Spicy grapefruit margarita mocktail

The alchemy of cocktails fascinates me – like cooking, it takes science, skill and technique to bring seemingly disparate elements into balance. Unlike cooking, I know almost nothing about it. And since I’m an incurable lightweight, learning and iteration is a little harder.

For context, half a drink is my happy place. 

And yet I still want to be part of the party – I want something interesting and pretty to sip while sitting around with friends, or a drink with dinner that doesn’t make me feel like so much an outsider. I want something that gives me the look and experience of a cocktail, without the danger of putting me on my ass half an hour in. 

It’s why I’ve been excited to start seeing mocktail or zero-proof options on local bar menus – and also why I’ve spent two weeks trying to perfect one for myself. Because although it seems straightforward, nailing a mocktail is actually surprisingly difficult. 


Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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