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How to Make a Mocktail

January 2018
How to Make a Mocktail
PHOTOGRAPHER: 

Cannon Green bar manager Hilary Curry shakes up a tangy non-alcoholic drink perfect for toasting the New Year

Clean Slate

(Serves 1)

3 oz. fresh pineapple juice (recipe follows)
.75 oz. vanilla simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
3 oz. grapefruit soda (Q brand preferred)
1 pineapple leaf, for garnish

Combine the fresh pineapple juice, vanilla simple syrup, freshly cracked black pepper, and grapefruit soda in a cocktail shaker tin. Fill the tin with ice and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Double strain the mixture over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and serve.

For the pineapple juice:

Remove the rough outer layer of a medium-size pineapple and cut off the green stem on top, reserving the leaves for garnish. Standing the pineapple up on its base, slice the yellow flesh away from the core lengthwise, then discard the core. Dice the spears into small cubes and place them in a blender. Add about a 1/2 cup of water, and then blend until the fruit is pureed. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp. Store the juice in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator; it will keep for up to four days.

For the vanilla simple syrup:

1 cup hot water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans (pod split lengthwise; seeds scraped out with the back of a paring knife)

Pour the hot water in a glass bowl and then add the sugar, stirring vigorously to dissolve. Stir in the vanilla, then cover and refrigerate the simple syrup for at least four hours, allowing the flavor to intensify.

Mixer’s notes:

Add a kick: “The cracked pepper adds a few extra elements to the drink,” explains Curry. “It creates a slight back-of-the-throat heat, but it also brings out the refreshing qualities of the pineapple.”

Freshness test: “Keep an eye on any foaming that forms at the top of the pineapple juice while it’s in the fridge—that can mean it’s beginning to ferment,” Curry notes.

Balancing act: “A well-balanced drink depends on acidity, ingredient quality, and the layering of complementary flavors,” Curry says. “Acidity makes you salivate, so you want to drink more. Using quality ingredients—and mixing them properly—decides how good or bad your drink will be.”

Leftovers you’ll love: Have extra pineapple juice on hand? Add a couple tablespoons to marinades and stir-fries for a sweet-and-sour taste. It’s also delicious blended into morning smoothies.

Meet the mixer: Hilary Curry 

A mainstay at Cannon Green since its opening in 2014, Hilary Curry has climbed the posh spot’s well-appointed ladder, first tending and now managing the bar. But before she settled in West Ashley with her wife, Beverly Harrell, who also works at Cannon Green, the Connecticut native’s shaking and stirring skills were honed in bars across the country, including Aspen and Asheville. While Curry’s New Year’s drink of choice is High West Double Rye! served neat, she enjoys making mocktails for others. “I love playing around with different flavors, and mocktails are the best stepping stone to crafting cocktails,” she says. “Plus, it’s fun to create something festive for those who can’t have or opt out of drinking alcohol.”