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Staying Spry & Keeping It Classy with Paired Mocktails

Bear with me here – I know a lack of alcohol in a cocktail doesn’t always sound like a good time. However, there are situations and circumstances that warrant for a tipple-less sipper. It is not uncommon to need an accompanying drink with your meal that isn’t water. Water, even with its many virtues, is boring, and pairs with everything well as equally as it does poorly.
Luckily, here you are, reading this thing here, and I’ve got the information you need to adapt to those trying times. There are certain elements present in every drink that make them more or less appropriate for pairing with a certain kind of food. And you, reader, are able to master those elements. Continue reading for a few guidelines to follow when making the perfect mocktail to go with the time or meal you’re enjoying.
If it’s light, keep it bright. I’m not sure where the rhyming scheme came from, but it works – if you’re casually relaxing or eating a lighter meal, the general rule of thumb is a brighter, lighter drink with a good level of acidity and sweetness to your taste. Lemonade is a layman example, but something like a shrub & tonic with a twist of orange would do just as fine too.
Big and bold with dark is Gold. I tried pretty hard to think of that little rhyme, forgive me for how vague it is – if the dish you’re having has a lot of character, or the party you’re having is big and intense, a nice dark drink looks and tastes exquisite and sophisticated. If it’s rich, bold or spicy, you’ll want something that can stand up to those things. My favorite ingredients for those scenarios are dark berries or fruits, red wine shrubs or vinegars, and maybe a little dark jam or marmalade for a silky texture.
There are some replacements for the boozy elements. Little lazy there, I know. I’m doing my best. There are non-alcoholic spirits, similar to gin, that are absolutely delicious. Harkening back to the light and bright category, a Seedlip spirit & Soda with a grapefruit wedge tastes like the real thing and is delicious. Likewise, there are low to no alcohol sparkling wines that are convincingly crisp and effervescent, and with a good shrub or vinegar with a dash of bitters if you’re feeling risqué goes a long way to making a tasty faux-Kir Royale.

There are many more possibilities as far as mocktails go. It’s an interesting, relatively unexplored territory that is evolving alongside the cocktail scene. They’re delicious when done right, and won’t get you drunk when you’re being a cosmopolitan. Pick up a few ingredients and try your hand at one. Better yet, come to the Fearrington House, where your bartender will concoct an expertly made, impeccably delicious mocktail catered just to you.

~Watson Fitts, Fearrington House Bar Man