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Temperance Cocktails

We may run a liquor website, but we certainly understand that not everybody drinks alcohol. Whether for legal, religious or health reasons, or by personal choice, plenty of folks don’t touch the hard stuff.

And this time of year, with holiday parties and celebrations of all kinds, it’s important to remember to provide some tasty non-alcoholic alternatives for your guests—and no, bottles of water or cans of Coke don’t count. We’re talking about virgin tipples that are as sophisticated as any boozy concoction, made from fresh juices and exotic syrups. Fortunately, we were able to find a pair of delicious drinks that your friends and family are sure to love. (Looking for more temperance options? Check out our previous article, showcasing a couple great recipes.)


Just outside Washington, D.C., the new Rapahannock Restaurant in Richmond, Va., serves lots of elixirs, as well as a menu of unleaded creations. We like bartender Derek Rowe’s bubbly and citrusy Orgeat Lemondade, which calls for the common tiki ingredient almond syrup (you can make your own or use store-bought).

Acclaimed Boston area watering hole Craigie on Main also offers a list of complex “mocktails” from head bartender Jared Sedoian incorporating house-made components. His sweet-and-spicy Vermillion features date molasses (a concentrated sweetener you can buy at Middle Eastern markets), Thai chiles and a citrus syrup that combines lemon and orange peels and juice with sugar.

These cocktails are so good, you won’t even notice that they don’t contain liquor. Cheers!

Orgeat Lemonade

Contributed by Derek Rowe

  • 1.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz Orgeat Syrup*
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: Mint sprig
  • Glass: Tulip or wine

Add the lemon juice and Orgeat Syrup to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker and strain into a tulip or wine glass. Fill with crushed ice and top with club soda. Stir briefly and garnish with a mint sprig.


*Orgeat Syrup

  • 1.5 lb Whole almonds
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Distilled water
  • 3 dashes Orange blossom water
  • 2 dashes Rose water (optional)
Toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the almonds, sugar and water to a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 12 hours. Strain through cheesecloth, discarding solids. Add the orange blossom and rose waters and store covered in the refrigerator.


Contributed by Jared Sadoian

  • 1 oz Grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz Lime juice
  • .5 oz Sour Orange Sherbet*
  • .5 oz Date molasses syrup (one part date molasses, one part water)
  • .25 oz Thai Chile Syrup**
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: Lime wheel
  • Glass: Highball

Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Fill with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel.


*Sour Orange Sherbet

  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 Orange
  • 8 oz (just over 1 cup) Sugar
Carefully peel the lemons and orange, leaving as little white pith on the peels as possible. Add the peels and sugar to a bowl, and let stand for several hours to let the oils leach out. Juice the lemons and orange and add to the mixture. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely and strain before using.


**Thai Chile Syrup

  • 4 oz Water
  • .5 cup Sugar
  • 3 or 4 Thai chile peppers
Stir together the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the mixture to a blender with the chile peppers and puree until smooth. Strain before using.

Series & Type: Cocktails
Appears in 3 Collections

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