Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Mocktail Hunt

I'm thinking that I need to bring a little recipe book with me, in Portuguese, to teach the Brazilian bartenders how to make non-alcoholic drinks. Because there are lots of reasons why one might not be drinking and sometimes, a Coke just does NOT cut it.

Was out with a friend a few weeks ago at Sawasdee, which has been delish every single time I've eaten there. They've got several really excellent cocktails, which is a bit of a rarity in Rio (unless I am eating at the wrong venues, in which case PLEASE suggest restaurants in the comments!).

Things like: tomato juice with wasabi and sake; a hot-pepper spiked mojito and lots of cool teas. Unfortunately, even the mojito, which should be easily made without rum, was a no-go. The waitress seemed confused by the very idea that muddling mint leaves and squeezing lime juice into a glass could be done without a tumblerful of rum.

I'm surprised, because Rio has the Lei Seca, which prohibits absolutely ANY alcohol consumption for the driver of a vehicle, as well as a plethora of pregnant women and a pretty outspoken alchohol-free Evangelical population, all of which would indicate to me that offering non-alcoholic but FUN drinks would be a sure-fire revenue increaser. Surely not everyone wants to drink Coke Zero all night long?

I know it's a lot to ask for places to carry syrups and the like, but a good start would be a couple of fruit juices, some mint leaves, maybe a salted rim. Lime juice, a tonic water, and salt, while not substituting for a good splash of gin, is a lot more interesting than guaraná. Or that hot mojito would work with some sparkling water, lime juice, mint and a splash of Tabasco. Done. Places that offer Bellinis should, theoretically, be able to give you a peach juice and soda water/guaraná/7-Up. (Though the last restaurant we were at couldn't.) Or, my new favorite at the juice place, when you need a little anti-gripal action: limão suiça with honey and ginger. Bright green, punchy and tart, all of which are lovely, lovely.

On that note, any reader suggestions, either for recipes or places?

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