Your preconception of zero-proof spirits might be shaken and stirred when you realize all the delicious choices. Add the booze-free drinks from For Bitter For Worse, a line created by Portland, Ore., couple Shelley Elkovich and Jeff Heglie. “The name is inspired by our sparky long marriage,” Elkovich says. “We’re the Nick and Nora type,” referring to the fun-loving detective couple in the novel and film “The Thin Man.” They have won medals for their drinks, which are crafted like spirits. Herbs and botanicals are first macerated in alcohol to extract their flavors, then they use a still to remove the alcohol in a process Hegel, an MIT graduate, calls “reverse bootlegging.” Natural ingredients — organic roots and juices, fruit peels, spices, and more — are blended into the robust base to add layers of flavor. One choice is the sparkling Eva’s Spritz, made from rhubarb roots, hibiscus, sweet and bitter orange peels, and monk fruit for sweetness. It looks lovely in a flute. A stand-in for a red wine, The Saskatoon, tannic and peppery, combines organic cherry juices, foraged Douglas fir needles, and dried chamomile flowers, while Smokey 56 mimics whiskey and includes organic smoky teas, organic roots, dried figs, and a hint of maple syrup. Featuring berry juices, dried flowers, and spices, the Rose City Fizz is an easy-drinking fruity sparkler. Elkovich was spurred to start the company and refashion her favorite cocktails after she developed a rare neurological illness and had to stop drinking alcohol. “We translated what we knew and loved about flavors to create these drinks that are more complex than syrupy mocktails,” she says. $28 for 750 ml. glass bottles. Eva’s Sprtiz and Rose City Fiz also come in cans, a 4-pack for $22. Available at Boston General Store, 305 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-232-0103; Cambridge Naturals, 23 White St., Cambridge, 617- 492-4452; Eugene Henry’s, 141 Main St., Falmouth, 508-388-7764; or at forbitterforworse.com.
ANN TRIGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.