Crafting nonalcoholic cocktails
Kala Ellis spends her days in pursuit of flavor.
- As beverage director at Oak Steakhouse downtown, she uses syrups and juices to make the drinks she serves sing — with or without alcohol.
Driving the news: Ellis tells Axios that Dry January and the growing popularity of alcohol-free cocktails are energizing trends that allow her to meet and serve more customers.
- She plans to continue expanding her zero-proof offerings. Her mission is to craft them with the same care and sophistication she'd bring to any other beverage.
What she's saying: "You can create some incredible flavor profiles with zero-proof spirits and with different techniques for blending juices and syrups."
State of play: Ellis says demand for elevated zero-proof options has grown rapidly during her years working as a bartender. She says bars would be smart to stock zero-proof brands like Ritual to create a welcoming environment for all customers.
- "This is something that people want, and we want to meet them where they're at — whether it's for Dry January or just … any day of the week."
- "We see, especially as we improve our list, they are moneymakers. I really think that bars should lean into them."
🔥 Hot tip: The key to a good cocktail, regardless of the alcoholic content, is balance. Ellis says ginger syrup is an excellent go-to for rounding out zero-proof drinks with a punch of heat. A tiny dash of habanero can hit the same mark.
- "It doesn't have to be a spicy cocktail, but just that little bit of heat creates a more advanced experience," she says.
Here's Ellis' recipe for a nonalcoholic cocktail made with mint and zero-proof gin.
Menta Limón Ingredients:
1 ounce Ritual’s zero-proof gin.
1 ounce mint syrup.
1 ounce lemon juice.
The first step is to make the mint syrup:
- Make simple syrup (two parts sugar, one part water). Pour it into a quart container, while leaving about a fourth of the container empty for the mint.
- Take two large bundles of mint, twist up, and add mint leaves to simple syrup. Stir in and let rest overnight in the fridge.
- Strain and refrigerate.
- Hard shake ingredients.
- Add cobbled ice and a splash of soda.
- Pour into a Collins glass and garnish with expressed mint sprigs.
More Nashville stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Nashville.