Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub and 3 other cocktail recipes to try with low-to-non-alcoholic spirits

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Recipe: Pepperberry Sweet Shrub

Total time: 15 minutes, plus at least 6 hours of rest

Yield: 2 cups

This citrus-based shrub, in which lemon and grapefruit rinds are mixed with sugar, black peppercorns, thyme, cloves and bay leaves before being combined with lemon juice. Citrus, acts as a lightly spiced base for any drink – whether you add alcohol or not. Use it in a No-ABV French 75 or simply pour about an ounce over ice and add sparkling water or tonic. Or try it in a low ABV French 75, or instead of simple syrup in a classic French 75.

INGREDIENTS

5 medium lemons, peeled and fruit reserved

1 small grapefruit, peeled and fruit reserved

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, crushed

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 crushed cloves

2 bay leaves

NOT

1. Place citrus peel in a medium bowl or large jar. Add sugar, peppercorns, salt, thyme, cloves and bay leaves.

2. Use a pestle or the end of a rolling pin to stir the mixture, working the sugar mixture into the peels until the peels begin to express their oils and begin to turn slightly translucent. Set aside at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight. Much of the sugar should be dissolved, and the citrus peel will be mostly translucent.

3. Squeeze the reserved lemons and grapefruits. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups of juice.) Add the juice to the mixture and stir (or cover and shake the jar) until the sugar and salt dissolve. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing out any solids and transfer to an airtight container. The shrub can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

——Recipe: Without French ABV 75

Yield: 1 cocktail

Break out your best Nick and Nora coupé or glass for this tart, non-alcoholic version of the French 75, ideal for non-drinkers and those who take a night (or a week, a month or a year) without drinking. The key to the drink’s complexity is the Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub, a flavor-packed base that lasts, stored in the refrigerator, for up to a month.

INGREDIENTS

Ice

1 ounce Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

3 dashes orange bitters (optional; see Tip)

2 ounces of sparkling water

1 ounce dry tonic water

lemon twist

NOT

1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub, lemon juice and bitters, if using. Cover and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Nick and Nora or coupe glass, and top up with sparkling water and tonic. Finish with the lemon zest.

Point:

Most bitters contain a small amount of alcohol, and even if they’re very dilute, make sure the person you’re making a drink for is okay with the addition, or skip it altogether.

——Recipe: French Low ABV 75

Yield: 1 cocktail

This big, bright take on the French 75 skips the gin or cognac of the fizzy classic, adding a lightly grassy, ​​lower ABV white vermouth instead. Serving it over ice in a Collins glass is a nod to how the first French 75s were served. (The ice continues to dilute the drink as you sip.) Or help yourself to a Nick and Nora or coupe.

INGREDIENTS

Ice cream (optional)

1 ounce white vermouth, such as Dolan or Noilly Prat

1 ounce Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

3 to 4 ounces of champagne or dry sparkling wine

lemon twist

NOT

1. In a shaker filled with ice, mix the vermouth, the shrub and the lemon juice. Cover and shake vigorously until well chilled. If serving over ice, fill a Collins glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. If you forgo ice, strain into a Nick and Nora or coupe glass. Garnish with champagne and finish with lemon zest.

——Recipe: French Classic 75

Yield: 1 cocktail

Drinkers who know and love French 75 have a strong personal preference for using gin or cognac as a base. This classic recipe offers both options. Pour what you like or, if you’re hesitant, let the season or mood determine your choice. Gin tends towards a cleaner, more botanical and refreshing drink, ideal for drinking in hot weather; cognac gives weight and weight, especially well in cool weather.

INGREDIENTS

Ice

1 ounce of gin or cognac

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup or 1/2 ounce Sweet Bay-Peppercorn Shrub

3 ounces champagne or dry sparkling wine

lemon twist

NOT

1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the gin or cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup or shrub. Cover and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into a champagne glass or coupe and garnish with champagne. Finish with a zest of lemon.

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