Serious Eats: Drinks

Booze-Free Drinks: How to Make Rouge Tomate's Velvet Sunrise

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[Photographs: Linda Xiao]

Something about the Tequila Sunrise is lost in translation to real, snow-dusted life. North of Mexico, that mellow buzz goes directly to heartburn hangover, buttressed by whiffs of 9 a.m. Brown Bag Sunrise on the G train. For a softer way to enter the day, New York's Rouge Tomate offers the Velvet Sunrise. This spirit-free cocktail is a citrusy beta-carotene booster.

The restaurant's head bartender, Cristian Molina, was eager to work with clementine juice: "It's my favorite juice, and its window is so short—just a couple of months—so I like to use it a lot when it's in season. You can't compare it to any other citrus out there."

The natural sugars in the clementine juice, mixed with orange and a few ounces of carrot juice, provide plenty of sweetness, so he adds only a touch more by way of yuzu and ginger-agave syrups. "Yuzu and carrots are a wonderful combination," he says. "Those are the first two flavors you'll taste." Molina fine strains the carrot juice, leaving its heavy sediment out of the smooth drink.

Muddled sage—to which the drink owes its name, a nod to the herb's velvety texture—provides an earthy undercurrent beneath all that buoyant citrus.

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Molina shakes and strains the medley of orange juices over ice, topping it off with a drizzle of pomegranate juice for a tangy sunrise sensation.

The result is a beautifully bright wake-up call, grounded with carrots and sage and packed to the brim with vitamins. It's the perfect, everyday foil for (or recovery from) that sharper sunrise.

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Rouge Tomate's Velvet Sunrise »

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