The Virgin Guide

Posted by: samy December 30, 2014 No Comments

Non Alcoholic Cocktails That Are Just as Good as the Real Thing

The Mary Smith Virgin Cocktail. Photo: Justin Taylor
The Mary Smith Virgin Cocktail. Photo: Justin Taylor

It’s come to our attention that not everyone wants to drink alcohol.

Whether it’s because guests are driving, detoxing, or rocking a baby bump, occasionally, tipples need to err on the side of temperance, not temptation.

But what’s a modern party maven to do when faced with uninspired, sugary mocktails that are nothing more than juice and soda? If she’s smart, she’ll read this. Here, we’ve asked some of Canada’s savviest mixologists to spill on their favourite booze-free bevvies and offer up easy recipes for you to wow your abstaining friends.

Cherry Mule

Whether booze-filled or booze-free, good cocktails are all about balance, says Lauren Mote, the mixologist mastermind behind Vancouver’s Bittered Sling and bar manager at Uva.

“There is no reason why zero proof cocktails should be absent from menus,” she says – renaming mocktails as the more urban-sounding, ‘zero-proof cocktails.’

“In fact, it’s the integral balance of flavours that becomes the key variable, not solely the use of spirits.”

0.75 oz (22mL) Lemon Juice
0.75 oz (22mL) Cherry-Star Anise Syrup
2 dashes Bittered Sling Suius Cherry Bitters

Build ingredients in a collins glass filled with ice. Add the Gingerbeer, stir gently (swizzle) and serve with two pitted BC Cherries on a pick!

Peachy Smash

When entertaining abstainers, show them a little love. “Nothing is more boring than a cranberry soda,” says Shaun Layton, the head barman at Vancouver’s hip L’Abattoir. Shaun, who says while he’s happy to make any drink a guest orders (check out some of his delicious alcoholic cocktails here), prefers to create mocktails that are “long” and “built” (won’t you feel hip using your new barkeep lingo?) “Drinks that are refreshing, and not downed in one sip,” he says.

30 ml peach puree
1 handful mint
10 ml ginger syrup
10 ml fresh lime
top with club soda

Add ingredients to a collins glass, smacking mint before putting in the glass. Top with crushed ice, stir and top with soda. Garnish with a nice sprig of mint.

Ruby Sunset

Confessing he’s not a huge fan of the term “mocktail,” (“it makes the drink seem lesser than a spirited drink”) Mike Fortier, bartender at Toronto’s Drake 150, says he favours edgier descriptors for virgin drinks. “Temperance drink lists or prohibition lists are fun spins on the term.”

Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Simple syrup
Fresh muddled mint
Ruhbarb bitters

Shaken and double strained into a champagne flute then topped with half soda, half tonic and a dash of cranberry juice to finish.

Mary Smith

Justin Taylor, the bar manager at Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Vancouver, created this light and tasty non-alcoholic drink with as much care and attention as he would any other drink ordered at the bar. To us, this is light and refreshing, and dare we even say… healthy? 

1 oz cucumber juice
1 oz apple juice
0.5 oz honey water (1 part water, 1 part honey)
0.5 oz lime juice
3.0 oz Tealeaves Floral Jasmine Green Tea

Add ice to a large Collins glass, build ingredients over ice, stir to incorporate and garnish with cucumber slices.

Pear-Ginger Cocktail Punch

Whether imbibing or abstaining, a professional bartender will be happy to make you whatever drink you want, says David Wolowidnyk, Bar Manager at West Restaurant + Bar in Vancouver.  “Obviously, the person ordering a virgin drink wants to stay away from alcohol for whatever reason, and the duty of a professional Bartender is to make sure that the needs of all guests are well taken care of regardless of what is ordered.”

1000 ml Pear Nectar
800 ml Apple Juice
75 ml Ginger Juicen
125 ml Cinnamon Syrup
1 tsp Citric Acid

Mix all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until combined. Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour in juice until 3/4 full. Top with soda and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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