The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2018

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Page 38 of 132

38  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2018 Mara Marski is The Tasting Panel's Spirits Editor and resident bartender. PHOTO: DUSTIN DOWNING W hile the so-called "cocktail revolution" may be winding down, plenty of new frontiers remain that demand further exploration. Leading the charge on one little-known front—the spiritfree move- ment—is Chicago-based bartender and consultant Julia Momose. I asked the bar superstar—also partner/creative director at Kumiko, set to open this fall—a few questions about this emerging trend and what it could mean for the beverage industry at large. What exactly is a spiritfree? A spiritfree is any stimulating, nonalcoholic mixed drink made with diverse and distinct ingredients. I want to move away from using the obtuse word "mocktail" to positively influence the way people feel about these creations. The name associated with carefully created nonalcoholic drinks should call for respect rather than evoke feelings of embarrassment. What inspired your passion for the movement? What matters most—more than fancy ingredients, ice, or technique—is how we make our guests feel. A spiritfree is more than just fancy juice: It may be an apéritif, a pairing, a digestif, or perhaps just a little bit of liquid delight. While our guests have always been able to order spiritfrees, it's more likely now that a cocktail bar will have mixers, syrups, teas, and juices on hand to be able to make them well. Our guests who choose not to drink alcohol still deserve a delicious and sophisticated experi- ence complete with drinks to meet the mood. How are spiritfrees being received? People welcome the opportunity to try something new: Not everyone orders the spirit- frees, but they often mention a person who would be thrilled to come by for one. And, at Oriole [restaurant in Chicago], where a tasting menu may involve ten pairings, some guests will alternate wine and spiritfree pairings to moderate their alcohol consumption without sacrificing experience or flavor. How is this movement catching on? I genuinely believe that this is not a "trend" that will fade away. In an industry moving to be more thoughtful and inclusive, we often speak about paying attention and anticipat- ing guests' needs. As we all strive to be the best we can be, I trust that the details of the considered nonalcoholic cocktail will no longer go unnoticed. Chicago-based bartender and consultant Julia Momose is working to popularize the spiritfree movement behind the bar. PHOTO: SAMMY FAZE PHOTOGRAPHY Spiritfree Takes Center Stage at Tales of the Cocktail As Momose's spiritfree movement gains traction, it's attracting the attention of industry titans like William Grant & Sons. The company contracted her as the beverage architect for its alcohol-free portfolio party (yes, you read that right) at New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail convention in July. Momose created several unforgettable spiritfree bev- erages to channel the com- pany's portfolio sans spirits: A concoction of malted barley, aromatic spices, and apricot soda highlighted the beloved flavor DNA of Glenfiddich whisky, while the "Dry Martini" steeped the unique botanicals of Hendrick's Gin in coconut water and verjus blanc. In Fine Feather ◗ ¼ oz. simple syrup ◗ ¾ oz. yuzu juice ◗ 1 oz. Seedlip Spice 94 ◗ Splash of Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon Soda Whip-shake the simple syrup, yuzu, and Seedlip Spice 94 briskly over one cube just to chill and aerate. Strain into a coupe glass, top with Dry Soda Company Sparkling Vanilla, and garnish with an Egyptian starflower–studded lemon. PREMIUM INGREDIENTS FILL ALCOHOL'S SHOES IN JULIA MOMOSE'S SPIRITFREE MOVEMENT Free-For-All PHOTO: SAMMY FAZE PHOTOGRAPHY

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