I’m not a “faux” cocktail kind of guy. My wife is in the midst of a Whole 30 experiment—that’s the diet where you only eat avocados and berries and then post those meals on Instagram—and I’m a supportive husband so I’m eating the shit out of some avocados and berries too. Except I won’t give up alcohol because A) that would be stupid and B) it’s kind of my job to drink booze. So, I’m still drinking, which means I’m technically not Whole 30, maybe I’m like Half 30, or something. Anyway, I’m supportive and I probably have a drinking problem. But my point is, I’m not a faux cocktail guy. If I’m drinking something with a tiny straw in it, there better be some element of booze involved. But I’m a curious individual and a supportive husband so when Curious Elixirs sent me a couple of their non-alcholic craft cocktails, I suddenly found myself in the perfect position to give them a go. Also, they booze-free bottles showed up on my doorstep when I happened to be pretty damned hungover, and I was in a weak state, thinking that perhaps I needed to take it easy and pursue a beverage without a Surgeon General’s warning.
Curious Elixirs has two pre-bottled cocktails, the Curious No. 1 and Curious No. 2. The former uses a “superfood, herb and adaptogen blend” for a bevy that “supplies antioxidants, increases circulation, and fights fatigue.” Also, there’s pomegranate in it. I don’t know if any of those claims are true because they sent me Curious No. 2, and also, Curious No. 1 is totally sold out.
Curious No. 2 is an orange-colored thing that’s full of ginger and pineapple that the company calls a “spicy lovechild between the pineapple margarita and the Dark and Stormy.” Okay, but that’s problematic because, while I love a good Dark & Stormy, I’ve never once in my life had a pineapple margarita. Probably because I have self esteem issues and I can’t bring myself to order anything other than “the cheapest whiskey you have, neat.”
I’m working through it. Leave me alone.
Curious No. 2 is loaded with citrus, peppers, ginger and an ancient Mayan herb called damiana. I had to google that last one and here’s what I learned: damiana used to be used as an aphrodisiac. Sometimes, people smoke it for a slight high. Thanks WebMD!
Alright, alright, alright.
As for the taste—they kind of nailed it with that “spicy lovechild” bit. It’s spicy, but not in a “third ring of hell” kind of way. More like, tangy spicy. Like that magical fruit, lychee. The spice dissipates on its own without you having to down a cup of milk or a box of crackers, and then you think, “well that wasn’t so spicy. I want another sip.” And it’s juicy and tangy, but not thick and syrupy the way actual juice is. It’s a cocktail kind of juicy, thin and hiding all kinds of goodness.
There’s talk on the bottle about a mixture of herbs. Other than the damiana, I don’t know exactly what, but I’m going to assume that they’re all good for me. Because that’s what drinking this cocktail feels like: it feels good for me. It feels like it’s healing my abused liver. And more importantly, it’s freaking great. As soon as I finished one bottle, I immediately wanted another, which coincidentally, is my reaction to booze too. There’s a slightly pickled edge to Curious No. 2, similar to what you find in a kombucha. And I’m addicted to this alcohol-free cocktail in the same way that I’m addicted to kombucha, with an uncomfortable mix of desire and shame.
Curious Elixirs runs a subscription service where they’ll send you a box of these things every month, which is good because this is, without a doubt, the tastiest, most fun faux cocktail I’ve ever put in my mouth. I wonder how it would taste with a splash of bourbon in it?