Begging to be paired with a cheese and charcuterie plate, this cocktail is a satisfying alternative to red wine. Different and unique from de-alcoholized or regular wines, our House Red cocktail nevertheless hits the same range of notes: fruit, herb, spice, tannin, acid, and most importantly, balance. This is a cocktail you can sip with dinner.
It requires prepping shrub—a syrup of fruit, vinegar, sugar, and aromatics—and purchasing verjus (tart, unfermented wine grape juice), but we promise it's worth it. Alternatively, shrub can be purchased instead of made. One of our favorite producers is Element Shrub, and their Blueberry Rosemary shrub would be perfect here.
House Red (Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipe)
Non-Alcoholic Cocktail / Low-Alcohol / Zero Proof / Mocktail
3 1/2 ounces over-steeped black tea, chilled
1 1/2 ounce red verjus (or tart cherry juice)
1 ounce blackberry herb shrub (see below for recipe)
5 full droppers All The Bitter Aromatic bitters
Brew a cup of strong black tea and let it steep for 10 minutes (the goal is bitter, astringent tannin), then chill.
Combine tea, verjus, shrub, and bitters in a mixing glass without ice, stir, and strain into a red wine glass.
Feel free to use either our Aromatic or New Orleans bitters here (or both). They each have flavors that will contribute nicely to the feeling of red wine. Aromatic adds the baking spice qualities that are found in oak barrel aging, while our New Orleans bitters would add more fruity notes from cherry and hibiscus, as well as anise spice.
Verjus is unfermented wine grape juice and is perfect here because it adds tart grape flavor without too much sweetness. Unsweetened cherry juice could also work, as well as pomegranate or cranberry in a pinch. Each one will just have a different flavor profile, but you'll get the same general feeling of the drink.4
Don't want to make the shrub? No problem. Try Element Shrub's Blueberry Rosemary here instead!
BLACKBERRY HERB SHRUB RECIPE
Place 2 cups of blackberries in a mason jar or glass bowl. Add 1 cup white sugar, 1/2 ounce All The Bitter Aromatic bitters, 10 sprigs of rosemary, 2 tbsp. cracked black peppercorns, and a pinch of salt. Muddle everything together. Add 8 ounces of apple cider vinegar, 2 ounces of balsamic vinegar, mix well, then cover and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Strain and bottle. Shrub can last several months refrigerated, and is wonderful simply mixed with sparkling water.
MAKE IT MINDFULLY LOW ALCOHOL
Don't drink less, drink different! Replace the verjus in this cocktail with 2.5 ounces of your favorite red wine and enjoy a full glass with half the alcohol (and less calories).