Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 20 – Ebenezer’s Envy. It’s our last Sober Sunday of the advent calendar and I’m taking the opportunity to introduce you to a couple of cool products. I’ve called this the Ebenezer’s Envy because while it has no alcohol, it fully captures the spirit of Christmas, unlike Scrooge.
Never heard of Verjus? Not to worry, let Professor Tipple educate you. Verjus or verjuice is a highly acidic juice made by pressing unripe grapes, crab-apples, or other sour fruit. Occasionally, lemon or sorrel juice, herbs and spices are added to change the flavour.
You can find it locally in Ottawa at Chef’s Paradise.
In the Middle Ages, it was widely used all over Western Europe as an ingredient in sauces, as a condiment, or to deglaze preparations. It was once used in many contexts where cooks would now use wine or certain types of vinegar. Now that we have access to a much wider array of vinegars, it’s far less common.
If you do stumble across it these days, you’re most likely to find it in salad dressings or some classic French or Middle Eastern dishes.
It’s also growing in popularity in cocktails as the intense acidity is a great stand-in for citrus or a shrub (drinking vinegar). In this zero-proof cocktail, it cuts the sweetness from the apricot jam and gingerbread syrup and offers a tart counterpoint to the baking spice flavour from the Seedlip Spice 94 and syrup.
Seedlip is likely the non-alcoholic spirit you’re most familiar with. It’s now stocked in most grocery stores and is available globally. The Spice 94 has notes of allspice, cardamom, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, and oak bark.
It works really well in this mocktail and has lots of other applications in place of rye or bourbon in your favourite cocktails.
Verjus is a highly acidic juice made from pressing unripe grapes. Paired with the apricot jam and gingerbread syrup in this drink, it tastes a lot like a shrub (drinking vinegar). Trust me on this one, it’s delicious. Both Seedlip and Verjus are available at Chef’s Paradise in Ottawa.