Mocktail Mixology: James Bond edition
Preparing Yerba Mate’
Sober Doesn’t Need to Mean Bored: Seedlip
Five years ago I saw a bottle with an odd label sitting on a shelf and picked it up. The writing on the back said that inside was “A floral blend of hand-picked Peas & homegrown Hay”.
I had no idea if what I had read would be a good thing or not, so I turned the bottle upside down looking for a price, and instantly decided I would never know. $50 was too rich of an experiment for me.
Fast forward to late last year when the magical interwebs having eavesdropped on my retelling this tale, suddenly served up and ad for Seedlip.
There it was, that same odd label, same description, but with a much revised number. Thank you spyphone.
I say thank you sincerely as having done the experiment I have now concluded it would have been worth spending the fifty.
Turns out the high price tag was connected to the products importation from England. What I had been unwittingly waiting for was the US launch.
So now I can easily order from Amazon unique flavors of non- alcoholic mixers with which to shake and not stir something tasty to sip that isn’t 90% sugar or 10% caffeine.
And yes, thank you, because sometimes we boring sober people get bored of what is available and want something better.
Seedlip is that.
Something Interesting to Drink: no alcohol
It is no secret that I do not drink alcohol. Never have. This personal life choice, which shouldn’t be such a big deal, has a surprising impact on my life. No, it hasn’t help me avoid a series of bad choices as I make those quite well while sober, but other things like making me the rugby team’s all time designated driver, countless corporate happy hours where you answer the same silly questions over and over and over (because drunk people think this is interesting and charming) but the biggest effect this teetotaling has had on me, is limiting my options regarding interesting beverages.
For a period of time some friends and I took matters into our own hands, and we got quite good at it if I may say so, but it was not sustainable. I need other options.
For Christmas I want something interesting to drink.
Before I dive into a list, let me point out a site for soda reviews that is unparalleled in breadth and quality: Five star soda. They are good. You can trust them.
Now the list:
Blenheim Ginger ale is always number one for me. It is a bit too hard to find but its burn your face off spiciness is worth the effort. Solid number two is Absinthe soda (made by Saiteaux). Tastes like liquid black licorice and I LOVE it. Then as you move down the soda spectrum just keep in mind super sweet is not my thing, but spicy or tart usually works. Blood orange, lime, clove, birch, anise, lemon, ginger, raspberry, etc. etc. If in LA, go to Galco’s.
Drinking chocolate, dark and spicy. You know, Mexican style with chili and cinnamon. The darker, spicier, and thicker the better.
I love yerba mate. I drink it mostly unsweetened, preferably through a bombilla from a gourd and in a group, but solo from my matermo is just fine. I like the taste but even more I like the equipment and the process. My default setting with most foods or beverages is to go too fast. Mate makes me slow down a bit. This is a good thing.
Don’t go to Whole Foods or some place similar and pay $25 for a 2lb bag. Find a latin market and buy a 5lb bag of Rosamante, CBSe, or Taragui for $10. Or, pretty much any mate anything from gauchogourmet.com
Just steer clear of a six pack of Diet Coke.
Credit Where Credit is Due: Pop ‘n Sweets
I have not been know to look for nice things to say about Provo Utah. Not wanting to be a generally negative person I have often kept my mouth shout when wanting to say bad things about the place. I find myself now in a position where I have no choice… I must praise the place. Or at least I must praise one place that is in that place.
They have nice story about how they came to be and who owns the place but that doesn’t mater much in this case. This candy and soda shop could have been founded by the devil and it would still be worth the visit (incidentally the devil has been outlawed in Provo so it couldn’t have been founded by him).
Long story short, they have soda. All kinds of soda. Soda on tap, Soda from Austria, Soda that’s funny, soda that is sophisticated, a lot of soda. I like that. They have candy too but I’m not so much into wasting calories on that when there is a red capped Blenheim ginger ale to be had.
Or perhaps a mate mojito? A birch beer maybe? Whatever your flavor grab one and have a seat at the counter or in a booth.
This place was good enough that I wanted to hang around… in Provo. I want to go again… to Provo. I can’t believe I ‘m typing this. I’m being forced to shift my fundamental belief system. My foundation is crumbling.
Crumbling into a sweet, fizzy, bubbly, wonderful pool of soda.
Galco’s: Heaven is Carbonated
If we are all good boys and girls we will one day be presented at the pearly gates and be allowed to enter. For those who are still lost and wallowing in iniquity, the pearly gates are located at 5702 York Boulevard in Los Angeles California. The whole Saint Peter thing is really just a myth, the gates are actually guarded by a guy named John Nese… and he lets everybody in.
That right there is a grizzly bear, St. Peter, and a groveling soda supplicant. I can testify that there is no better place on this terrestrial planet to grovel for carbonated beverages. This is because if a soda exists, Galco’s Old World Grocery stocks it. He does not put it in a glass display case or on a nice tablecloth, just stocks it.
Now make no mistake not all sodas are created the same. Some are completely unfit for human consumption, or, are simply unremarkable and don’t merit the trip. Others are deservedly the desire of pilgrims and sojourners world wide. Blenheim for example is worth scaling Everest. But you don’t have to because Nese stocks it.
Ever heard of Almdudler? I hadn’t either but I’m not from Austria and it is. They have it at Galco’s and it tastes a bit like a flowery lemonade.
How bout MacFuddy Pepper Elixr? Despite its domestic origins I had never heard of such a thing but the promise of spice was too much to pass up. It disappointed. But I blame my imagination rather than the beverage.
Did you know they make a cinnamon and rose soda? No? Well that’s probably because they don’t. But my kid did at Galco’s. If they don’t have what you want there you can make your own. If it exists, ever existed, or you wish it existed. You have to make it to heaven.
If this is the result of immigration…
then LET THEM COME! The southern end of the Italian market is no longer Italian and I am 100% fine with this. Thanks to affordable horchata concentrate I am on my way to Texas to make a speech, “Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!”