As the weather shifts from spring to summer, so do people’s happy hour habits. “Spiritous, booze-forward drinks — think Manhattans and old-fashioneds — get dialed back, and citrusy, produce-driven drinks take center stage,” says Ashley Rose Conway, aka @craftandcocktails, the author of “Celebrate Rosé: Cocktails and Parties for Life’s Rosiest Moments.” Many of us will be seeking lighter, healthier options in our cocktail choices this summer, and that includes options with lower alcohol by volume or no alcohol at all.
While self-isolating this spring during the pandemic may not have been one of life’s rosiest moments, for some it has been a time to go deeper on hobbies like building your own bar cart. Well, that mixology geek-out doesn’t need to be pushed aside when you take the booze factor down a notch or two. The trend of “sessionable” drinks — low enough in alcohol that you can consume several in one “session” without ill effects — began in the world of craft beers, but can certainly apply to cocktails, too.
Julia Momose, creative director at Chicago’s formal bar Kumiko, also endorses the motto of “sipping in moderation and extending the enjoyment through sessionable, aperitif-style cocktails,” specifically in warmer months. “Highballs are some of my favorite drinks to mix and sip. Peaches, blueberries and raspberries will be coming into season and work well fresh or cooked down into jams and syrups for spirit-free and low-proof mixing,” she says.
In addition to bringing produce center stage for summer drinks, you can expand your low- or no-ABV spirits bases. Zero-proof spirits