Begging to be paired with a cheese and charcuterie plate, this cocktail is a satisfying alternative to red wine. Different 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.
The recipe calls for shrub—a syrup of fruit, vinegar, sugar, and aromatics—and red verjus (tart, unfermented wine grape juice), but we promise it's worth gathering the ingredients. Alternatively, tart cherry juice could be used, and shrub can either be purchased or made. We recommend Element Shrub's Blueberry Rosemary Shrub, or there is a recipe to make it yourself in the notes below.
Strongly brewed, over-steeped black tea adds the familiar tannins of red wine and a dryness that balances the verjus and shrub. Any standard black tea will work, but feel free to get creative and try varieties like smoky lapsang souchong or earthy pu'er to put your own unique spin on this recipe.
House Red (Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipe)
Non-Alcoholic Cocktail / Low-Alcohol / Zero Proof / Mocktail
This cocktail made with black tea and red verjus is a satisfying alternative to red wine.
3 ½ ounces over-steeped black tea, chilled
1 ½ ounce red verjus (or tart cherry juice)
¾ ounce Blueberry Rosemary shrub (see note below)
5-7 dashes All The Bitter Aromatic bitters
Brew a cup of strong black tea and let it steep for 10 minutes, then chill.
Combine chilled tea, verjus, shrub, and bitters in a wine glass and stir. (If all ingredients aren't already chilled, stir briefly with ice and strain into a 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.
We love Element Shrub's Blueberry Rosemary Shrub, or you can make your own with the recipe below.
BLUEBERRY ROSEMARY SHRUB RECIPE
Place 2 cups of blueberries 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).