at the limited selection that restaurants offer for non-alcoholic drinks.

Thanks for the ideas,

Margaret Tong


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