Recent circumstances beyond my control have put me on a temporary hiatus from cocktails. Or, more accurately, my lack of control in recent circumstances lead to me throwing up Haggis in bed and then I got a cold so I decided to 'stop drinking' for a week. I discovered that 'not drinking' is a euphemistic term. Should you attempt it literally you will gradually dehydrate and begin to suffer mental and physical ailments. It feels like a betrayal that even if you abstain from alcohol you have to continuously pour liquid into your body. After a few days this got to be very boring. The endless monkey-go-round of staying hydrated really wears a person out. It's almost enough to make you give up the whole endeavor.
I explored drinking coffee, tea, water, boiling pitch and oil of vitriol but found them to all be lacking in a certain something (Ed Note - ALCOHOL, you idiot). Coffee was palatable but anything beyond the most meager dosage conveys an unacceptable level of explosiveness to all manner of my bodily conduct. Tea makes me feel like an old geezer gumming broth, I never feel satisfied but I try to make the best of it as I know it's just about all my frail inner working can handle. The only teas I could find in the cabinet that seemed to be adequately flavored all had either real or imagined sedative properties. It didn't really matter, as without the prospect of a drink it was tough hoeing to find a reason for staying awake past 6.
Making soda at home seemed the only passable option, and was an agreeable distraction. You could call them mocktails if through some terrible accident your dignity was removed and replaced with a hatred for language.
I enjoyed lavender soda quite a bit, made by flavoring simple syrup with lavender flowers from the backyard. It was like taking your mouth on vacation to Aunt's bathroom.
Indian Sarsaparilla, in addition to its wonderful aroma and flavor can be used "for inveterate syphilis, pseudo-syphilis, mescurio-syphilis and struma in all its forms. Also valuable in gonorrhoeal neuralgia and other depraved conditions of the system". Just what the doctor ordered.
THE LAST RUNG
No picture because who wants to look at fucking soda
3/4 oz Indian Sarsaparilla Syrup
Regan's Orange Bitters
Regan's Orange Bitters
Heat up 1 cup each sugar and water with a pinch of citric acid / acid blend / lemon until steaming hot, pour over ~4-5 gram Indian Sarsaparilla root in a canning jar and seal. Once cooled, strain out root (I use an aero press). Sarsaparilla will lose a lot of its aroma if boiled or simmered, so do it this way. Or you could make a tea with hot water, and once cooled add that to sugar syrup. This drink very easily accommodates additions of rum, whisky, brandy, gin, vodka, or mezcal.