The benefits of sobriety campaigns such as Dry January in many countries such as the US and UK, Dry July in New Zealand and Dry February in the Czech Republic are also well documented. The success of these alcohol abstinence events has given rise to an entire soft drink industry that is thriving, but recreating the refreshing taste of alcoholic cocktails is a tricky art.
Non-alcoholic beer is nothing new, having been around with varying degrees of success ever since the original temperance movement first advocated for alternative drinks back in the 1910s. For its part, non-alcoholic wines have been around since the late 1800s, when Dr. Thomas Welch pioneered the use of pasteurization to prevent grapes from fermenting, creating a non-alcoholic socializing wine. Even Carl Jung patented the dealcoholization process in 1908.
Everyone seems to be jumping on the sober curiosity bandwagon these days, especially in the spirits department—in the past decade, non-alcoholic gins, whiskeys, and vodkas have popped up everywhere you look. However, many sober people still doubt them for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is taste.
Non-alcoholic spirits tend to be difficult to mix and lack the refreshing bitter taste that alcoholic drinks offer, so the non-alcoholic cocktails you create with them are more often than not successful.
But instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, what if you used the well-known non-alcoholic beer brewing process and the familiar taste of hops to create a non-alcoholic cocktail? Local Profile talked about this new trend with Wim Bens, co-founder of Lakewood Brewing Co., a Garland-based craft beer company, and shared some tips on how to make a premium non-alcoholic cocktail.
Recently, Lakewood Brewing Co. conducted experiments with her brewing equipment and produced the first batch of HYDRO – sparkling water with the addition of hops. “We found a way to be a part of this [better-for-you] movement while still using ingredients to brew,” Bence said of the process of creating the new drink. “We used the same equipment that we use to make our beer and it took us about a year to research and develop it.”
While HYDRO works great as a more invigorating soft soda, it also has a little secret that helps it work better as a main ingredient in a non-alcoholic cocktail – the citrus and floral qualities of the hop flower. “This makes pairing with traditional cocktail ingredients such as citrus, mint, cucumber, berries, etc. a lot easier,” Bence said.
If you manage to dip your hands into one of these jars, try it with the ingredients you use in regular cocktails and find what works for you. “Fresh fruit is always something to spruce up any cocktail or mocktail, but I think experimentation is the key,” Bence told us. “Go to your pantry and spice cabinet, play around and try mixing the flavors you like.”
If Dry January makes you thirsty, try Bence’s favorite non-alcoholic cocktail, HYDRO Cucumber Mint. Combining hop flavors with other ingredients makes for a killer cocktail.”
1. Mash a cucumber slice and three mint leaves
2. Add half an ounce. lime juice
4. Add to your preferred cocktail glass
5. Add desired amount of ice
6. Add 4 oz. HYDRO
7. Garnish with a slice of lime and/or a slice of cucumber around the edge