Virgin territory: non-alcoholic cocktails

Every January, increasing numbers of people give up alcohol to “detox”. This once meant bars and pubs were a no-go area but that is changing thanks to the spread of non-alcoholic cocktails. “Soft cocktail” ideas are now actively promoted by the likes of premium soft drinks brand Fentimans which has put together recipe ideas in time for the new-year detox. Drinks include the Winter Rose, made with Fentimans Rose Lemonade mixed with fresh strawberry and lots of crushed ice.

“January is definitely a quieter time of year for bars but the fun doesn’t need to end on the 2nd,” says Fentimans managing director Eldon Robson. “Lots of people either go ‘on the wagon’ or are simply looking for soft drinks. Our soft cocktails range means bars can offer these customers a little more than just lemonade or orange juice.” Other ideas include the Dandelion Dream, combining Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock, apple juice, lime juice and clear honey over ice.

Mocktail recipes using Monin syrups are also being promoted for the new-year period, such as a Cupidon, made with Monin Passion Fruit Syrup, orange juice, lemon juice and pineapple juice, and the Leningrade Lemonade, combining Monin’s Tarragon Syrup and Cucumber Syrup with half a lime, tarragon leaves and soda water. “Mocktails are a great way to keep the party going – and the tills ringing – well into the new year,” says Monin brand ambassador James Coston. “Just because customers choose to take a break from alcohol, it doesn’t mean they’ve given up on quality and style.”

Ten recipes for non-alcoholic cocktails have been created for bars using the Finest Call range of fruit purees, available via the website of distributor Cellar Trends. They include the Triple Berry Treat, mixing Finest Call’s Strawberry Puree and its Raspberry Puree with cranberry juice, and the Barbados Blues Buster, combining Mango Puree and Banana Puree with pineapple juice and orange juice.

Barbados Blues Buster

25ml Finest Call Mango Puree
25ml Finest Call Banana Puree
75ml Pineapple juice
50ml Orange juice

Shake with ice and strain into a long glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Finest Call brand manager Peter Thornton says: “Non-alcoholic cocktails are a fun way of drinking sensibly. What is more, these cocktails are a great way to detox after the festive period. Non-alcoholic cocktails are also a great profit driver.”

Ponthier fruit purees, available in 1kg pouches, are being promoted for non-alcoholic cocktails by UK distributor Cheese Cellar, ranging from blackberry, raspberry and redcurrant to lychee, passion fruit and pomegranate.

Ideas include the Purple Rain, combining its apricot and blackcurrant purees with apple juice over ice. “The new year is a time for healthy eating and healthy living, and Ponthier fruit purees can be used to make the most delicious fruity cocktail smoothies,” says category manager Owen Davies.

Purple Rain

250ml Apricot purée
250ml Blackcurrant purée
200ml Apple juice

Combine juices and pour over ice cubes.

For many bars, non-alcoholic cocktails have become an all-round fixture. Inspiration for London’s Cabana restaurants came from Brazil’s Refrescos, shaken fruit drinks mixed with milk or water, leading to its own versions such as the Bacana Berry (pictured top), made with muddled fresh berries, vanilla sugar, pink grapefruit juice and sparkling water. “We felt it was important that, alongside our great list of cocktails we also provided something interesting and fun for those who don’t want an alcoholic drink, rather than the usual orange juice or Coke,” explains co-founder David Ponté. “The Refrescos are a great way to join in the fun if you’re not drinking, and will also provide a bit of a treat for anyone who’s planning on going teetotal for a new year’s detox.”

Case study: Twizt and shout

Since its launch this summer, the lightly carbonated non-alcoholic drink Zeo has quickly gained listings in top bars and restaurants in London such as Mahiki, The Rose Club, Sanderson and Benares. Insistent it is not a “soft drink”, the owners points out it is created “in the spirit of alcohol”, using a secret blend of herbs and essences. Brand ambassador Christian Ozzati has been promoting it for mixing through Seek & Feel Academy events for bartenders but, for a non-alcoholic buzz, it is best served as The Twizt – by itself over ice.

A shorter version of this article appeared in the December 2012 edition of Bar magazine.

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