"This is not Jamba Juice."
There are times in even the most dedicated cocktail lover's life when he or she abstains from alcohol. Maybe you're feeling under the weather, maybe you're on antibiotics, maybe you're undoing the damage from a week-long bender, maybe you're preparing for an athletic event, but whatever the reason, you should still be entitled to something a bit more exciting than club soda with a lime wedge. There are folks out there getting creative with non-alcoholic drinks in the city—your favorite bar may even have some selections that hadn't previously crossed your radar. After asking around, I decided to head to Rouge Tomate.
Rouge Tomate's local, sustainable and eco-friendly philosophy is at the core of their menu (they even employ a nutritionist) and their design, which is sleek and modern, full of light blond (sustainably produced) wood. Given the high level of healthiness behind the restaurant, it shouldn't be surprising to find non-alcholic cocktails on the menu. The first page of the beverage menu has a section entitled "From the Juice Bar," but as Wine and Beverage Director Pascaline Lepeltier assured me, "This is not Jamba Juice."
The team behind the bar at Rouge Tomate is as creative with their non-alcoholic libations as their higher-proof counterparts. They make use of purees, teas, fruit and vegetable juices, herbs, syrups, and seltzers to create concoctions that will excite the palate without the extra kick of alcohol. The Green Tornado, a blend of leafy greens and herbs awakened with a lemony acidity, and the Cucumber Cooler, a light and crisp combination of cucumber, lemon, dill and seltzer, are staples among the Rouge Tomate Signature Selections. The Seasonal Selections vary based on what's available at the Greenmarket—the cherry and red raspberry drink that appeared this week may very well be gone as they fade out of season, and replaced with something else.
You can recreate these drinks at home, and, of course, if you aren't abstaining, they can very easily be spiked with vodka, gin, or your spirit of choice. Either would be delightful for brunch, and the Cucumber Cooler certainly hits the spot on a hot summer day. For the vegetable juices, they can be made in a blender using half greens or cucumber and half water, and they should be strained before use.
Pinch of mint Pinch of tarragon 5 oz Mixed green juice* 1 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz Agave syrup
*Mixed Green Juice: 4 oz Mint juice 4 oz Parsley Juice 4 oz Basil Juice 10 oz Spinach Juice 10 oz Butter Lettuce Juice In mixing glass muddle mint a nd tarragon. Add ice and all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain over ice into a soda glass. Garnish with a lemon and a celery stalk.
Pinch of dill 2 oz Lemonade** 2 oz Cucumber Juice 2 oz Club soda 3 Slices Cucumber for garnish
**Lemonade 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz lime juice 1 oz agave syrup 1 oz water
Add all ingredients except cucumber slices and soda in mixing glass. Shake and pour into highball with fresh ice, two cucumber slices and soda. Garnish with cucumber slice.