Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mocktail Month: Provisionally Accepted

Another recent notion of mine is trying to replicate serious cocktails in a non-alcoholic format. I recognize this as a losing battle in a lot of cases; without the burn of proper whiskey, there's no way you're going to successfully produce a booze-free Manhattan, for example. Just about anything with citrus is almost too easy. Perhaps there's a middle way; something more challenging, a way to mimic a stirred drink, but one within the realm of possibility.

A Negroni isn't necessarily the most logical of options, and to be honest this isn't quite there. Another edition found online is probably strictly a closer match, but this one doesn't mess around with non-alcoholic wine (because fuck that nonsense, although they did have the bright idea to toast the spices, which I'll have to try next time around) nor does it require that you purchase Sanbitter. Instead, um, you only have to make a few different things at home.

Fine. It's not any more convenient and it's not particularly close. One thing it does manage is a lot of flavor in a compact format, with the balance of bitterness, spice, and sweetness to be found in a good Negroni. It's a step in the right direction. Too bad Mocktail Month is just about over and we can get back to the real deal before long.

2 1/2 oz over-steeped tea (a mix of green and black here; essentially, just simmer 6 oz of water per teabag in a saucepan until it reduces by about half, then squeeze out all the resulting liquid and allow to cool)
1/3 oz "red vermouth" syrup (recipe to come)
1/3 oz gin syrup (like the G&T syrup I've shared before, but with the tonic part stripped out)
2 dashes Regan's No. 6 Orange Bitters
2 dashes Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Aged Orange Bitters
2 dashes Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters

Stir and strain over fresh ice; garnish with a wide strip of grapefruit peel to make it feel a little more like the real thing.

It's really much closer to the Teagroni from Craft Cocktails at Home, but whatever, it's still tasty. Further renditions of this one to come, I think. Oh, and I deliberately chose not to include a picture of this one. In its current form, it ain't pretty; not much chance of mistaking it for a Negroni by sight. Ah well, let's accept what progress we can.

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