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Every week on “Make Me Smart,” we ask an expert, celebrity, author or other prominent figure: “What’s something you thought you knew but later found out you were wrong about?” It’s called the Make Me Smart question.
Journalist Elva Ramirez has traveled the world to learn about spirits and food. But it wasn’t until she started writing her book, “Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking,” that she realized mocktails were as historied as their alcoholic counterparts.
What’s something I thought I knew but later found out I was wrong about? The temperance drink, which we now call a mocktail or a zero-proof cocktail, is as old as our classic cocktails. Before researching my book, I didn’t know that temperance drink recipes appear in the very first cocktail book, which is called “Bar-Tender’s Guide,” and it was published by American Jerry Thomas in 1862. Mocktails evolved during Prohibition, but one of the reasons that gained a terrible reputation has to do with the 1980s, when bartenders who tried to provide the drink style relied on heavy, too-sweet concoctions that had little to do with cocktail culture. While mocktails did come to have a bad reputation, they shouldn’t be sneered at because they were accorded respect alongside mint juleps and gin fizzes from the very start.
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