Making low-ABV cocktails, or mocktails as they’re known when completely free of alcohol, doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
As I’ve started to nerd out on these types of drinks, I’ve found there are some on the internet who attempt to masquerade the fact there’s no liquor in their drink by layering ingredient after ingredient atop each other, almost as if they were just trying to overwhelm your palate with a cacophony of flavor profiles.
The goal should actually be the opposite — use how ever many ingredients you like, but the aim is to create a well-balanced drink with a singular note of flavor that makes the person drinking it want to go back for another sip.
I was reminded of that recently when sitting in front of Pint+Jigger’s Dave Newman at an event for the Hawaii chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.
He used at least a half-dozen ingredients, plus carbonated his liquor, to create… wait for it… A VANILLA COKE.
And it KILLED. Tasted like soda. But it was pure liquor.
That’s what inspired me to create this low-ABV cocktail alternative. I say low-ABV because the bitters used in this recipe do contain alcohol. But the Lyre’s Malt does not.
Is this on the level of Dave’s drink? Nope. But it’s a good third or fourth option after you’ve already had a few, that’s for sure.
Just What the ‘Dr.’ Ordered
- 3 ounces Lyre’s American Malt non-alcoholic whiskey
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 6 dashes Australian Bitters Company Barrel Spice bitters
- Dr. Pepper (to taste)
- Lime wedge (optional garnish)
In a mixing tin, add Angostura bitters and Australian Bitters Company Barrel Spice bitters to Lyre’s American Malt.
Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with Dr. Pepper to taste. Finish with two dashes of Australian Bitters Company Barrel Spice bitters and add lime wedge as garnish, if desired.
Note: Don’t feel bad about adding another splash or two of soda after a few sips to properly balance the spirits with carbonation level.
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Jason Genegabus has written about food and drink, cocktails, music and entertainment in Hawaii since 2001.