When you want a refreshing cool-down more than a booze-infused evening, a mocktail makes the perfect summer drink order. But a truly good one can be a bit elusive.
“I’ve found that the majority of nonalcoholic cocktails are simply concentrated fruit juice in a glass that’s often topped with club soda,” said Mishi Torgove, beverage director at The Halyard in Southold. “While there is nothing wrong with that, the end result doesn’t have the same depth and complexity that alcoholic cocktails call for.”
We combed the North Fork for the best places to get a thoughtful, complex and delicious cocktail, minus the alcohol.
The Halyard, Greenport
“We start by cutting a pineapple into two-inch cubes. People often discard or cut around the core because of the pineapple’s fibrous starchy nature, but why waste it? Blended properly, it’s possible to get a really nice airy yet flavorful puree that gives the cocktail a great mouthfeel and a nice frothy top. We reduce a ginger cordial, caramelize lime juice and brown sugar, incorporate aloe juice to “hydrate” the cocktail, which makes it super refreshing. Then we use Seedlip Grove, an alcohol-free distillate consisting of Mediterranean orange, lemon peel, lemongrass and ginger, which gives the drink the fortifying herbs needed to carry it through the palate cycle. This cocktail is shaken, double strained and served in an old fashioned glass over ice and garnished with two pineapple fronds.”Mishi Torgove, beverage director
North Fork Table, Southold
“We found a damson plum preserve from a farm stand and made it into a cordial with black pepper. Mixed with lime and soda, it’s tangy and a little spicy.”Rob Krueger, head bartender of JFRestaurants
Bruce & Son, Greenport
“These clarified savory sipping teas were created by my husband, Chef Scott Bollman. It’s a way for us to utilize and minimize waste when it comes to the produce that we use on our menu. These teas are a great way for us to showcase the versatility and taste of produce in its simplest form. Our consommé will rotate throughout the season. We might offer cold sipping teas in the summer months.”Kassata Bollman, owner and beverage director
“This refreshing drink, a twist on a traditional Honduran hot tea, contains cucumber-basil infused syrup, hibiscus extract and lemon-lime soda. Between the freshness of the cucumber and the sharp taste of the basil, it gives a very herbal, floral aroma reminiscent of being in a garden. The drink finishes with a hint of lime. It’s a perfect way to drink in the North Fork.”Helen Cruz, bar manager
A Lure, Southold
Sweet Passion Tea
“This drink — of chamomile honey water, passion fruit puree, lemon juice and seltzer — is a tribute to my grandmother. Growing up we would pick fresh passion fruit from the vine, sprinkle a little sugar on it and eat it right up. The tart, tropical taste of the passion fruit combines nicely with the sweet chamomile honey water. It’s a lovely drink for any time of day.”Helen Cruz, bar manager
Demarchelier Bistro, Greenport
“Lavender makes me think of the lavender fields in the south of France. It’s so French! When I was making a nonalcoholic beverage I wanted it to be French, of course, and healthy, especially now. This has been a stressful year. Mixing ginger, lemon and lavender seemed to me the perfect blend to mix flavor and health benefits. It’s calming, anti-inflammatory and full of vitamin C.”Emily Demarchelier, owner