Wine & Spirits: The Art of the Mocktail

Bourbon Steak’s inspired mocktails appeal to both teetotalers and tipplers.

By Kelly A. Magyarics

Bourbon Steak

Bourbon Steak

January 16, 2010 marks the 90th anniversary of the start of Prohibition. Not exactly the toast-worthy occasion for imbibers like the anniversary of Repeal Day on December 5. Luckily for today’s cocktailians, the Noble Experiment is a distant memory, and wine, beer and spirits flow freely from our favorite watering holes. Even still, drinks don’t always need to be spirited to be special.

“Too often non-drinkers are forced to make do with chasers and mixers,” notes , Head Bartender at Bourbon Steak. “Mocktails are important because they provide an additional option and layers to the cocktail list. They show that another level of attention is given, that everyone is considered.” No longer an afterthought, today’s mocktails share equal footing with their boozy, fun-loving cousins, as savvy mixologists use squeezed juices, housemade sodas and fresh produce and herbs for tame yet tasty creations. In other words, “not drinking tonight” hardly relegates a guest to the phoned-in club soda with a twist of lime.

At any given time, Bourbon Steak’s bar book touts several unleaded drinks. As with the regular cocktails on the menu, seasonality is priority. So the Natural Grape Soda that was popular last fall, freshly made with Concord grapes, sparkling water and lemon-lime zest, is now off the menu. But guests can order the fragrantly fruity Rosemary’s Pear, with organic pear juice, garden rosemary, honey and lime essence. Also on the list is tart and tangy West Indian Limeade, similar to the classic cocktail sans the rum. (Though technically this still contains alcohol, albeit a trace amount, from the bitters.)

Sylvestre says these drinks appeal to a wide variety of diners, including the lunch work crowd looking to stay focused, not fuzzy, as well as designated drivers, and those who abstain from alcohol due to religious or health reasons. Guests looking to linger in Bourbon Steak’s lounge after having a few “real” cocktails may sip concoctions like the Limeade towards the end of the evening. “Many times people are just looking for something different,” he says.

Indeed, a change may do you good. Don’t mock it until you’ve tried it.

West Indian Limeade

Courtesy of Duane Sylvestre, Head Bartender, Bourbon Steak

¾ oz ginger syrup*
¾ oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 oz sparkling water

Place all in a rocks or Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

*For the ginger syrup, place equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, along with some peeled, chopped fresh ginger root to taste. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves, and then remove from the heat. Allow to steep until desired ginger flavor is desired, and then strain out the ginger. Store syrup in the refrigerator in a container with a tightly fitting lid for several weeks.

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