Nonalcoholic Drinks Finally Taste Great—Here Are 12 of Our Faves

For too long, the options in the nonalcoholic section of restaurant menus or liquor stores were cloying “mocktails” and syrupy fruit sodas, or maybe a dusty bottle of barely-hoppy 0 percent ABV beer. Not the case these days. As sobriety, “dry” months, …

For too long, the options in the nonalcoholic section of restaurant menus or liquor stores were cloying “mocktails” and syrupy fruit sodas, or maybe a dusty bottle of barely-hoppy 0 percent ABV beer. Not the case these days. As sobriety, “dry” months, or even just saying “I’m not drinking tonight” become more socially acceptable than ever before, the beverages had to catch up.

“Serendipitously, I removed alcohol from my life right around the time that alcohol-free mixed drinks were starting to be taken more seriously,” says Julia Bainbridge, author of the book Good Drinks, noting that over the past few years, bartenders have looked beyond the mocktail (“ick!”), and that people—whether they were sober or not—were interested in the results. “I knew I wouldn’t be writing the first book on nonalcoholic drinks, but I also knew my work could capitalize on this newfound acceptance and energy.” Good Drinks is a collection of nonalcoholic recipes that aren’t just cocktails minus the liquor, but rather a celebration of, ahem, good drinks.

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lemon and lime mintade

Last week was a Lot. I ventured into it buzzing with adorably ambitious New Year’s intentions to, like, get things done, and spent most of it glued to a screen, furious and frustrated. As I mentioned in this morning’s newsletter, I…

Last week was a Lot. I ventured into it buzzing with adorably ambitious New Year’s intentions to, like, get things done, and spent most of it glued to a screen, furious and frustrated. As I mentioned in this morning’s newsletter, I’ve often felt that January is a blur and this one is particularly so. Armed insurrections are not a subject I know how to discuss in any meaningful way in a recipe headnote. But if you’re feeling like you’re in a fog, do know that you’re not alone.

Because feeding times at my zoo must go on as scheduled or it gets particularly feral around here, I did make three new things last week, all from The Flavor Equation [Amazon, Bookshop], a fascinating new cookbook from Nik Sharma in which he uses his molecular biology background to apply what he knows about the science of taste to recipe development. He also has an excellent palate, demonstrated through years of blogging at A Brown Table. I made the book’s shaved brussels sprout salad with crispy shallots, the coconut chicken curry, and then, because it sounded so impossibly refreshing, this lemon and lime mintade. It was inspired by one Sharma had on a long intentional flight that, although 16 hours long, sounds positively dreamy right now, some 1600 weeks into this pandemic.Read more »

Virgin Bloody Mary

Craving a Bloody Mary but doing a dry challenge? Make this Virgin Bloody Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, and you won’t miss the vodka! Virgin Bloody Mary The Bloody Mary is one of the most popular brunch cocktails. This mocktail version is loaded with flavor – spicy, savory, and salty. It’s perfect if […]

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Craving a Bloody Mary but doing a dry challenge? Make this Virgin Bloody Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, and you won’t miss the vodka!

Virgin Bloody Mary
Virgin Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is one of the most popular brunch cocktails. This mocktail version is loaded with flavor – spicy, savory, and salty. It’s perfect if you want a cocktail without alcohol. Of course, if you want to add some vodka, go for it! For more drink recipes without alcohol, try my Nojito (a mojito without the rum) and Salpicón (a Colombian fruit drink).

(more…)

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Domestic Sparkling Wines to Clink-Clink in the New Year

Fizzy wine has undergone a transformation of late. It’s becoming more popular and being made in new ways. Plus, such bottles are more often popped outside the confines of the “celebrations” that traditionally call for sparkling wine (specifically Champ…

Fizzy wine has undergone a transformation of late. It’s becoming more popular and being made in new ways. Plus, such bottles are more often popped outside the confines of the “celebrations” that traditionally call for sparkling wine (specifically Champagne).

And while we would never write off proper French Champagne (in fact, one of us aged spirits correspondents celebrated a milestone birthday last week with a bottle of Moussé Fils Blanc de Noirs, which has taste and refinement a person can only ever hope to have), another sparkling wine we’ve loved lately was not so formal: a bubbly rosé from Lieb Cellars. Barely blush in color, tasting of stone fruit and mushrooms, it couldn’t have been more different than Champagne. Unexpected, crisp, subtle, and truly special, it would’ve been just as welcome at a celebration dinner as it was to day-drink on a pleasant afternoon.

