Uncut Jewel

Once a year, I take a month off from Caffeine and Alcohol (sometimes I'll throw in something else like high fructose corn syrup). It was fairly arbitrary for a number of years but now, having learned it's kind of a thing, I tend to take my temperance in January. This time around, I've moved things up a few months and am abstaining in October.

Giving up booze, even temporarily, doesn't mean that I want to give up cocktails. Turns out, however, it's really hard to make something without alcohol that doesn't end up tasting like juice or flavored water. Seedlip is meant for this purpose and helps some but tends to fall pretty easily into the juice or flavored water trap.

Through a mix of experimenting, Seedlip recipe ideas, Aviary Cocktail Book inspiration, staring at my liquor shelf, and starting at my fridge, I've had a modicum of success. I seem to have hit on a formula that works well stirred with ice and served Up:

A Non-Alcoholic Up formula

  • 1 oz Seedlip (Spice 94 or Garden 108)
  • 1/2 oz Verjus Blanc (Fusion Napa Valley)
  • 1/2 oz Verjus Rouge (Fusion Napa Valley)
  • 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 oz Syrup (Simple, Demerara, etc.)
  • 1-2 dash(es) bitters

Gomme Syrup and Garden 108 seem to work well together but I think the best that I've hit on so far is what I'm calling an Uncut Jewel:

Uncut Jewel and its ingredients

Uncut Jewel recipe

  • 1 oz Seedlip Spice 94
  • 1/2 oz Verjus Blanc (Fusion Napa Valley)
  • 1/2 oz Verjus Rouge (Fusion Napa Valley)
  • 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 oz Maple Syrup (Grade A Amber Color, Rich Taste)
  • 1 dash Salted Cacao Bitters (Workhorse Rye + Dandelion Chocolate)

Stir with ice, serve up, and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

Notes

The drink leads with a note of allspice before taking on dominant notes of fruit and nuts and finally closes with a hint of cocoa. Overall, it's well balanced, sippable, and fairly complex, without assaulting the palette.