There are plenty of good reasons not to drink alcohol—health concerns, social obligations and financial limitations are all compelling reasons to avoid the hard stuff. And, really, no one requires a reason to choose not to drink alcohol. However, avoiding consumption can bring up its own complications, and one of those is a lack of enjoyable beverages to replace the ones made with booze. While alcohol has its many downsides, a cocktail is a special thing, and its complexities and flavors can be difficult to replicate in zero-proof form.
Luckily, these days bartenders are more and more aware of the desire to have low and no-proof cocktails on the menu. One such person is Nic Sims, a former chef and bartender who created the Rosemary-Pomegranate Soda as an alternative to boozier highballs normally found in bars. It makes a complex and delicious drink that is easy to prepare at home.
Juicy, rich and crimson with the right balance of sweetness, earthiness and tartness, pomegranate juice makes an excellent base for a non-alcoholic drink. Normally, the drink calls for an ounce of the homemade rosemary simple syrup, but you can adjust proportions for your preferred level of sweetness. Add some extra pomegranate juice to up the tartness and juiciness, or simply cut back the simple syrup for something a bit more dry.
Rosemary is the perfect herb to infuse in the sugar syrup for this drink, but it can be fun to experiment with other fresh herbs. Thyme, basil, mint, sage and lavender can all make lovely syrups. However not all of them go well with pomegranate juice, so it’s best to mix and match to determine which herbs do, and which would go better with something like citrus or a plain club soda. Furthermore, while the recipe for rosemary simple syrup calls for brown sugar, other herbs might fare better when paired with white cane sugar or even honey or agave.
If you do choose to imbibe spirits, the rosemary simple syrup will serve well in other drinks, such as the Rosemary Paloma.
- 1 ounce pomegranate juice
- 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup*
- Club soda, to top
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Fill a Collins glass one-third of the way with ice.
Add the pomegranate juice and rosemary simple syrup*.
Fill the glass to the rim with club soda and stir gently.
Garnish with a rosemary sprig and serve.
*Rosemary simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup water, and 6 rosemary sprigs, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs. The syrup will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to three weeks.