I’m not a big fan of sugary sweet beverages. It seems like many of them fill the store shelves. Americans tend to traditionally enjoy beverages that are sweet. It’s the same most everywhere that I’ve visited in the world with Russia leading the pack. When I visited Moscow in 2015 to teach a master class in non-interventional rum at the Moscow Bar Show, I learned firsthand what it meant to drink one dimensional liquids. Everything was tooth aching sweet! Their favorite coffee in Moscow wasn’t Starbucks, (although sold there), it was Dunkin Donuts! Light and Sweet was how the Russians like their coffee.
With this said, I don’t enjoy making sweet drinks. There are so many other flavors to play with. From tangy to sour, to balance to the realm of bitters to playing parlor games with your tongue, there are so many things to taste that are not sweet in regard to flavor.
When I am tasked with developing something that is challenging in the context of just being different, my goals don’t bring me into Blueberry, candy sugar based cheap THC distillate and lemongrass, although interesting ingredients alone- they just don’t belong together. A THC-infused egg cream does sound intriguing, though... just not more than one per hour.
Truly, what I am seeking is simplicity.
The seltzer phenomenon is popular all over the world and for good reason. These beverages are relatively low calorie and refreshing, while not being as expensive as soda.
I propose however, instead of making just one more fruit punch flavored seltzer, why not emulate the classic, (at least to myself) French Herb Scented Vichy Water?
Have you ever enjoyed real French seltzer water, treated to a pinch of Herbs du Province to refresh your palate? It’s so delicious to enjoy your seltzer water with something other than sugary sweetness. How about a few drops of cucumber bitters added to the mix? That sounds really yummy. And of course, there is an ungodly amount of THC in there. What great mock-tail doesn’t include this essential ingredient? There’s no booze, so take it slow.
I created a French herb flavored simple syrup to add to the Vichy water. It’s slightly sweet from the infused simple syrup, deeply intriguing from the touch of Southern French herbs and tangy from the lemon zest infused, hand cut ice cubes.
Pro Tip: Wash those lemons really well before you zest them!
If you combine sugar and alcohol, the result is, far too often, a knee knocking hangover. So make yourself a French Herb-Scented Vichy Water instead: it’s both booze-free and mercifully low in sugar. First, you’ll make a concentrated, tangy, medicated simple syrup. Then, you’ll add it to a refreshing pour of sparkling water, before dotting the finished drink with cucumber bitters. Use a Medicated Rich Simple Syrup you’ve infused with Blue Dream, which boasts a spicy, herbal fragrance and flavors of sugar coated dark berries and exotic spices.
RECIPE: French Herb-Scented Vichy Water
For the herbed simple syrup:
2 TABLESPOONS (8 G) DRIED HERBES DE PROVENCE
1/2 OUNCE (15 ML) MEDICATED RICH SIMPLE SYRUP (SEE PAGE 43), MADE WITH RAW HONEY
1 TABLESPOON (15 ML) APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
For the cocktail:
LEMON ZEST ICE
6 OUNCES (180 ML) VICHY WATER (OR 6 OUNCES PLAIN SELTZER TOPPED WITH A PINCH OF SEA SALT)
LEMON ZEST TWIST
First, make the herbed simple syrup.
Place the herbes de Provence in a hemp tea bag, and seal.
Combine the Medicated Rich Simple Syrup and the apple cider vinegar in a heat-proof mason jar, and immerse the teabag in the liquid. Do not seal the jar.
Place the jar in the top of a double boiler.
Fill the top of the double boiler with enough water to cover the mason jar halfway.
Simmer lightly at no more than 160ºF (71°C) for 1 hour. (Use a digital thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.)
Remove the teabag from the syrup mixture, and let cool.
Then, add the lemon zest ice to a Collins glass. Top with 1 ounce (30 ml) of the herbed simple syrup. Top with the Vichy water.
Dot with the cucumber bitters, and garnish with a lemon zest twist. Serve immediately.
Warren Bobrow is the CEO of Klaus Apothicaire, a 6x Author, Chef, Barman, Cannabis Alchemist, Master Mixologist. Some of his cannabis awards include: SXSW Cannabis Disruptor 2018, Berlin Bar Convent-Cannabis, and Moscow Bar Show-Master Class-Rum. He is the author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics, Available in Indie Bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo Books. See his cannabis creations on instagram.