Wine is likely the first beverage that comes to mind when you think about pairing food and drink, but there’s no need to miss out on this experience simply because you’re cutting down your alcohol consumption. Just like with wine, the right non-alcoholic drink can complement the ingredients in your meal, enhancing its flavours or adding new dimensions of taste and complexity.
While pairing non-alcoholic cocktails and food can feel intimidating at first, it’s really just about playing with flavour similarities and contrasts. You can bring out the taste of a particular ingredient in your dish by choosing a cocktail with the same ingredient. On the other hand, you might want to match a heavier dish with a light drink so that the flavours don’t compete with one another and become overpowering.
As with non-alcoholic mixology in general, the key is to enjoying pairing is to have fun experimenting with different variations. Here are a few summer meal pairing suggestions to help get you started.
This alcohol-free riff on a Cosmopolitan cocktail is made with Sobrii, white cranberry juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup. It’s lovely served with a cheese board featuring soft cheeses like brie -- the cocktail’s acidic cranberry and lemon notes are a nice match with brie’s smooth, creamy texture. You can also play up the White 0 Cosmo’s cranberry flavours by pairing it with a salad sprinkled with dried cranberries, such as this simple cranberry, feta, and walnut salad.
The 0-Gimlet is an alcohol-free cocktail made with Sobrii, lime cordial, and lime juice that takes inspiration from a traditional Gimlet. The citrusy lime flavours make this cocktail an ideal match for the fresh, salty taste of sushi. It makes an excellent non-alcoholic alternative to the standard sake as a sushi accompaniment. Order it from your favourite local restaurant or try your hand at making sushi at home.
Made with Sobrii, rose cordial, lemon juice, and soda, the Sobrii Rose Collins is wonderful served with cuisines that incorporate similar floral, herbal flavours, such as Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes. Try this non-alcoholic cocktail with grilled or roast lamb, such as a slow-roasted lamb leg. The cocktail can also be a great match for a light dessert, such as rose water pudding.
An alcohol-free take on a French 75, the French Floral 75.5 features Sobrii mixed with elderflower syrup, lemon juice, and dealcoholized sparkling wine. If you’ve ever squeezed lemon juice over a platter of fish, you know that it’s a perfect pair for seafood. Try serving the French Floral 75.5 with ceviche -- the floral elderflower syrup will add complexity to its tangy flavours. Or sip it alongside a shrimp cocktail served with its traditional side sauce, which will help to bring out Sobrii’s herbal notes.
This low-octane variation on a Negroni, made with Sobrii, Campari, and Lustau’s Red Vermut, has a pleasantly bitter flavour that’s best matched with bold, salty dishes. Serve it with an appetizer of bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese or spicy deviled eggs. If you’re in the mood for comfort food, the Lo-Groni is also delicious served with an indulgent main course like bacon mac ‘n’ cheese