By Terry Trucco
Yuzu-Raspberry Thyme Sparkling Lemonade is this weekend’s drink. It’s a sweet/tart mash-up that’s tasty and alcohol-free, but first an explainer.
Not so long ago an intriguing zero-proof drink was as likely to be served at a hotel bar as a hot fudge sundae. We know. We drank a lot of Shirley Temples when we were pregnant.
But increasingly alcohol-free drinks have leapt past snoozey staples like ginger ale and club soda with lime and muscled onto the cocktail menu brandishing A-list ingredients, stylish glassware and, no surprise, champagne prices (hold the champagne).
Not everyone wants to drink alcohol at a bar or with a meal, especially lunch, says Joe Jackson, corporate director food and beverage at Hyatt. “We try to have at least three zero-proof drinks each season.”
For bartenders, non-alcoholic drinks are a departure – and a challenge. Instead of a complex, mega-proof leading player like gin, vodka, tequilia or scotch, proof-free drinks are built around the fruit, herbs, cream and sparkling water that bartenders view as members of the chorus.
Those ingredients can command a starring role when they’re natural and fresh instead of out of a can. It’s no coincidence that the popularity of the zero-proof cocktail tracks the rise of the all-natural hand-crafted cocktail.
The Yuzu-Raspberry Thyme Sparkling Lemonade, this season’s showstopper at the Grand Hyatt‘s Grand Central bar, comes with mega cred – organic raspberries, local thyme, organic cane sugar and organic yuzu juice. At $8 it’s cheaper than a full-throttle cocktail but goes down a lot faster, especially on a hot day. It’s easy to polish off two.
Or you can hunt down some fresh yuzu juice and whip up a batch at home. The recipe serves 8.
2 cups yuzu juice
2 cups organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons of thyme sprigs
1 pint raspberries
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sparkling Natura water
1) Combine sugar, yuzu juice, lemon juice and thyme in a saucepan.
2) Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
3) Let steep for one hour, strain and cool.
4) Muddle raspberries in a glass.
5) Mix 1 part above syrup and 3 parts sparkling Natura water.
6) Garnish with a lemon wheel.