Author: Michelle Merlo

Michelle Merlo

Michelle Merlo is a mixographer and food enthusiast. She helped run the cocktail program at Roost and Inizio. Before that, she was shaking up concoctions at Buffalo Distilling Company and Bobo in NYC. These days you can find her behind the pine at Oliver’s. Michelle is our resident cocktailier and the host of Buffalo Rising’s cocktail series, BITTERS

You may have noticed an influx of non-alcoholic offerings at your favorite local watering holes and fine eateries. Most recently, Lindsay Robson of Nickel City Pretty organized Buffalo’s first ever mocktail competition at Hartman’s Distilling Co. If you have found yourself hitching a ride on the teetotaler bandwagon, chances are you have already heard about Curious Elixirs. Each non-alcoholic craft beverage offers an innovative spin on classic cocktail flavors paired with adaptogens that encourage balance and well-being with each sip. Curious No 3: inspired by modern classics like the cucumber collins, this cocktail is herbaceous and floral, elevated by the…

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Tasting Notes Curious Elixirs are a layered nuanced approach to non-alcoholic beverages. These drinks invite you to sip and reflect on what your mouth is experiencing. All Curious Elixirs are made with organic ingredients whenever possible, and No. 1 through 4 are Whole30 compliant, meaning they contain no added sugar. No. 2 is a marriage of spicy pineapple margarita and dark & stormy. Ancho chili, jalapeño, and ginger are bright on the palate and Damiana (an ancient Mayan herb) helps the body unwind. These prepackaged craft beverages arrive at your door ready to serve but, while sampling my way through…

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Curious Elixir No. 1 Anyone can fill a glass with ice and juice or carbonated sugar water, a few herbs as a garnish, and call it a mocktail. We have sampled (lots of) brands that offer ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails, some of which should (under no circumstance) be sipped-on solo. So when it comes to a quick crowd-pleasing cocktail alternative for those who want or choose to abstain from alcohol, our latest go-to favorite is from Curious Elixirs. What’s great about these non-alcoholic cocktails is that no mixer is necessary, you just need to open the bottle and enjoy! These beverages…

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This episode of Bitters is presented by Iconic Cocktail. Ingredients: Barr Hill Honey Gin (you can use any gin) Lemonade (filtered water, lemon juice with pulp, cane sugar) Iconic Cocktail Ginga Syrup Moroccan Bitters Prosecco Orange Peel to garnish Fill your shaker with Ice. Add 1 oz Barr Hill Honey Gin Add 1.5 oz Lemonade, we used Wegmans Cold-Pressed Lemonade Add 1 oz Iconic Cocktail Ginga Syrup Stir Strain into glass with large ice cube 1-2 drops of Moroccan Bitters Top off with Prosecco Garnish with orange peels and serve. About Iconic Cocktail Co. Iconic Cocktail creates handcrafted mixers for…

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 This episode of Bitters is presented by Amoretti. Ingredients: Bacardi White Rum (you can use any rum) Diplomatico Aged Rum Lime Juice Coconut Cream Amoretti Spicy Pineapple Beverage Infusion Skewer of your favorite fruit – we used blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and peach Fill the glass of your choice with ice. Let it sit and chill the glass while you mix the drink. Fill your shaker with Ice. Add 1.5 oz Bacardi White Rum Add 1 oz Diplomatico Aged Rum Add .5 oz Lime Juice Add .5-1 oz Coconut Cream Add .5 oz  Amoretti Spicy Pineapple Beverage Infusion. Shake vigorously…

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This episode of Bitters is presented by Amoretti. Ingredients: Lockhouse Sakura Gin (you can use any Gin) Lime Juice Luxardo Maraschino Aperol Apertivo Chartreuse Amoretti Wild Strawberry Rhubarb Craft Puree Rhubarb Bitters 1 sprig of rosemary 1 edible flower In a rocks glass, smoke one sprig of rosemary while you prepare the cocktail, this will add some flavor and depth to it. Then fill the glass with ice. Fill your shaker with Ice. Add 1.5 oz Lockhouse Sakura Gin Add 1 oz Lime juice Add .5 oz Luxardo Maraschino Add .5 oz Aperol Apertivo Add .25 oz Chartreuse Add 1…

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This episode of Bitters is presented by Amoretti. Ingredients: Gray’s Peak Vodka (you can use any vodka) Lemonade (filtered water, lemon juice with pulp, cane sugar) Amoretti Bulgarian Rose Craft Puree 1 Lemon 1 Blueberry One of the keys to a great cocktail is to chill the glass. The preferred method is to use your freezer or refrigerator to make the glass stays colder longer. If there’s not time, you can fill the glass with cracked or crushed ice and swirl it around. Let it sit while you mix the drink then dump the ice and pour the drink into…

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There’s a new wave of sober-curiosity taking over our increasingly health conscious society, and the beverage industry is embracing it. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in consumers who are looking for ways to live better, healthier lives which often means looking for alcohol alternatives. Sodas contain unwanted sugars and empty calories. Juices can contain more calories than we may realize. Enter the craft beverage… in place of alcohol. In recent years, spirit-free cocktails have burst into the limelight. The pre-made cocktail in single-serving sizes is also gaining traction. A pre-packaged Moscow mule or a canned Negroni…

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It is no secret that reducing the amount of alcohol we consume can considerably improve our health. Psychologists compare drinking alcohol to eating fried food. It is great while we do it, but it can have considerable adverse effects. 2020 has been a rough year, causing many to turn to alcohol for short-term relief, but we certainly pay for it when we lose our balance on the moderation tightrope. If we are conscious about the things we put on and in our bodies, from cashmere and skincare to local organic vegetables and free-range chicken, we may want to think…

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