Build-A-Bar Goes Nonalcoholic: The 'Pony Boy' Is Born and All Is Good

Categories: Booze, How To

Photo by Nicholas L. Hall
Stay gold, Pony Boy.
My wife is pregnant. It's our third time in the barrel, and as unexpected a ride as the prior two. We (think we) know what we're in for this time, though, so it should be smooth sailing. To help ensure pacific waters, I'm (mostly) teetotaling in sympathy with my wife for the next 40 weeks or so. That seems like a pretty good reason to revisit my semi-abandoned nonalcoholic "cocktail" experiments. Drink along with me.

I suppose it's funny that one of my first (re)forays into nonalcoholic cocktails was largely inspired by my experiences with one of the most infamous spirits around. To go from Malört, bringer of grimaces, to beverages my kids can sip while building Lego houses might seem like a huge leap. Really, though, cocktails are all about two things: layering and balancing flavors. (Okay, so there's a bit more to it than that, but those are central concepts.) I so enjoyed the basic flavor components of Malört (honey, grapefruit, chamomile) that I wanted to explore them in a more direct way.

For starters, I made some chamomile tea. Rather than just brew it, I used a combined method of hot and cold brewing, pouring water just off the boil over the bags, allowing it to cool to room temperature, and then steeping it for a full 24 hours. I brewed at double-strength, to ensure that the chamomile flavor would come through clearly in the resulting drinks.

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