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CheNiPenso

Virgin cocktails

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I know you've shut down for the day, but while it's top of mind...

Several of my friends are recovering, and so when party time comes, I like to provide them something more creative than the pedestrian soft drinks. Some cocktails lend themselves well to virgin varieties, like the Bloody Mary (which, like you, I despise), and frozen, fruity drinks. Obviously some cocktails, like martinis and Manhattans, consisting as they do entirely of alcoholic ingredients, cannot be duplicated without booze. But, for cocktails where a single liquor is but one element in a more complex equation, like mojitos, juleps or mai tais, are there non-alcoholic substitutes that can imply or infuse the flavor and complexity of liquors like bourbon or rum?

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I was going to ask this question myself, so I'm looking forward to Gary and Mardee's response. In the meantime, I'll jump in with a couple of my recipes. I too have several friends that don't drink, and also try to have something interesting and non-alcoholic at my classes, so I've done some experimenting in this area.

One great and easy drink contains San Bitter, a non-alcoholic drink made by Pelligrino that tastes remarkably like Campari. You can mix it with soda, but it's especially good with Pellegrino's Aranciata (or Orangina, if that's easier to find.)

My best effort at a non-alcoholic drink is my Faux Margarita (click here for the recipe), which involves making a simple syrup infused with chipotles and orange rind, then mixing in lime and grapefruit juice. It's pretty good, if I do say so myself. Another one of mine is the Twisted Mojito, which starts with a syrup of jalapenos and mint. Here's the recipe for that one. It's actually best if you muddle more mint and a lime wedge before mixing the drink -- it makes for a fresher mint flavor.

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I'm afraid that I haven't experimented much with nonalcoholic cocktails.

Janet: your recipes look great, and I, too, love the San Pelligrino san bitter, et al. They are great for abstainers/drivers, etc.

Spicy ginger beer (not ginger ale), and root beer/saspirilla, etc. are other good choices. They have more "adult" flavors and people tend to be able to drink more than one of them, whereas very sweet sodas get old too quickly.

The only other thing that springs to mind is tonic water with a wedge of lime. This is far better if you add bitters to the drink, but Angostura is 45% alcohol, and Peychaud's is 35% alcohol, so you MUST check with the guest before adding them. Strict teetotalers will probably refuse, but designated drivers who usually drink can handle these without putting too much alcohol in their system (providing you don't add more than a dash or two of bitters, of course).

Sorry I don't have any creative cocktails to suggest.

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I'm quite intrigued by the use of chipotle or jalapeño syrups -- a very creative way to imply the burn of alcohol. Sanbitter, Aranciata and ginger beer are also great suggestions as more sophisticated elements. It gives me much to chew on, so to speak. Thanks!

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Have you considered sampling any of the Amé products? They are all non-alcoholic and very adult. I'm another fan of the less sweet altnerative beverage.

I've purchased the white and have enjoyed it from time to time when I was the designated captain on my friend's boat on an lazy Sunday afternoon of floating about to see who is out and about -- when they wanted to drink and I was looking to acquire more nautical hours toward my USCG license.

I think I may see if I can locate the other newer flavour combinations that have since been released!

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I've never heard of the Ame drinks before. I should investigate further. Thanks.

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Hey Gary,

Have been like a little late-night fly on the wall all week, listening in on all the fabulous conversations here....what a wonderful site this is! Finally got my membership wings today, so I can actually post now.

My question is acutally for Janet. Janet, both of your syrup recipes sound

delicious! I want to know if there is a reason why you infuse the actual

'medium' in boiling water first, prior to adding sugar. Is it because you

think that infusing in sugar syrup would inhibit the leeching action?

Thanks Gary & Mardee, for a really great week here.

Audrey

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Welcome to the party, Audrey!

You know, there probably isn't any reason not to add the sugar right away. It's just that when I was starting to experiment, I wanted to get the heat and flavor level right and then play around with the sugar level. So that's the way I started doing it, and that's the way I continued.

The jalapeno-mint syrup works really well with alcohol too, especially tequila. Makes a great south-of -the-border julep.

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I just thought of another great alternative, especially for daytime parties (brunches, pool parties, etc.) In Gary and Mardee's New Classic Cocktails, they have a drink called the Tart Gin Cooler, which is equal parts gin, grapefruit juice and tonic, with a splash of bitters. My mom's a big fan of tonic, but she doesn't drink alcohol anymore, so I make her a version of it without the gin (she's okay with the amount of alcohol in the bitters, but as Gary mentioned above, all bitters contain alcohol, so check with your guests before you add it). It's really great, as is the orginal with the gin. (In fact, the Tart Gin Cooler has beaten out the Americano as my favorite afternoon drink.)

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Wow! That's nice to hear, Janet. Thanks. I think Peychaud's works best in that drink, but Angostura will certainly suffice.

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It's so nice of you to want to offer your friends something non-alcoholic to drink, but be careful. Sugar can make a person crave alcohol, and most AA people switch to Equal or Sweet-n-Low. The non-alcoholic beers actually do have a bit of alcohol, and just that bit can start the craving.

The main thing for those recovering is not to be around alcohol. They usually don't drink virgin drinks or faux drinks; they just avoid alcohol.

Regular soft drinks are great, as are the flavored waters. Perrier with lime is my favorite. Also, there is one faux drink which is half lemonade and half tea, which I like.

Edited to Add

Many people have to change their set of friends because even if their friends are only social drinkers, they can't be around drinking at all. It's a serious disease, and it's not fun. One of my favorite sayings is "Sobriety ain't for sissies" :rolleyes:


Edited by NolaFoodie (log)

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