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When people think of a low-key night of fun, they might simply think of some cocktails at home with friends or a change a venue to someplace more relaxed. While that still holds true, something else has changed: more people are opting for low- and no-ABV cocktails so they can sip more and for longer without over imbibing. Mindful drinking used to mean looking at a menu and seeing Shirley Temples, club soda and virgin frozen daiquiris as your only options. Now, no- and low-ABV options have become just as flavorful, complex and creative as more spirit-forward cocktails. While the flavor profiles and textures remain exciting, no- and low-ABV cocktail drinkers can easily experiment with different drinks throughout the day or night with fewer worries about over doing it.

We imagine some of you loyalists with go-to signature cocktails might not be sold on the mindful drinking movement. You’re probably imagining the kind of eye roll you get from the bartender when you ask for a “virgin mojito.” And when it comes to trading in a classic cocktail for something out of your comfort zone, you might not know where to begin. We’ve got you covered.

We recently enlisted a trusted group of cocktail and lifestyle experts to create a curated menu of delicious no- and low-ABV cocktails that will wow your friends and make your next happy hour unforgettable. Hint, hint: each of them leverages ANGOSTURA aromatic or orange bitters as the essential ingredient to elevate flavor profiles and bring it all together into one unique and memorable cocktail. Scroll down for the recipes!

If you’re wanting to get on board with mindful drinking, you might be wondering how to monitor your alcohol intake and how to know what exactly you’re mixing up or consuming. Our friends at Liquor Lab advised that this can be difficult to do accurately because of dilution that takes place while mixing or shaking your cocktails. However, a general formulato give you an idea of what you’re working with is:

(Alcohol content x liquor volume / total drink volume) x 100 = ABV.

While these recipes and tools will certainly add to your repertoire, your education doesn’t have to end there. When you’re wanting something a little lighter on alcohol, we encourage you to talk to your bartenders and challenge them to try something different that fits the bill but exceeds expectations. You might be pleasantly surprised!

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Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar’s Ginger Fizz:

1 oz ginger syrup
1 tbs lime juice
3 oz sparkling water
3 dashes ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters

Jess Ann Kirby’s Citrus Strawberry Basil Bitters Cooler:

1 cup seltzer/sparkling water
5-6 dashes ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters
5-6 fresh basil leaves
10 strawberries (stems and hulls removed)
1/2 orange
1/2 lemon
Ground sea salt (for dipping rims of glasses)

Directions:

  • Squeeze orange and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
  • Add basil leaves and approximately 6-7 strawberries to the cocktail shaker and muddle all ingredients well.
  • Pour in seltzer and add 5-6 dashes ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters.
  • Shake the drink in your cocktail shaker.
  • Line the rim of two rocks glasses with lemon and dip in sea salt.
  • Slice remaining strawberries and add to glasses.
  • Strain and serve over crushed ice. Enjoy!

Aida Mollenkamp of Salt and Wind’s Cucumber Basil Agua Fresca:

1 pound unpeeled Persian cucumbers
ends trimmed, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
(no stems), plus more sprigs on the stem for garnish
1/2 cup cold water
6 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
Pinch coarse sea salt
1 bar spoon orange-flower water
(optional)
1/3 cup elderflower liqueur
12 dashes ANGOSTURA orange bitters
1 (750 ml) chilled sparkling water
ice cubes

Directions:

For the Agua Fresca:

  • Combine the cucumber, basil, water, lime juice, honey and salt in the carafe of a blender. Place the top on the blender carafe, then blend until the mixture is smooth, at least 30 seconds.
  • Strain the mixture twice through a sieve, pushing on the back of the mixture with a spatula to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set mixture aside.

For the Cocktail:

  • In a pitcher, mix the cucumber agua fresca, elderflower liqueur, ANGOSTURA orange bitters and 2 cups ice.
  • To serve, fill a Tom-Collins glass with 3 to 4 ice cubes, add in ½ cup of the cucumber-basil agua fresca cocktail mixture and top with ½ cup of sparkling water.
  • Stir to combine, garnish with a sprig of basil leaves and some thinly sliced cucumber and serve. 

 Ashley Rose Conway of Craft and Cocktail’s Coconut Grove:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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2 inches lemongrass, sliced and muddled ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2 shiso leaves ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4 oz coconut water
1 oz coconut cream ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1/2 oz lime ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
10 dashes @angosturahousearomatic bitters ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Garnish: mint, shiso leaf, edible flowers (I used gardenia and citrus flowers) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Directions:

  • In a shaker tin, add lemongrass and muddle well
  • Add shiso leaves and gently muddle
  • Pour coconut water, coconut cream and lime into the shaker
  • Shake and strain into a glass with crushed ice
  • Add more crushed ice on top
  • Dash ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters on the top of the ice and garnish
  • Stir before sipping to incorporate bitters

Rose Simard of 1 Ou 2 Cocktails’ Reverse Martinez:

1.5 oz white vermouth
0.75 oz Gin
3 dashes of ANGOSTURA orange bitters
Lemon zest

Directions:

  • Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes and mix with a spoon
  • Strain into a chilled glass
  • Express a zest of lemon then dispose of the rind
  • Garnish with an edible flower