T(hr)ee Totals

T(hr)ee Totals

All mocktails are mock cocktails, but only a few, in my experience, are good enough to mock cocktails.

Three of those can be found in downtown New Haven, starting with Siena’s Burn Baby Burn ($14). Delivered in a sleek coupe glass, the garnet red elixir with a dusky pink froth is made from non-alcoholic mezcal, honey, ginger and pomegranate. Yet for me it served up a full shocking hit of chocolate followed by a startling note of creamy vanilla. A comparison to red velvet cake would be easy if not for a smoky, gingery, peppery zip. The final touch was a small but yummy morsel of candied ginger skewered across the top.

Sherkaan’s Jal-Jeera Collins ($8) took an even simpler tack with its garnish, leaning a lemon wheel into the edge of the highball. But the drink itself was a mosh pit of flavor, as lemon, mint, ginger and a masala spice blend produced potent top notes of sweet citrus and, unexpectedly, anise. It was complex yet clarified and easy to like, with a lingering spicy undercurrent. The drink’s vegetal green color made it look like something you might not want to drink on a fun night out—but should.

At Olives & Oil, the N/A Notorious ($10) packed understandably less punch than the signature vodka/Aperol/prosecco cocktail that inspires it: the Notorious P.I.G. (which, like the N/A version, comes with a floating pink rubber pig garnish). But forgetting the comparison, the non-alcoholic version was worth wolfing down in its own right. Flavors of strawberry and blood orange cut by the bitterness and bite of non-alcoholic liqueur and prosecco produced a cohesive juicy grapefruit effect. Sweet and start and dry to finish, this mocktail wasn’t as complicated or surprising as the others, but, like them, its sum was still greater than its parts.

Together, the Burn Baby Burn, Jal-Jeera Collins and N/A Notorious create one last totality: a trio of totals teetotalers can feel total teeing up.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Image 1 features the Burn Baby Burn at Siena New Haven. Image 2 features the Jal-Jeera Collins at Sherkaan.

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