Dietitian Molly Kimball’s new book presents an alcohol-free twist on Louisiana cocktails

The Amelia cocktail, inspired by The Eli in Monroe. Photos by Hope Frugé

Molly Kimball knows not just from her experience with Ochsner’s Eat Fit program but also from her own life what a stint without alcohol can do for one’s health. Already aware that alcohol increases the risk of cancer and leads to imbalanced gut microbes, she found that after taking on her own 40-day Lenten abstinence challenge, her sleep improved and her liver enzymes and inflammatory markers lowered. In Craft: The Eat Fit Guide to Zero Proof Cocktails, Kimball sets out to prove that swearing off the strong stuff doesn’t have to mean resigning yourself to ice water while your friends celebrate. 

“Zero proof cocktails, with the flavors and complexity of traditional craft cocktails, are visually appealing, festive and fun, but still leave us feeling at the top of our game, no matter how many we imbibe,” she writes. “Simply normalizing the concept of zero proof drinking, and providing unspoken encouragement to perhaps give it a try, can be incredibly impactful.” 

Read on for four recipes from the book, all inspired by actual cocktails at restaurants around the state.


The Rosemary 94

Inspired by Restaurant Cotton, Monroe

Ingredients:
2 oz. Seedlip Spice 94 Aromatic
3 Tbsp. Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
Ice
Rosemary sprig for garnish
Kitchen torch or lighter
Combine all liquid ingredients in a small shaker tin filled with ice. Double strain into a chilled glass. Using a kitchen torch or lighter, flame the rosemary just until it begins to smoke. Garnish drink with torched rosemary.

Rosemary Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
½ cup Swerve granular or 1½ cups granular allulose
½ cup loosely packed rosemary sprigs
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce to medium-high heat and add sweetener. Stir to dissolve and continue to heat for 10 minutes. Add rosemary sprigs. Transfer to heat-safe glass container and allow to infuse for at least 1 hour. Double strain before using. Refrigerate unused portion in a sealed airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
Makes approx. 1 cup.

The Amelia

Inspired by The Eli, Monroe

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe above)
Lava (black) rock salt, finely crushed
5 blackberries (reserve 1 for garnish)
1 Tbsp. Lyre’s Zero Proof Orange Sec
2 oz. Seedlip Grove 42 Citrus
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. spring water
Ice
Mint (or basil) leaf for garnish
Bamboo pick
Rim half of a coupe or novelty glass with a touch of Rosemary Simple Syrup, then dip into lava rock salt. Shake off any excess before filling glass. 
Muddle 4 blackberries in a shaker tin, then add remaining Rosemary Simple Syrup, orange sec, Seedlip, lemon juice, water and ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into glass. Garnish with remaining blackberry wrapped with mint leaf secured with bamboo pick. 

Broadmoor Norteño

Inspired by Zuzul Coastal Cuisine, Shreveport

Ingredients:
1 ½ oz. zero proof tequila
3 Tbsp. Pineapple Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
3 drops Habanero Tincture (recipe follows) or 1 habanero seed
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Ice
Edible flower for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in small shaker tin with ice. Double strain into a novelty glass and garnish with a floating edible flower. 

Pineapple Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
½ cup Swerve granular or 1½ cups granular allulose
2 cups puréed pineapple
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce to medium-high heat and add sweetener. Stir to dissolve and continue to heat for 10 minutes. Fold in pineapple purée. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Double strain into a heat-safe container before using. Refrigerate unused portion in a sealed airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

Habanero Tincture:
2 large habanero chile peppers
6 oz. spring water
Remove stems from peppers, and slice peppers into rings. Place pepper rings (including seeds) in a jar and add water. Tighten lid and allow mixture to infuse no less than 4 hours. Keep in mind, these habaneros are crazy hot. Consider wearing disposable gloves, don’t touch your face, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

Watermelon Mint Martini

Inspired by Eliza Restaurant & Bar, Baton Rouge

Ingredients:
½ cup watermelon cubes
1 ½ oz. zero proof vodka
1 ½ Tbsp. Citrea Oleo Saccharum (recipe follows)
2 tsp. lime juice
Ice
2 watermelon cubes for garnish
2 lime wedges for garnish
1 mint leaf for garnish
Cocktail skewer
In a blender, pulse watermelon until smooth. Combine watermelon, zero proof vodka, Citrea Oleo Saccharum and lime juice in a small shaker tin with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with skewer of alternating watermelon cubes, lime wedges and mint leaf.

Citrea Oleo Saccharum:
1 cup lemon peels (approx. 6 to 8 lemons)
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
13 cup granular allulose
In a medium mixing bowl, combine lemon peels, zest and allulose. Muddle every few minutes for about 15 minutes. Top with lemon juice, and muddle periodically for another 15 minutes. Refrigerate as needed; double strain before using.
Makes approx. ¼ cup.