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small-batch eggnog

Despite it not coming naturally to me, a person with a framed ketubah on her bedroom wall, I love Christmas with abandon — the lights, the windows, the big tree, baking all formats of gingerbread, making snowflakes, singing Santa Baby of…

Despite it not coming naturally to me, a person with a framed ketubah on her bedroom wall, I love Christmas with abandon — the lights, the windows, the big tree, baking all formats of gingerbread, making snowflakes, singing Santa Baby off-key while my kids cover their ears and beg me to stop. My family is used to going along with my December whims and often even enjoying them too, but my husband draws the line at eggnog; he doesn’t like it, even though he is wrong. For many years I went without — not caring for the carton stuff, too nervous to order it at a bar, and not feeling committed enough to make a whole carafe, just for me.

what you'll need

And then I started making small-batch ‘nog and all was right with the holidays again. A few years ago I whittled a standard eggnog recipe down to a single egg — as bakers know, about as far as any of us wish to divide anything — and then adjusted everything to taste. You whisk it up in two jars, right in the moment, because it requires no planning ahead, and it makes the perfect amount for two tumblers. Or, the perfect amount to put in a small jar and stick in a gift bag, because people who love eggnog who know people who love eggnog understand that we should not be deprived.

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Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch

This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice…

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naturally sweetened punch recipe

This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice and everything nice. It’s a smooth, easy sipper, even with tequila inside. Yep, tequila!

This pitcher of cocktails was inspired by an oldie but goodie, my Pear Nectar Cocktails with Reposado Tequila. That cocktail is proof that simple ingredients can yield a delightfully complex cocktail. If you’re just making one or two drinks, follow that recipe instead.

You won’t need any fancy liqueurs for this holiday punch recipe, just some pear juice, reposado tequila, plus a few basic ingredients—lemon juice, club soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

holiday punch ingredients

I know we’re skipping the holiday parties this year, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe to myself until next December. If you’d like to batch some cocktails for your family, this punch is just the ticket.

Or you could drop off a jar of cocktails with friends or neighbors to share some holiday cheer. I wrote the recipe to yield eight drinks and you can divide or multiply as you’d like.

Continue to the recipe...

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12 Warming Whiskey Cocktails to Slow-Sip This Winter

Before I’d ever tried a cocktail, I knew my future with whiskey was bright. It was the prom after-party, and everyone was smashed.I, still in my rumpled prom suit, was taking swigs from a full bottle of Laphroaig Scotch I had borrowed from my parents’…

Before I’d ever tried a cocktail, I knew my future with whiskey was bright. It was the prom after-party, and everyone was smashed.I, still in my rumpled prom suit, was taking swigs from a full bottle of Laphroaig Scotch I had borrowed from my parents’ liquor cabinet—I figured they wouldn’t miss it. I remember—just barely—my friend Justin’s dad (hosting on some “chill parenting” or harm-reduction tip) approaching me at the party and telling me, “son, you have good taste in whiskey. All these other kids are gonna have terrible hangovers in the morning, but you’ll be just fine.” With those reassuring words still lingering in my mind, I lay down in the middle of the dining room floor, and passed out.

Ever since this Laphroig-fueled experience, I’ve been a lover of whiskey. Scotch, yes, but also bourbon, rye, Japanese, Canadian, and Irish. Though I will still happily sip a fine whiskey straight or on the rocks (occasionally I’ll even take a swig from the bottle), I now consume most of my whiskey in cocktail-form. As the first snow settles on the eaves, there’s really nothing better than a rich, bone-warming whiskey cocktail or two as you watch the world go by.

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Homemade Eggnog Latte

Homemade Eggnog Latte
Eggnog lattes are one of those drinks that really fit in with the Christmas season. Unlike Peppermint Mochas and even gingerbread spiced drinks, they’re not really something that you can drink year-round because the key ingredient – eggnog – is not widely available in the spring and summer. So, I say …

The post Homemade Eggnog Latte appeared first on Baking Bites.

