Bartender Jim McCourt of Prohibition restaurant in Charleston, SC, offers tips for creating lower alcohol light summer sips. Two of his favorites are the Italian-inspired Aperol Spritz, a mixture of Aperol aperitif, Prosecco and club soda; and the classic Pimms Cup cocktail featuring Pimms, cucumber, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and ginger ale.
Here are other tips from McCourt:
• Use low proof alcohol. “I know this sounds like a given,” McCourt says, “but steer away from putting a couple ounces of 100 proof bourbon in your cocktail and instead use a lower proof liqueur. There are thousands of options available and can add a nice flavor to your beverage.”
• Wines are a great ingredient to play with. Use anything from a young Spanish red for a sangria to a Prosecco in a Bellini and endless options in between.
• Alcohol-free mixers are your friends for low-alcohol drinks. “You can choose from mainstream sodas like ginger ale and orange juice or more obscure mixers like artisanal sodas and exotic fruit juices,” McCourt says.
• Consider beer cocktails. They have become a popular menu item on drink lists across the globe. “Try a Black Velvet from my home country of Ireland by layering equal parts champagne and Guinness,” McCourt suggests, “or a Mexican favorite, the Michelada, with Mexican beer, hot sauce, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, lime and a salted rim.”
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