Just as often as their spirituous counterparts, mocktails have been known to induce memory loss (albeit slightly less consequential).

Oftentimes, the most memorable of mocktails is made unforgettable only by the circumstances in which it is consumed – say, at sunset, on a tropical island – rather than for its ingredients (those were the circumstances under which I last had one; in my defence, I was 13-years-old). But for those of us in the midst of Dry July or those for whom tee-totalling is a way of life and who have tried every imaginable variant on sparkling water, what then does one drink when the occasion calls for something worth drinking to (say, the end of Dry July)?

“[We] wanted to create a sophisticated, classic style, non-alcoholic drink that opposes the typical juice forward, high-sugar drinks associated with the term ‘mocktail'”, says Thor Bergquist, one of the co-owners of PS40, an emporium of effervescent wonders on Sydney city’s King Street. At PS40, Michael Chiem (ex-Lobo Plantation) and Bergquist (ex-Bulletin Place) have set about quietly revolutionising the art of drinking, whether that drink be carbonated or otherwise. The bar doubles as the city’s first operational soda factory crafting cerebral cocktails from a range of all-natural, locally made sodas perfected in-house using local and native produce. PS-Sodas are served not only in their singular bar but in some of Sydney’s best restaurants, Firedoor and Bennelong amongst them. They’re also available for purchase at retail, at places like P&V Merchants, as well as online.

Next week, Bergquist, Chiem and their colleague James Snelgrove will host one of the 16 inaugural ‘Nolo’ bar concepts being staged across the globe at some of the world’s best bars, including London’s Dandelyan and at Melbourne’s Black Pearl. Nolo – styled N o L o, in case you were wondering – is the brainchild of the minds behind Seedlip, a no- and low-alcohol by volume bar concept that prioritises produce and flavour above alcohol content. Billed as the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip was borne of founder Ben Branson’s experimentation at home with traditional distilling methods and wild ingredients foraged indiscriminately. Today, Seedlip encompasses two blends: Spice 94 and Garden 108. Spice is warming, piquant even, with notes of oak and vibrant citus; Garden is vegetal, bright. One of its notable distillates is green peas, hand-picked from Branson’s farm in Lincolnshire. Ordinarily, both are best served with tonic and a citrus twist and the result has all the all the complexity of a gin and tonic – tart and dry, redolent of cardamom, clove and citrus – but gone is the acridity, the feverish prickle and burn, of the spirit proper.

It’s that level of complexity that Bergquist and Snelgrove have capitalised on when crafting their menu for their hosted leg of Nolo. Across eight variations on four concoctions – four ‘no’, and four ‘lo’ – the duo have been imparted into mocktails the kind of intensity of flavour ordinarily associated with traditional, full-strength cocktails, with the spirit’s influence easily discerned not only in each drink but in a custom soda created just for the occasion. The new soda appears in a ‘PS Ninety Four’ drink, the lo version of which includes smoked water. The ‘lo’ version, however, was a different story.

“There wasn’t particularly much need to add anything else to this drink,” says Bergquist. “Except Mezcal – you can always add Mezcal.”

Below, Bergquist shares with GRAZIA three of the recipes featuring as part of their Nolo celebrations at PS40 from July 25-26.

No – Garden ++
1 part Nordic spice mix of fennel seeds, caraway seed, dill, coriander seed, star anise, cascara AND lemon zest
1 part minted pea AND balsamic vinegar
2 parts Seedlip Garden 108
2 parts split milk

“We love a good milk punch and [were] just waiting for a reason to make a green one!” says Bergquist. “All of these ingredients play off what’s already in the Seedlip Garden 108 to create our first non-alcoholic, clarified milk punch with all the flavour and fun of an alcoholic one.”

No – Cacao Cacao
80ml Seedlip (Cacao) Spice 94
20ml Non-alcoholic dry vermouth

Stir down with ice and serve in a coupette with lemon disc and cacao nibs

“This one is a bit of a take on the classic cocktail, the Martinez, which is typically gin and sweet vermouth. We have switched a few of the favours around enriching Seedlip Spice with cacao butter and cacao nibs and created a non-alcoholic vermouth from scratch using verjus (unripe grape juice) and botanicals.”

Lo – PS NINETY Four
30ml Seedlip Spice 94
20ml Mezcal
Top with PS Seedlip 94 Soda

Build in a highball with ice and garnish with lemon zest and cinnamon

“As part of the creative process for this, James Snelgrove and I wanted to make a soda especially for this event which would tie PS40 and PS Soda with Seedlip, we based the ingredients on the Seedlip Spice 94 to give it a bit of a boost without taking away anything. We put together cinnamon, allspice, gentian root, lemon and grapefruit zest and a local honey, which turned out brilliantly. Refreshing but dry, with a touch of bitterness.”

N o l o x PS40
July 25-26, 2018
4pm-12am
2/40 King St, Sydney

Tile and cover image: Wesley Nel/Courtesy of PS40

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