Homemade Eggnog Latte
Eggnog lattes are one of those drinks that really fit in with the Christmas season. Unlike Peppermint Mochas and even gingerbread spiced drinks, they’re not really something that you can drink year-round because the key ingredient – eggnog – is not widely available in the spring and summer. So, I say splurge while you can and, if you’re an eggnog latte fan, don’t hesitate to enjoy a few around Christmas or New Year’s. And with this recipe for a Homemade Eggnog Latte, you don’t have to run out to the nearest coffee shop to enjoy one, because you can make one easily yourself!

An eggnog latte starts with eggnog. I recommend starting with a store bought eggnog for this type of drink, as they tend to be a little more consistent when you’re heating them up. You’ll have your choice of full fat, low fat and a variety of nondairy eggnogs. While I use a classic dairy eggnog in the recipe below, you can also use nondairy options for this drink. Don’t pick a ‘nog that comes with alcohol added to it because it will be difficult to steam up to a nice consistency, but you can spike your coffee with a splash of brandy or bourbon after you mix up the drink and I won’t tell. Above all, choose a brand you like because the latte is going to get all of its flavor from that eggnog.

The eggnog should be steamed with an espresso machine or heated and vigorously “steamed” by hand (which you can do by using a countertop milk frother/steamer or by vigorously whisking it in a medium bowl) to give it some body and create a nice head of foam on top of the drink. Since eggnog is already sweetened, you won’t need to add any extra sugar to your latte. I always add a little extra vanilla and nutmeg to make those flavors – which are classic ‘nog ingredients – really pop.

The eggnog is then combined with strong coffee or espresso, along with a bit of vanilla and nutmeg. You probably won’t have to add additional sugar to this because the eggnog is already sweet, but you can mix in a spoonful of sugar if that is how you prefer your coffee drinks. I tend to serve this as-is, with the milk foam on top of the drink, although it can also be finished with a spoonful of whipped cream and a dusting of extra nutmeg. Serve with a slice of cake or your favorite cookies.

Homemade Eggnog Latte
8 oz store bought eggnog
2 oz espresso or
4 oz strong coffee
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
whipped cream, optional

Steam eggnog using an espresso machine or a countertop milk steamer, or heat in the microwave and vigorously froth with a whisk until it is thick and foamy.
In a large mug, combine espresso (or strong coffee), vanilla extract and nutmeg. Top with steamed eggnog. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 1.

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Copycat Vegan Baileys

Learn how to make homemade Vegan Baileys Almond Milk Liqueur with this quick and easy recipe. All you need to do is mix Irish whiskey, coffee, almond milk, cane sugar and a bit of vanilla and cocoa powder. It’s Emese and I love Baileys! I don&#82…

Learn how to make homemade Vegan Baileys Almond Milk Liqueur with this quick and easy recipe. All you need to do is mix Irish whiskey, coffee, almond milk, cane sugar and a bit of vanilla and cocoa powder. It’s Emese and I love Baileys! I don’t drink much alcohol, but if I have to choose...

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The New Old Fashioned Cocktail

Who wants a drink? It’s been a long week. Let’s relax with an Old Fashioned, one of the oldest cocktails around. The Old Fashioned is for whiskey…

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old fashioned cocktail with maple syrup

Who wants a drink? It’s been a long week. Let’s relax with an Old Fashioned, one of the oldest cocktails around. The Old Fashioned is for whiskey lovers, certainly, but it also might convince naysayers to become whiskey cocktail drinkers after all.

Like mulled wine, the Old Fashioned is perfect during the holidays, on chilly evenings, and basically any time you find yourself sitting around a fire. It’s a bold, dynamic drink that’s a little citrusy and a little sweet.

I came up with one delicious twist on the classic recipe, which also happens to be a shortcut. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, I bet you can guess what it is.

old fashioned ingredients

That’s right, I used maple syrup instead of simple syrup. Historically, Old Fashioned cocktails are made with a sugar cube or simple syrup. I’m here to tell you that they taste better with maple syrup, which complements bourbon’s caramel notes and stirs in like a dream.

Back when the Old Fashioned gained popularity, maple syrup was not readily accessible. Lucky for us, it is now. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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