Why Your Bar Needs Better Non-Alcoholic Drinks

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Your bar may feature a dozen rare bourbons and a housemade tonic clarified in a centrifuge. But if the non-alcoholic options boil down to seltzer and a virgin Rum & Coke, there’s still room to up your game. Bartenders can use the creativity and dedication to craft that makes for a good cocktail program to develop alcohol-free drinks that expand a bar’s appeal.

For Tales of the Cocktail, I talked to some bartenders about how (and why) bars should make good non-alcoholic drinks.

A Busy Bar’s Guide to Complicated Holiday Drinks

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I wrote about holiday cocktails for Tales of the Cocktail. If you need to make eggnog, Tom & Jerrys or other high-maintenance cocktails for a crowd, this article has tips for you from bartenders around the country.

Holiday cocktails often call for delicate ingredients and labor-intensive techniques. But whipping, frothing and boiling a cup of cheer on the spot isn’t possible when you’re deep in the weeds. So what’s a bartender to do during this season of bigger crowds and complicated drinks? In a word: Batch.

Meet the Vermouth Sleuths

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Vermouth was a crucial building block of the American bar scene. Early versions of the Manhattan and martini were made with twice as much vermouth as either whiskey or gin. But World War II cut off access to imports and squelched demand for European brands. More than 50 years later, the classic cocktail revival inspired bartenders to seek out high quality European vermouth once again. And when they couldn’t find it, bartenders turned to Haus Alpenz.

I wrote about the Vermouth sleuths at Haus Alpenz over at Tales of the Cocktail

Cocktails Made With Yogurt

Cloud Hopper yogurt cocktail

Cloud Hopper Cocktail at GreenRiver in Chicago (photo: Kailley Lindman)

Yogurt: It’s not just for breakfast.

Because of its health benefits, yogurt has taken over the dairy section. Greek, Icelandic, whole fat, non-fat, goat, cow or sheep — there are more varieties of yogurt at most markets than all other milk products combined. But the next frontier for cultured dairy is behind the bar.

I wrote about yogurt cocktails for Tales of the Cocktail (also includes a recipe for Top of the Monk’s Honey Almond & Chevre Fizz!)

How to Make a Smoldering Halloween Cauldron With Dry Ice

Dry Ice Halloween PunchI played with dry ice! It’s easy to make a smoky, foggy Halloween cauldron for your punch. I’m not that careful and I managed not to get hurt!

You don’t need eye of newt or wing of bat to brew a batch of toil and trouble this Halloween. All you need is some dry ice. This magic ingredient turns an ordinary punch bowl into a bubbling, smoldering cauldron that’s perfect for parties.

Dry Ice Punch Bowl Tutorial at SheKnows