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Shore Lodge_Perfect_Pig_Manhattan_V2.jpg Photo courtesy Shore Lodge
Shore Lodge’s Perfect Pig Manhattan is made with aged rye whiskey and garnished with a brass nail as a cocktail pick.

Good Libations: Healthy Cocktails Are a Hit at Events

From antioxidant elixirs with fruity infusions to small-batch booze with vintage vibes—the new decade promises the best of both big cocktail trends.

TO YOUR HEALTH—LITERALLY Not unlike current health-conscious culinary movements (can you say “plant-based?”), cocktails are indeed becoming, to use the millennial buzz phrase “more intentional.”

“There seems to be a movement to more refined, cleaner cocktails,” says Ardi Dulaku, beverage manager for L’Auberge de Sedona, Sedona, Ariz. “Cocktails were getting a little messy and overwhelming in recent times.”

Low- to no-alcohol drinks, relying on carbonation and exotic fresh juices such as quince or even light wines such as Muscadet, are more frequently requested, he says, especially in the afternoon to avoid the risk of over-consumption. Using Seedlip--a distilled nonalcoholic spirit--“is another great way to have a nonalcoholic gin and tonic or martini,” he adds.

Juyoung Kang, lead bartender at The Dorsey at the Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, has noticed a shift as well. “There has been a huge surge of people asking for nonalcoholic beverage offerings using fresh juice cocktails and cold-brew coffee mixes,” she says. Not something you would necessarily expect in Vegas, which says a lot.

To meet the demand for quality “mocktails” and cocktails alike, fruits and vegetables are juiced daily at all three of the property’s bars. “Healthy drinking is a big theme right now,” Kang says. “But moderation, of course, is a key element.”

JUICY DETAILS Likewise, the Fairmont Dallas daily hand-presses signature juice blends including beet, honey-crisp apple, cayenne-cucumber, lime-cilantro, and pear-ginger-carrot to offer guests at its Pyramid Bar.

At Harrah’s Resort Southern California, in Funner, Calif. fresh locally grown fruits and herbs provide the perfect foil to the property’s signature vodka cocktails and sangrias, as evident in its strawberry-rhubarb-infused Popular Demand martini and pamplemousse [grapefruit] sangria.

“It is apparent the latest craze focuses on a healthier cocktail made from light, fresh, local ingredients,” says mixologist Kayla McDonald. “Our vodka cocktails and sangrias incorporate fresh fruits and are a lighter offering for those looking for a healthier cocktail.”

Coconut milk, fresh herbs such as sage and basil, as well as vitamin-rich blackberries and dragon fruit are among the key ingredients in cocktails crafted by Nui Sendee at Uncasville, Conn.-based Casino of the Sky at Mohegan Sun. Mixers such as hibiscus tea, house-made shrubs, and simple syrups are stars in nonalcoholic drinks.

GOING FOR GIN As far as booze goes, Sendee sees a rise in gin consumption, which is being touted as a healthier alcohol due to its lower calorie content and purported antioxidant properties. “It’s being mixed with unique ingredients like sakura and other botanicals. More people are asking for a healthier spirit, and gin is a great candidate” …

See the full story in the Spring issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that—just click here.

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