Art in a glass
This cocktail aficionado has been honing his skills behind the bar for over 15 years. Maxime cut his teeth at prestigious establishments, like Barocco and Maison Boulud, and entered a number of competitions—all of which led him to a regular TV gig. He’s currently on his ninth season of Ça finit bien la semaine, where he prepares the cocktail of the week every Friday. His wealth of knowledge and experience helped him publish his first book, Mocktails, on November 2. The title is a portmanteau term that originally carried the implication that mocktails are only a pale imitation of “real” cocktails—a sign of the reputation such refreshments had to bear for a long time. But people have changed and so have their habits, as Maxime has observed. One thing’s for sure: to him, mocktails are serious business!
Mixologist Maxime Boivin
Moderate drinking is gaining popularity
“People have become more open to this idea in the last five years,” said Maxime. His theory behind this trend is that “there was a huge uptick in more moderate drinking over the pandemic—no question! But people’s relationship with alcohol has evolved quite a bit in general. So has their relationship with the social aspect of drinking.” Maxime also noticed that it’s less about people making an all-or-nothing choice to drink or avoid it altogether. They’re increasingly deciding to simply drink more moderately and responsibly over the long term. “The thing to do is manage your relationship with alcohol. It’s not about taking a break, then letting it flow! It’s about being more responsible and evaluating your relationship with alcohol, rather than cutting it out completely.”
Maxime had initially stopped drinking for two years due to a health issue. This self-proclaimed cocktail lover then started coming up with virgin concoctions that were fun, creative and delectable. “I love cocktails because they’re one of the easiest, most delicious things you can drink.” As he revamped his favourites, he noticed a change—a lot of people were curious about his creations, and not just pregnant women and designated drivers!
Low-alcohol but full of fun
“Most of the recipes in the book are for cocktails that I tweaked to taste much like adult beverages!” Maxime explained. We asked him when he would recommend enjoying each of the three mocktails below. His answer: “If there’s one season when time loses all meaning, it’s the holidays! I wouldn’t say there’s a particular time of day most suitable for each—it’s just nice to have options for different occasions.” Without further ado, here are three celebratory cocktails that Maxime created using the heavenly alcohol-free spirits from Distillerie Noroi. They’re perfect to serve and enjoy throughout the festive season!
“The go-to cocktail that will please everyone, from Aunt Susan to Uncle Andy!” Plus, it’s easy to prepare in larger quantities. It’s just the thing to kick off brunch, whether that’s at 11 a.m. or closer to dinner time!
Pour the sparkling wine into a cocktail glass, then add the juice and low-alcohol aperitif. Garnish and serve.
“A twist on the spritz—clearly the cocktail du jour.” Rosebuds and grapefruit juice add a smooth, floral touch to Maxime’s version. This crowd-pleaser is easy to make—serve it as a welcome drink next time you’re hosting some of your favourite people!
Pour the lemon juice, syrup and low-alcohol aperitif into a cocktail glass. Add some ice cubes and the sparkling wine, stir with a spoon, garnish, and serve.
Grapefruit and rosebud syrup
250 ml (1 cup) water
120 ml (1/2 cup) dried rosebuds
The zest and juice of one grapefruit
250 ml (1 cup) sugar
In a saucepan, simmer the water, rosebuds and grapefruit zest and juice over low heat for about 10 minutes. Once the water is nicely infused, strain and add the sugar. After the sugar has dissolved, bottle and refrigerate the syrup.
Espresso martinis are everywhere nowadays. “It’s one of those drinks where if you see it, you crave it!” This alcohol-free version is a wonderful replacement for that spiked coffee you might imbibe in the evening. But it would also be a big hit at brunch, served in a darling mug.
30 ml (1 oz) Esprit-des-Caraïbes low-alcohol dark rum from Noroi
60 ml (2 oz) strong espresso
30 ml (1 oz) vanilla coffee syrup (see recipe below)
30 ml (1 oz) milk foam
Garnish: 3 coffee beans
In a shaker filled with ice, vigorously shake the low-alcohol rum, espresso and syrup. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass, add the milk foam, garnish, and serve.
Vanilla coffee syrup
250 ml (1 cup) water
1 vanilla pod split in half
120 ml (1/2 cup) coffee grounds
250 ml (1 cup) sugar
In a saucepan, simmer the water, coffee grounds and vanilla over low heat for a good 10 minutes. Once the water is nicely infused, strain and add the sugar. After the sugar has dissolved, bottle and refrigerate the syrup.
120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
120 ml (1/2 cup) 10% cream
Combine the ingredients in an airtight jar, close the lid tightly, and shake vigorously until you get a rich foam. Use as much as you’d like and put the rest in the fridge until you need it again.