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    Eat & Swig

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    This originally appeared in Vol. IV of Louisville Swig, December 2015
    Photos by Chris Witzke 

    “There’s seemingly a larger portion of the population that doesn’t drink anymore,” says Chad Sheffield, general manager of the NuLu restaurant Decca, one of the few places in town with a “mocktail” list. (Meta and Artesano Vino Tapas y Mas also have mocktail menus.) “Historically, you go in and you ask for an alternative beverage and you get an iced tea — that’s it.” In his new cookbook, Southern Heat, Seviche chef/owner Anthony Lamas offers a number of drink recipes designed to stand with or without any boozy alterations. If you want to start playing around with non-alcoholic cocktails at home, Sheffield, Lamas and Decca bar manager Bart Long suggest these ingredients and tell us how to use them.

    Fresh fruit
    Lamas and Sheffield both grew up in California, where aguas frescas — drinks made with fruit puree, sugar and water — are common. “Most places there have an agua fresca and sort of build around that for their sober (cocktail) list,” Sheffield says. Lamas remembers drinking aguas frescas made with pineapples, watermelon and cantaloupe as a kid. “A juicer is one of the best things,” Lamas says. “You can take anything — ginger, carrot — and throw that in.” 

    Herbs and spices
    Rosemary, basil and cilantro are great staples. In warmer months, Lamas suggests trying nutmeg and star anise. Love the taste of gin but don’t want to drink it? Throw some juniper berries into the mix, and you’ll emulate those flavors. “If you want something that’s a little bit spicy, slice some chile. Drop a little chile in your lemonade, throw rosemary in there,” Lamas says. “You had lemonade, but you added a little bit of chile and rosemary and totally changed your drink.”

    Bitters
    “Bitters add a depth of flavor and complexity to both juices and sugar. It can almost cut sweetness — similar to how you would use fats in cooking,” Long says. While bitters do contain alcohol, they’re added by the drop and won’t give drinks a noticeable alcohol content.

    Quality ice
    Don’t ruin all of your hard work by plunking in cubes that taste like the freezer. Sheffield and Long suggest using filtered water in an ice cube tray and thanking them later. 

     

    Grapefruit Fizz

    Cranberry Mule

    Nohito

     

    This originally appeared in Vol. IV of Louisville Swig, December 2015
    Photos by Chris Witzke

    Michelle Eigenheer's picture

    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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