A serious and stylish look at sophisticated nonalcoholic beverages by a former Bon Appétit editor and James Beard Award nominee.
“Julia Bainbridge resets our expectations for what a ‘drink’ can mean from now on.”—Jim Meehan, author of Meehan’s Bartender Manual and The PDT Cocktail Book
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Bon Appétit • Los Angeles Times • Wired • Esquire • Garden & Gun
Blackberry-infused cold brew with almond milk and coconut cream. Smoky tea paired with tart cherry juice. A bittersweet, herbal take on the Pimm’s Cup. Writer Julia Bainbridge spent a summer driving across the U.S. going to bars, restaurants, and everything in between in pursuit of the question: Can you make an outstanding nonalcoholic drink? The answer came back emphatically: “Yes.”
With an extensive pantry section, tips for sourcing ingredients, and recipes curated from stellar bartenders around the country—including Verjus Spritz, Chicha Morada Agua Fresca, Salted Rosemary Paloma, and Tarragon Cider—
Good Drinks shows that decadent brunch cocktails, afternoon refreshers, and evening digestifs can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
Good Drinks, the endlessly cool Julia Bainbridge has created a book that will not only change the way you think about booze-free drinks, but get you psyched about making them. With a well-curated team of bartenders, Bainbridge’s smart writing, lush photography, and recipes that pull from a diverse flavor profile,
Good Drinks will tempt any world-curious person to start giving more thought to what they’re drinking.”
—Andy Baraghani, senior editor at Bon Appétit
Good Drinks, the wonderful Bainbridge strips away the tired tropes surrounding ‘mocktails’ and shows us just how exciting the world of non-alcoholic drinking can be. Crucially, the book gives practical insight to a new set of tools, rules, and applications to ensure these drinks hit as consistently—and with as much brilliance—as their boozy counterparts.”
—Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr Lyan
Julia Bainbridge is an editor who has worked at
Condé Nast Traveler,
Bon Appétit, Yahoo Food, and
Atlanta magazine, and a James Beard Award-nominated writer whose stories have been published in
Food & Wine, the
Wall Street Journal, the
Washington Post, and
Playboy, among others. Her profile of chef Iliana Regan was named one of Longreads Best of 2019: Food Writing, and
Saveur magazine named an essay of hers one of the ten best food stories of 2016. She judged both the 2019 and 2020
Art of Eating Prize, serves on the International Association of Culinary Professionals Awards Advisory Committee, and was the first-ever writer in residence at industry leader Food52.
After building a career around why and how people gather, Bainbridge pivoted into why people don''t, launching The Lonely Hour podcast to explore social disconnection and other forms of loneliness. In the three years since, the show has been featured in
O, The Oprah Magazine,
Washington Post, the
Financial Times, the BBC, NPR, and more.
I spent the summer of 2018 crisscrossing the country in my (somewhat) dependable 2006 Subaru Impreza. After a decade of writing about food and drinks in New York City and two years doing the same in Atlanta, I got a book deal—for this very book!—and I decided that the best way to do research was to put my foot on the gas and go.
I was in search of alcohol-free mixed drinks at a time when, serendipitously, they were starting to be taken more seriously. Bartenders were (and still are) pushing against the boundaries that had previously limited “mocktails” to syrup-laden juices or glorified Shirley Temples, and consumers—sober or not—were getting curious. I knew I wouldn’t be writing the first book on nonalcoholic drinks, but I also knew that my work could capitalize on this newfound acceptance and energy. And because I was finding the things I really wanted to drink in bars, restaurants, and cafes as opposed to in other books, I could tap the people whose job it is to make good, balanced beverages—no matter the alcohol content.
You could say I did a lot of drinking and driving that summer. In between interviews and states, my car’s (painfully outdated) sound system stayed silent as I mulled over pieces of this book. How odd, my friend Tunde commented, that I could drive for hours with no music. But I needed the quiet to think, as I moved along: “Which of these beverages are still on my mind days after tasting them? Which recipes feel fresh? Which drinks warrant the effort they take to make? How much of this book is about the drinks and how much of it is about me?”
Somewhere in New Mexico, I decided that all you really need to know about my relationship to alcohol is that I’m trying not to drink it—at least not for a good while. More important: I like to eat delicious things, I like to drink delicious things, and I like to do both with the people I love. There are many others like me, and the reasons they don’t drink booze vary: religion, health issues, substance use disorders, pregnancy, mindful living. Maybe alcohol simply doesn’t fit into their lives anymore. Maybe they’re just not drinking this week. Or this night. Or this hour. (I know plenty of people who switch back and forth between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks throughout the course of a Saturday night out.) Some statistics show that Americans are consuming less alcohol than they used to, and I hope that what I discovered on the road will get them into the kitchen. (Because it’s not about the bar; at home, good nonalcoholic drinks are made in the kitchen. More on that later.)
In Denver, Death & Co’s bartenders showed me how kefir whey gives body to nonalcoholic drinks (see page 92), which can be lacking in that area. Jermaine Whitehead handed me his recipe for the Rockefeller (page 166) from across the bar at Deep Dive in Seattle, and upon reading it, I realized I was going to have to dig through my spice cabinet, break out my 4-quart saucepan, and turn on the stove. (It ended up being worth it.) I sat in Gabriella Mlynarczyk’s living room in Los Angeles while she pressed watermelon juice with mint, rose water, and pickled plum vinegar. (Find a similar recipe of Gaby’s on page 66.) The next day, I drove back east thinking about that sweet, tart, saline drink, my tongue watering. And yes, that trip was quiet, too.
“I think I understand the driving-in-silence thing,” Tunde told me, once the trip was over. “Been walking in silence recently. It’s amazing.”
Now, though, it’s time to make noise. These drinks deserve a party.