|Image: Alcohol Change UK|
Things are typically pretty boozy around here, so while I'm not personally participating in Dry January, I am taking some time this month to do more with no/low alcohol concoctions for a few reasons:
1. I support drinking responsibly, identifying designated drivers before the party starts, and people who drink less than me or not at all as they live their lives true to their values.
2. Low/no alcohol cocktails are apparently going to be very "in" in 2019, especially with companies like Seedlip doing such cool things with alcohol-free distilled spirits, or the rise of mixers that offer interesting applications for low/no-alcohol drinks and spirit-based cocktails alike.
3. I'm an impulsive, "there's never too much of a good thing"-kind of person by nature. If there were no such thing as consequences, I would quit my job, buy all the Cheetos and Mike & Ikes, play video games all day, spend a bunch of money on random stuff I don't need, then go out to dinner to an expensive gourmet restaurant with a great cocktail menu (of which there is no shortage in Chicago). Since consequences are indeed a thing, I love when I stumble upon things that help me keep my life in balance, and while not as impactful as, say, meaningful relationships with other humans or a runner's high, I find creative satisfaction in developing new and interesting cocktails, and this is a way to do so without also drinking like a fish.
What great timing, then, that I finally received my bottle of Seedlip's Grove 42 yesterday.
Distilled from orange, blood orange, mandarin oranges, lemons, ginger, and lemongrass, Seedlip describes the taste as follows: "Orange & Mandarin peel & pith top notes, with juicy Blood Orange undertones open up to a stalky, grassy character. Clean, fresh notes of Ginger & Lemongrass with a dry finish from a subtle Peppercorn prickle."
Seedlip says not to drink it straight, but how am I supposed to know if that's accurate? How will I know what to do with it if I don't taste it solo? I'm not saying Seedlip's spirits taste good on their own (which is probably why they suggest you don't go there), but you definitely get some direction and inspiration by smelling and tasting without any additives at first.
So I chose not to heed that suggestion and tried it.
Maybe my palate is off, but honestly, guys, it tasted like really flat, slightly bitter pith water. Soda didn't improve things, but when you add ginger syrup, well, now we're talking. I didn't taste much orange, but maybe the grass, and the pith was still there, but it added some interesting depth to what is essentially fancy homemade ginger ale.
Grove 42 and Ginger Ale2 oz Seedlip Grove 42
1 oz Ginger Simple Syrup
Wedge from a washed orange
Combine Grove 42 and Simple Syrup in a Tom Collins glass, and top with soda. Squeeze some juice from the orange wedge into the glass, drop it in, and serve.
This isn't to say that Seedlip's stuff is bad – in fact, I've rather fallen in love with the Spice 94, and I've got something big planned for it this weekend, so stay tuned.