Cheers June 2014

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 35 of 51 36 | JUNE 2014 syrup and hibiscus bitters with a splash of soda water; and the Ah Shante mixes Byrrh Cinchona, Campari, yuzu, house-made bitters and sparkling wine. BUBBLING UP All three of the low-alcohol cocktails at e Cypress Room offers include an effervescent element, which wakes up the palate and scrubs it in between courses. Bubbles also ramp up a drink's aromatics, while tempering the alcohol content of higher-proof ingredients. But Klemm notes that bubbly-based, low-alcohol sips need to get a boost from other components, or they may end up one- noted and simple. "e challenge is adding more complex tastes to appeal to different kind of drinkers." Klemm and the other bartenders at Pearl and Ash are fans of strong, bitter drinks, so they strive to introduce flavors like oak, coffee and hops to "widen" the flavor of these low-alcohol cocktails. For instance, the Bowery 75 drink ($13) tops oak-aged sake and lemon confit with sparkling wine, while the Area Code ($13) combines cardamaro with grapefruit, ginger beer and maple syrup. HEALTHIER AND SAFER OPTIONS Low-octane libations have added appeal beyond their food synergy. ey are also popular among patrons with health considerations, and those who need to get behind the wheel. H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor of the 45-seat Elixir, a neighborhood saloon and craft cocktail bar in San Francisco, was inspired to create his Low Impact menu over a year ago when his wife was pregnant. "I realized that most places I went had horrible non-and low-alcohol selections, so I aimed to fix that," he says. Elixir's Low Impact menu contains six cocktails—all which can also be adapted to alcohol-free versions—and changes seasonally. Recent sips include the Manzana Fizz ($8), with Osborne Manzanilla sherry, apple juice, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, egg white and soda water. e Cubierto de Sangre ($10) mixes La Pinta Pomegranate tequila (19% ABV) with blood orange juice and house-made clove syrup. It's served either flat and over ice, carbonated and over ice, or shaken with egg white and served up. Ehrmann recalls a conversation with a recent guest who was excited to see the lower-proof selections because he had to drive home after his meal. "People need something low-alcohol for all kinds of reasons, but normally just give in to water, juice or soda, simply because that's the norm," he notes. Providing well-thought out and executed drinks—in all styles and concentrations— shows consideration and attention to all guests. Time of day can be a consideration when ordering a drink. Pinewood Social, a 190-seat American restaurant, cocktail bar, bowling alley and karaoke lounge in Nashville, TN, introduced low-alcohol cocktails mainly for the brunch crowd. "Guests Fancy a Shim? American largely forgot about low-alcohol cocktails in the shadow of Prohibition, but their recent resurgence has staying power, according to author Dinah Sanders. "What is happening in cocktails now is a return to the kind of ingredient-focused drinking without bias of alcohol content which was known before Prohibition." Her 2013 book, The Art of the Shim: Low–Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, explores drinks that "provide all their pleasures without walloping you over the head with booze." Saunders, who coined the term shim for low-alcohol cocktails, says the foundation of many great shims is fortified or aromatized wine such as sherry, port, vermouth and quinquinas. She encourages operators to offer them both as aperitifs on the rocks with a twist, neat or on a single large piece of ice, as well as in cocktails. The former will allow guests to learn more about the ingredients' aroma and flavor profiles, while the latter will help with quality control and inventory. "Cocktail usage will ensure that you go through bottles fast enough to keep the solo presentation shining with the flavor of freshly opened bottles," Sanders notes. She cites Lillet and Punt e Mes as two great bottles to start with when crafting shims; Saunders also likes amaros and sherry. The Sophia Loren shim, created by Kim Rosselle, bar manager at Flora and Fauna in Oakland, CA, is a good fit for the warmer weather, Sanders says, plus it doesn't call for any juice from the currently-expensive-to-procure lime. The shim mixes 2 oz. of Aperol, 1 oz. of lemon juice, ½ oz. of bourbon and four dashes of Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters; it's shaken then garnished with two lemons peels rolled into a flower. Shims appeal both for their food compatibility, and their ability to keep the imbiber lucid and witty, Sanders says. "They've always been part of the cocktail spectrum, and are too delicious and useful to let go again." —KAM The Sophia Loren Shim, with Aperol, lemon juice, bourbon and rhubarb bitters. KELLY PULEIO 34-38 low alcohol CH0614.indd 36 6/3/14 9:43 PM

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