These days we’re seeing a spiritfree beverage evolution: at two-MICHELIN-starred Oriole in Chicago, Julia Momose offers a non-alcoholic pairing to match chef/owner Noah Sandoval’s tasting menu. At José Andrés’s playful cocktail den barmini in Washington, D.C., a roster of spiritfree beverages are on offer. And at SingleThread in Healdsburg, California, spiritfree cocktails are offered both via pairing menu as well as à la carte.
“When creating the beverages, the flavor of the dishes is the most important thing to think of—then there are many other factors to think of, usually what kind of drink we want to make,” says SingleThread sommelier Jon Adler. Like many other beverage teams across the U.S. and even worldwide, Seedlip, the self-proclaimed first non-alcoholic distilled spirit by Ben Branson, has been leading the spiritfree charge behind the SingleThread bar.
“We’ve been using Seedlip products since the beginning of the program’s inception,” he says. Generally speaking, Adler and team base hot beverages off of teas or infusions, while others are a riff on a traditional cocktail. “I like to make sure that each drink is representative of specific aspects of the restaurant, something from the farm, something seasonal that is foraged, something from Japan, as well as using techniques that show value in the pairing itself. It’s using the mindset of both a chef and sommelier at the same time, which can be very fun.”
Get your shakers at the ready and try your hand at this beverage at home.
Bee’s PajamasRecipe Courtesy of SingleThread
1/4 ounce Seedlip Grove 42
1 3/4 ounce Mandarin tea (recipe below)
1/8 ounce loquat syrup (recipe below)
2 drops beeswax bitters (recipe below)
3 drops honeysuckle hydrosol (recipe below)
Combine all ingredients in a chilled metal shaker. Mix thoroughly and strain into a coup or Nick and Nora glass.
2 Satsuma Mandarin oranges
10 grams liquid shio koji*
100 grams water
1. Peel both Mandarin oranges and combine the peels and liquid shio koji in a bag and vacuum seal at 100% compression. Keep refrigerated for 3 hours. Alternatively, submerge the peels in enough liquid shio koji to cover and let it sit refrigerated for 24 hours.
2. Drain off any excess liquid and sun dry for 2 days or until they are completely dry.
3. Pour boiling water over the peels and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool over ice.
*Shio koji is a type of mold used for fermentation, and made of fermented rice, malt, and salt.
100 grams loquats, cut in half (if unavailable, use apricots)
20 grams water
50 grams sugar
Vacuum seal the loquats and water together in a bag at 100% compression. Cook the bag in a water bath or steam oven set to 185°F for 1 hour. Remove the bag, cut it open and strain off the liquid and combine it with the sugar. Cool the syrup over an ice bath. (Alternatively combine loquats with water and sugar in a pot with a lid. Cook on low heat for 2 hours. Let it sit off the heat for 1 hour extra, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Cool immediately over ice.)
200 grams vodka
100 grams beeswax
1. Combine beeswax and vodka in a bag and compress at 100%. Cook in a water bath or steam oven set to 165°F for 45 minutes. Cool immediately in a water bath. (Alternatively combine ingredients in a jar in a dark cool area for 1 month.)
2. Strain off vodka into a pot and turn on low heat. Use an open flame source such as a lighter or match to ignite the fumes near the surface of the vodka. Cook over low heat for 1.5 hours making sure that the liquid does not reduce. Cool immediately over an ice bath.
200 grams honeysuckle flowers (if unavailable, use dried jasmine flowers)
100 grams water
1. Combine water and flowers in a tall pot. Weigh down the flowers with a porous object such as a trivet or a brick. Place a bowl that fits inside the pot on top of the object. Place another bowl that is larger on top of the pot as a lid and fill the bowl with ice.
2. Turn the burner to low heat and check the inside periodically as well as make sure there is always cold ice inside the bowl on top.
Once there is almost no more water in the bottom of the pot, remove the bowl containing the hydrosol, strain and cool.
Photos by Heather Lockwood.