Aaron Polsky manages Harvard & Stone, a hip Hollywood neighborhood bar.
He loves making craft cocktails but has quite a bit to say about the newfound health of his industry.
"We sort of try to absorb seasonality, neighborhood and sustainability as general inspiration," said Polsky.
In one drink he's infused Earl Gray tea and the spice coriander into the beverage. In another, Kishmeri chilies and Schezuan peppercorns are shaken to provide a spicy liquid. And a garnet beverage is made from low glycemic cabernet sauvignon grape syrup for flavor.
"If you drink at a bar that takes care with its ingredients, with its balance, with its preparation you're not going to get a cocktail that's oversweetened," Polsky said.
He claims at most you'll get about a teaspoon of sweetener, most coming from fresh juice or fruits that have often been marinating with spices or chilies, to create something flavorful.
And no longer relegated to a Shirley Temple, club soda or virgin bloody Mary, as it turns out mock-tails are now in fashion.
"More and more we find there are people that aren't drinking and they want to be included in the experience, and so that for us is to offer the same things we offer, with a premium nonalcoholic cocktail," said Polsky.
Like a drink made from a nonalcoholic spirit from Seedlip garden that imparts the flavor from six botanicals:
"Peas, rosemary, hay, thyme, mint and hops, so it does have a ton of flavor," said Polsky.
His wellness concepts extend to Mother Earth. Rather than tossing, tired-looking fruit garnishes are sugar-soaked to be used for syrups and cordials. And paper not plastic straws are provided only upon request.
"It's great to be into 'What am I throwing away that I don't need to be throwing away?'" said Polsky.
Harvard studies suggest moderate drinking may protect against cardiovascular disease and provide beneficial changes to insulin sensitivity. Perhaps the incorporation of ingredients that help fight inflammation and oxidation adds to the mix.