Alcohol-Free Summer 'Mocktail' Recipes From D.C. Bartender Derek Brown Alcohol-free cocktails are growing more popular as millennials and health seekers pare back their drinking habits. Washington, D.C., bartender Derek Brown shares a few craft recipes ripe for summer.
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A Mixologist's Guide To 'No-Proof' Cocktails

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A Mixologist's Guide To 'No-Proof' Cocktails

A Mixologist's Guide To 'No-Proof' Cocktails

A Mixologist's Guide To 'No-Proof' Cocktails

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/727018361/727107587" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Derek Brown begins making an alcohol-free cocktail. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Derek Brown begins making an alcohol-free cocktail.

Claire Harbage/NPR

The alcohol-free cocktail isn't an oxymoron.

"Mocktails," as the boozeless concoctions have been called by some, are getting more popular — not just among millennials, who are drinking less than their parents, but among people seeking healthier lifestyles, pregnant women and people who simply don't feel like having alcohol.

Derek Brown, a Washington, D.C., bartender and author of the book Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Derek Brown, a Washington, D.C., bartender and author of the book Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Derek Brown is finding ways to cater to drinkers who don't want to drink. He's a Washington, D.C., bar owner, bartender and author of the book Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World.

At his Columbia Room bar in D.C., he says he's moving the "no-proof" cocktails from their own menu section to be alongside the boozy drinks in the main section.

Just in time for a nonalcoholic Memorial Day, Brown offers a few tasty recipes.

Brown places a star anise on top of the Spirit-Free Lion's Tail, an alcohol-free cocktail he just made. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Brown places a star anise on top of the Spirit-Free Lion's Tail, an alcohol-free cocktail he just made.

Claire Harbage/NPR

An alcohol-free version of a drink usually made with bourbon:

Spirit-Free Lion's Tail

5.5-7.5 oz. coupe/ (use a sour glass)

2 oz Seedlip 94

1 oz allspice-infused maple syrup*

1 oz lime juice

1/2 oz aquafaba (chickpea water)

Dry-shake, add ice and shake a second time. Strain into chilled glass. Float star anise on foamy head.

* Heat 1 cup maple syrup with 4 whole dried allspice berries for 5 minutes. Strain out allspice and allow syrup to chill.


Brown also recommends a sophisticated variation on lemonade:

Orgeat Lemonade

(adapted from Jerry Thomas' The Bar-Tender's Guide or How to Mix Drinks)

10-12 oz. highball/ (use a large bar glass)

1 oz. orgeat syrup

2 oz. lemon juice

Shake well and strain into highball. Add ice and top with sparkling water to taste. Garnish with seasonal berries.

Drink mixers for alcohol-free cocktails. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Drink mixers for alcohol-free cocktails.

Claire Harbage/NPR

And for an advanced, "zero-proof" cocktail, Brown shared a recipe with some exotic-sounding ingredients:

Apollo's Crown

(Use highball glass)

1 oz bay leaf soda syrup*

0.25 oz oleo saccharum

1 dash Fee Bros. black walnut bitters

1 dropper acid phosphate

5 oz sparkling water

Build in highball. Stir to combine. Add ice. Garnish with torched bay leaf.

*Bring 10 bay leaves, 8 oz cane sugar, 8 oz water, and 2.25 g citric acid to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins. Strain, seal, and refrigerate.