Our experts at Fairmont Royal York and Oliver & Bonacini describe how to thoughtfully design an alcohol-free cocktail menu at your event that will leave a lasting impression.
Non-alcoholic cocktails have earned the limelight
Spirit-free cocktails have become so clever and sophisticated that they deserve pride of place on any drinks menu. The key to showcasing these beverages is to celebrate the craftsmanship of a truly delicious and memorable cocktail experience.
“I think it's so important that non-alcoholic cocktails be treated with the same kind of hospitality and consideration as any other drink,” says James Grant, director of mixology, Fairmont Royal York Hotel. “It's shifting people's perspectives to appreciate the experience and the flavour rather than the intoxicating elements of a spirit.”
Crowd pleasers: Guests will appreciate a choice of non-alcoholic beers, robust beverages such as kombucha or kefir, and spirit-free cocktails that are bright and pretty with a citrus base and a sparkling component, Grant suggests. The Fairmont Royal York’s CLOCKWORK Champagne and Cocktails bar offers Matter of Time, a drink made with Lyre’s London Dry Non-Alcoholic Spirit, passion fruit, vanilla, lemon and non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Make everyone feel welcome
Guests feel special when greeted with a signature cocktail, so why not include a selection of spirit-free drinks, suggests Amy Teggart, Senior Manager at Oliver & Bonacini, whose diverse portfolio includes venues such as The Carlu and Arcadian as well as restaurants like Malaparte.
When creating a spirit-free cocktail, Grant focuses on the flavour profile. “Something that is well rounded and enjoyable in its own right,” he says. He may incorporate an oversteeped tea to provide a tannic structure that is similar to a spirit that has been aged in oak barrels. “Many companies make really high quality non-alcoholic liqueur substitutes. And we have equipment here that distills the alcohol out of a liqueur, but keeps the intensity,” he says, noting that liqueurs such as Campari and Aperol are good candidates for dealcoholization.
Crowd pleasers: Dominicana, a twist on the classic Espresso Martini, is an ideal spirit-free cocktail since most of the flavour profile is coming from coffee and a high quality, dealcoholized coffee liqueur, Grant says. A punch is also a good choice when flavours, such as camomile, strawberry and tea, are included.