Aug 4, 2022 - Food and Drink

Step up your beverage game with craft bartender Zeke Taque's tips

Taque pouring a drink
Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Zeke Taque started making mocktails before it was cool.

Flashback: While bartending in 2014, Taque said people started asking him for non-alcoholic cocktails. So he delivered, making a damn good mock-mojito even alcohol drinkers wanted to try.

  • "At first to me it was weird," Taque told Axios. "I figured they should just get soda or water. But I felt there was a need to have something as colorful and creative as a cocktail."

Now, as a mobile craft bartender and barista, he's learned what it takes to make the perfect drink, day or night.

Taque gave us a couple of tips for making better coffee and cocktails:

1. A darker roast does not make stronger coffee.

  • If you're a coffee snob (like Selene) proudly grinding up dark, oily-looking beans, you're not getting any more caffeine.
  • You're better off with a light or medium roast, actually, but not by much. You don't need to make yourself suffer for a good buzz.

2. Get to the root of it.

  • Taque refuses to use ginger beer when he makes mules. Not only is fresh ginger less expensive, but the muddled root also has a punchier, more refreshing taste.
  • That's the difference fresh ingredients make, he says, between a great mocktail and a juice box.

Plus: Taque whipped up this lavender mule mocktail for us, and it was too tasty not to share.

What you need:

  • 1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce lavender syrup (he recommends the Monin brand)
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, muddled
  • 1 sprig of mint

Combine ingredients in a shaker of ice. Shake vigorously, then add a dash of your preferred soda. Sprite, club soda or citrus La Croix all work great.

Strain or pour it into a glass. This recipe makes one 20-oz drink or two 12-oz drinks.

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