Culinistas's Kitchen,  Health,  Recipes & Cooking

Don’t Forget to Tip Your Bartender

by The Culinistas

The way we see it cocktails are just like the dishes you’ll find on our menu: A combination of exciting ingredients, used thoughtfully, to produce a final product that leaves sated, delighted & a little curious about what else we have cooking. 

And that’s what author Julia Bainbridge’s new book, Good Drinks, is all about. Bainbridge rounded up top-of-the-line non-alcoholic cocktail recipes from some of the best restaurants out there so that you can bring the magic from behind the bar to your own home.

As part of our Get Healthy campaign, we asked Bainbridge to play bartender and share a few tips for mastering these feats of mixology for those of you looking for booze-free alternatives this January (or anytime!).

“Overall, think about this: What are you trying to deliver? A flavor? A texture? A mood? A journey? Start there, then experiment and see what suits your tastes,” says Bainbridge.

No Fussing

“Stop worrying about what the drink is supposed to taste like if it had alcohol in it. Just worry about whether it tastes good or not.” 

Say Yes to Tea 

“The tannins in some teas will dry out your palate and draw you back in, a sensation that can be so pleasurable about a great cocktail. Plus, there’s such a range within the world of tea: Woody pu-erh will give you something different from light, floral chamomile.” 

Verjus Is Your Secret Weapon

“It’s the juice of grapes that aren’t yet ripe enough for wine production, and it’s got this soft acidity to it. I love it with a little tonic water and soda water, as a spritz. So elegant.”

Don’t Drop Acid 

“Vinegar! Consider sherry, rice, or apple cider vinegar, which you might have previously limited to the realm of salad dressings. Just a splash can season a cocktail and give it some edge.” 

Catch a Sugar High

“Think about which sweetener — different sugars, maple syrup, honeys — pair with the other ingredients you’re using. Sweeteners are primarily used to, well, sweeten drinks, but they can also add body and carry other flavors, such as when you’re making a compound syrup with herbs or spices.”

Spice Things Up

“Yes, spices are important, too. Cayenne pepper gives you heat, pink peppercorns have bite, cloves are warming… Really think about making these drinks from a culinary perspective.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

“Lean on the great new products coming onto the market. Some of my recent favorites? Ghia, Giffard’s aperitif syrup, Pentire’s Adrift, Kin’s Dream Light, and Noughty sparkling Chardonnay.”

Feature image shot by Alex Lau.