Cocktail & Other Recipes Cocktail Type Nonalcoholic

Berry Smash

Hibiscus tea gives Lauren “LP” Paylor’s non-alcoholic drink its striking hue.

Berry Smash non-alcoholic cocktail
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

“The pink non-alcoholic beverage has a bad rep for always being too pink or just tasting like juice,” says Lauren “LP” Paylor. “I developed the Berry Smash as a beverage that could be enjoyed and appreciated as an N/A beverage and that has layers of flavors and complexity.”

The non-alcoholic drinks category is of particular importance to Paylor, a pro bartender who holds double-duty as the CEO of Focus on Health, a non-profit that provides health and wellness programming for the hospitality industry.

For her pink drink, Paylor looked to the typical smash format, a broader cocktail template that often calls for herbs and seasonal fruit. It includes a bevy of berries and mint leaves muddled with simple syrup, which are combined with cooled hibiscus tea and two herb-forward offerings from Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirits brand. Seedlip’s Garden expression includes peas and botanicals such as rosemary, spearmint, and thyme, while the citrusy Grove expression features ingredients like Mediterranean oranges, lemon peel, lemongrass, and ginger. 

The drink’s striking hue comes from the inclusion of hibiscus tea. “I love using tea in beverages,” says Paylor. “It serves [as] a diluting element in your beverage, adds complexity with flavor, can be manipulated with intensity depending on how long you steep it or how concentrated the tea is, and can sometimes mimic flavors that you would find in alcohol.” When brewing the hibiscus tea for this recipe, allow for a longer steep time to maximize its flavor, then allow it to cool to room temperature before adding to the other ingredients.

Paylor’s creation is finished with ginger beer, which adds heat and effervescence. The result? A refreshing drink that is far more complex—and delicious—than the sum of its parts.

Ingredients

  • 2 strawberries

  • 2 raspberries

  • 1 blackberry

  • 3 mint leaves

  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 1 ounce Seedlip Grove

  • 1 ounce Seedlip Garden

  • 1 ounce brewed hibiscus tea

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 1/2 ounces ginger beer

  • Garnish: mint sprig and powdered sugar

Steps

  1. In a shaker, muddle fruit and mint leaves with simple syrup.

  2. Add remaining ingredients to the shaker and fill with ice.

  3. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh pebble ice.

  4. Top with ginger beer.

  5. Garnish with a mint sprig and powdered sugar.

What Is a Smash?

Likely named for the muddling technique that sees its ingredients get “smashed,” a smash typically includes a spirit base, crushed ice, herbs, sugar, and muddled fruit or citrus. The most classic example is the Whiskey Smash, which is made with bourbon, muddled lemon wedges, mint leaves, and simple syrup, and first appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1887 Bar-Tender’s Guide (although it likely originated decades prior). While the smash bears undeniable similarities to a julep, it’s usually differentiated by its inclusion of muddled citrus and seasonal fruits.

Where Can I Buy the Ingredients?

Seedlip Garden and Seedlip Grove can be purchased directly from the retailer, on Amazon, and at non-alcoholic bottle shops like Boisson and many liquor stores.