Today, we'll explore some of the other complex flavors and aromas that spirits bring to a party, and think up a few techniques to serve up booze-free drinks with just as much complexity, sans inebriation.
'alcohol-free' on Serious Eats
Wouldn't it be great if you could sip a mocktail that looks and tastes just like the real thing? Today, we'll look at the science of how alcohol actually tastes, how to mimic it, and whether this is a good idea.
The original Frozen Monkey came from Hoboken, NJ's erstwhile cafe of the same name. That establishment was Hoboken's first Tasti D Lite purveyor, back when at least a certain segment of the population could utter such facts with genuine enthusiasm. The original shake combined brewed coffee, a sliced banana, and the Tasti D flavor of your choice. It was genuinely delicious and arguably breakfast. We went through a lot together.
Some people refer to kefir as 'runny yogurt', but this fermented milk drink might actually have more in common with kombucha. Although the rich, sour drink is strangely addictive on its own, kefir also makes a perfect tart background for both sweet and savory smoothies. Get your blender ready!
This updated list includes long-time favorite spots like Liquiteria, Jus, and LifeThyme Market, but we also made room for some hip newcomers like The Butcher's Daughter and Melvin's Juice Box. And we're not just talking a cup full of mushed berries and yogurt here: these days, smoothies are made with everything from whole coconuts and cacao nibs to ginger and dates to watermelon to cilantro.
My eight-year-old is running a race at school next week, and I'm going to let her dope. Good parenting, right? What, was I multitasking so much during Lance Armstrong's Oprah interview that this is what I took away from it? Nope, not this time. Before you call social services, read this: I'm letting her dope by drinking beet juice for breakfast.
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 sweet root vegetable, pomegranate, and clementine are this juice's power trio. When beets are at their sweetest, no agave addition is necessary: this stuff is fruity and delicious, crowned with an optional layer of pomegranate foam.
I can't remember a time when soda wasn't vilified. Of course, there have been some memorable gimmicks (remember Crystal Pepsi?), but mostly just a whole lot of high fructose corn syrup and not a lot of fun. Needless to say, the idea of returning to a time when soda was without as much baggage is definitely appealing. These three homemade sodas are contemporary takes on classic soda fountain drinks: a rickey, a phosphate, and an egg cream.
For a cold-weather, hangover-clearing elixir, Rouge Tomate head bartender Cristian Molina whips up an alcohol-free Winter Citrus Punch. "The citrus is just amazing right now," who waxes especially poetic about clementine juice.
The Amber Palmer from Rouge Tomate in New York City is a loose, seasonal interpretation of the classic mix of lemonade and tea. This liquor-free sparkler is a refreshingly tangy, complex alternative to a simple iced tea or a sweet Arnold Palmer, and it's easy to make at home.
I was well into my twenties before I first saw citrus growing on a tree. But even under fluorescent grocery store lights, blood oranges, grapefruits, and Meyer lemons seem like small miracles, coming into season just as we're deep enough into winter that we start believing that nothing will ever come into season again. These 3 booze-free drink recipes are a great excuse to treat yourself to some bright, fresh citrus.
Living in England as an American expat is an exercise in diplomacy and restraint. It's about using your "inside voice" even when you feel like using your outside voice. On a good day I like to try to chip away at America's cultural hegemony one considerate decision at a time. ("Yes, I do prefer Amy Winehouse to Lady Gaga, don't you?")
Some people—normal people—crave sweets. It's evolutionary. You'd seek out high-sugar foods in the wild, or you'd die of starvation. Me? I wouldn't have lasted a month. I crave umami. Salt. Tang. There's definitely something wrong with me. If you want a tangy smoothie—pleasantly sweet, sure, but also nice and brisk—sometimes it pays to just go ahead and invent one. So I did.
January or no, I like my good-for-you fare to taste amazing. That's where drinks like this Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie come in. It's creamy, just sweet enough, and smattered with cakey overtones of vanilla and almond. Smattered, I tell you.
Sipping alcohol-free drinks needn't be boring. Whether you're hosting a casual brunch or fancy dinner party, making pre-workout smoothies (ahem...did you join that gym yet?) or giving that old juicer a whirl, here are 11 delicious alcohol-free drink recipes to get you started.
Montana might seem like an unlikely place to find horchata, but that's where I tried it first. Kern's horchata isn't exactly like Mexican horchata, which I'd discover later and enjoy less. Kern's is thick and creamy, like melted ice cream, and silted with sugar and cinnamon. I bought it for the first time on a snack run some weekend in the late summer, and kept buying it as temperatures plummeted well below zero and our weekends became more and more about the television in our living room.
Oat milk. It's in the same non-dairy family as rice milk, almond milk, and cashew milk. But how exactly is it made? How does one milk an oat? Is everyone just picturing a cartoon diagram of oats being squeezed?
After doing a few juice cleanses for Serious Eats, I came away with the realization that I'm not a fan of juice cleanses themselves, but I really like green juices. A good green juice tastes like a good salad while being its own thing, too. But they're quite expensive, and quite variable—so it's good to know what you're getting into before you buy them. Here's a tour through a few green juices we know.