Lower Alcohol Cocktails Are In Style

The craft cocktail movement is going strong, rekindling interest in classics that were often overlooked by many drinkers in the past few years (or decades, depending on your age group). The problem with some of these classic drinks is that they are very heavy on the alcohol. This means that – depending on if you’re eating while drinking and if you plan to drive home- you might only be able to enjoy one good cocktail in a night. I’m all for moderation, of course, but one is a pretty limiting number. In a walking city, like New York, it is easier to fit in a few extra drinks, but I happen to live in LA where most people are driving to their watering hole of choice, not walking there.

Fortunately for those of us who might want to enjoy more than one great drink a night when we’re out, there is an increasing interest in lower alcohol cocktails that offer a lot of flavor without the same punch as drinking spirits neat. I’m talking about real cocktails here – not just a glass of juice with a splash of vodka. Newer drinks rely on lower-proof alcohol, such as vermouth, amaro or even sherry and port wine as foundations. These drinks are often built in reverse proportion to the original recipe to lower the spirit level while maintaining a similar flavor profile. For instance, a lower alcohol Manhattan might use twice as much vermouth and half as much whiskey. An added bonus of this trend is that drinkers will become more familiar with alcohol like vermouth, which many people have completely overlooked in favor of higher-proof alcohols in recent years.

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