Whether you’re a non-drinker, training for a fitness event or simply detoxing after one too many quarantinis, the alcohol-free cocktail, or mocktail, trend is quickly becoming a staple on bar and restaurant menus including many Omni dining outlets. Borrowing from their spirited craft counterparts, non-alcoholic cocktails are a non-boring way to indulge without any adverse side effects.
If you’re still thinking that mocktails only consist of childish Shirley Temples and virgin piña coladas, think again. The art of the mocktail has evolved, especially as people become increasingly mindful of their health.
Reinventing The Mocktail
“Traditionally, if you weren’t drinking, options were limited to a soda water with lime or a sugary, childish looking ‘mocktail,’” said Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip. “But now, you can create great-tasting, sophisticated and complex cocktails, without alcohol.”
Seedlip is revolutionizing the non-alcoholic beverage industry with distilled, alcohol-free spirits. Branson had the idea in London during a dry dinner back in 2013. “I asked the waitress what non-alcoholic options they had, and she looked at me rather sadly. I was given a pink, sugary drink that neither fit the moment, nor paired with the meal,” he said. He began to wonder if he could combine his love of natural ingredients and interesting herbs while creating a sophisticated alternative option to alcohol – and Seedlip was born.
Making It Sip-Worthy
Seedlip first launched in the United States nearly three years ago and has continued to expand in emerging markets. While presently there is a dynamic ecosystem of venues, communities, retailers and societal groundswell all driving to change what we drink, Branson brings up a common stigma among patrons wanting a low/no alcohol option – feeling excluded.
Drinking alcohol is a normal part of everyday society, especially in a social setting, which can create an apprehension among patrons to order an alcohol-free beverage. However, as Jamel Taggart, Director of Restaurants at Omni Dallas Hotel describes the creative development has begun to eliminate the stigma. “Non-alcoholic cocktails have to be given the same thought and passion as any other cocktail so the guest is drawn to try it,” he said.
The craft cocktail trend has helped drive the evolution of the mocktail as bartenders and guests alike look for options that allow drinkers and non-drinkers to co-exist. Inspired non-alcoholic options allow non-drinkers to still participate in the conviviality and comradery of happy hours, celebrations and the like without compromising their motivation to stay dry.
With high-quality ingredients like teas, herbs and syrups, sparkling flavored beverages and distilled non-alcoholic spirits, an alcohol-free cocktail is anything but boring. In fact, these sips can even hold their weight against paired courses the same way alcoholic beverages do. “Creating the perfect pairing is all about the balance of fat and acid, so this can easily be accomplished with a variety of culinary dishes,” said Paul Feakes, Director of Food and Beverage at Omni Las Colinas Hotel.
Mocktail Mixology At Home
So how can you create a delicious, exciting craft mocktail in your own home? It’s all about the ingredients and the mixers. Barmalade, a line of all-natural fruit mixers, is a great place to start. With unique flavor combinations that are jam-packed with fruit, and not with corn syrups, dyes or artificial flavoring, your friends will soon be wondering when you started taking mixology classes. Jorge Alvarez, founder of Barmalade, recommends Blood-Orange Guava and Apple-Pear as we move into the late summer and fall season.
Another way to explore flavor profiles is simple trial and error. “Take a cocktail recipe and substitute the alcohol with the same amount of soda or fresh juice. Taste, tweak, taste again – and voila!” said Devin Burns, Vice President of Food and Beverage at Omni Hotels & Resorts.
While the name “mocktail” may imply an impersonation of alcoholic beverages, alcohol-free drinks are anything but a joke. Here’s some of our favorite recipes.
0.75 oz Blood Orange-Guava Barmalade
0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
0.5 oz Grapefruit Juice
2.0 oz Lemonade
1.5 oz Club Soda (optional) to top
Combine all ingredients in cocktail glass over ice. Top with club soda.
DRY CRANBERRY SPRITZER
1.5 oz Seedlip Grove 42
1.0 oz Monin cranberry
1.0 oz lime juice
2.0 dashes orange bitters
Top with Q Grapefruit Soda
Combine all the ingredients except the Q Grapefruit with ice and shake vigorously and strain into and iced Collins glass. Top with Q Grapefruit and garnish with an orange slice.
WARMED SPICE TODDY
1.5 oz Seedlip Spice 94
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz Manuka honey
Top with hot water
Garnish w/ lemon slice
APPLE SPICED SOUR
1.5 oz Seedlip Spice 94
1.0 oz Barmalade Apple Pear
1.0 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz Monin Cinnamon
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with star anise.