Soft cocktails are a sophisticated alternative
The rise of craft cocktails has unwittingly elevated a new, less boozy craze: the soft cocktails of a new temperance movement.
Seven Sisters soft cocktail at Oren
The rise of craft cocktails has unwittingly elevated a new, less boozy craze: soft cocktails, sometimes sneeringly referred to as “mocktails.” A new temperance movement is gaining momentum, and whether people are abstaining because of a diet or as a lifestyle, soft cocktails are appearing on menus more often.
T. Read Richards, bar manager for Oren Restaurant on Brookside, keeps a rotation of soft cocktails on the menu, featuring ingredients like grapefruit, cardamom, cinchona bark or tarragon. “The craft food scene has become ubiquitous, and guests want only the best ingredients. That goes for non-drinkers, too,” Richards says.
The sophisticated sober crowd wants to sip something more complex than a Shirley Temple or soda and lime. Richards mixes up only the finest herbs and syrups, and even employs special non-alcoholic spirits for added oomph.
“It’s a good option for someone who has had enough, but wants to stay in the game,” Richards says. And, of course, adding a shot of the real stuff is always an option.
Mint, basil and cucumber soda
Bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to boil; remove from heat and add about 12 slices of cucumbers, about a dozen each of mint and basil leaves. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain. Fill glass with ice cubes, add 2 tablespoons syrup, top with soda water, garnish with cucumber slice and mint.