A few weeks ago, based on a Boing-Boing review, I picked up a book called Kiddie Cocktails.
This is a book of cocktail recipes containing exclusively virgin cocktails. I got it because I sometimes get a little tired of fizzy water from the Soda Stream, even if I have five different kinds of bitters to give it a little flavor. And I totally love the color and presentation of fancy tiki drinks; I just don’t want to drink one every night.
On my own, I’ve messed around with using carbonated water to make fun non-alcoholic drinks. The one I like the most includes orange juice and a few drops of vanilla extract. It’s a liquid creamsicle. I thought I’d see what drinks the professionals came up with.
Making a virgin cocktail is sometimes as easy as using the non-virgin recipe and simply deleting the alcohol from the mix. Other times, it takes a little more swizzling of ratios or substitute ingredients. And sometimes a virgin recipe is totally made up, not sourced from any alcoholic drink. This book starts with the classic Shirley Temple and Arnold Palmer, then progresses through classic cocktails, tropical drinks, punchbowls, desserts (lots of ice cream-based drinks), and custom concoctions of the author’s own design. Everything is described, explained and well-tested.
Although I really enjoy the sentiment behind the book and a few of the recipes, I must admit that the majority of the drinks are not for me. Most of them (even outside the “tropical” chapter) are based heavily on fruit juices or simple syrup. Although I enjoy a sweet cocktail on occasion, my tastes tend to lean toward the savory. I like martinis (vodka and gin), absinthe, chartreuse. As much as I love the look, I don’t often go for tiki drinks. Sugar frequently leaves me with stomach aches.
That being said, I still do recommend this book. Even if they’re not all my favorite recipes, it’s nice to have them available when entertaining guests. Could you find similar recipes on your own on the web? Yes. But it’s so convenient having them all together in one volume. Plus the artwork is fun. It’s good to leave out for visitors to paw through. The ladies at the Powell’s checkout counter all wanted to buy the book based on the artwork alone. And if you’re not already a cocktail person, the opening chapter does a great job at walking you through equipment and techniques.