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Southside Alchemy mix makes sangria without the wine

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Q • I tried a nonalcoholic sangria from Southside Alchemy at a pop-up market recently. I can’t remember what the gentleman told me was in it, other than his sangria mix. I’d love to try it this in Dry January if he’s willing to share. — Jen Hinkl, Princeton Heights

Q • I am interested in a recipe for a nonalcoholic beverage (punch or cocktail) that offers the “bite” or taste of alcohol without using liquor or wine. Any suggestions? — Mary Beth Ottinger, Bevo

A • Fast on the heels of the indulgences of the holiday season, come requests for low-calorie, nutrient-dense recipes that meet that New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but what about alcohol consumption?

Today’s requests for nonalcoholic drink recipes fits in perfectly with the Dry January challenge when people voluntarily give up drinking alcohol to assess their drinking habits.

This easy-to-make sangria recipe from Todd Brutcher tastes great, looks beautiful, and has enough body and flavor to satisfy the taste for a good sangria without adding the wine.

Brutcher is well-known for his drink mixes. He’s won honors for his Blood Sweat and Tears bloody mary mixes, and won converts for his easiest-ever sangria mixes that he’s sampled at pop-up markets for the past several years. Developing nonalcoholic drinks that satisfy is a newer challenge for Brutcher and for local bars and restaurants.

“You know, we’re all pretty new to the whole nonalcoholic drink trend,” Brutcher says. “I was telling my wife the Lemp family was 100 years ahead of the trend during prohibition when it tried to sell near beer. It didn’t work out for them, but now it’s a movement.”

The trend to nonalcoholic drinks in traditional bars and restaurants is coming on strong. “Grace Meat + Three was the first restaurant to use my bloody Mary mixes. Now they serve my sangria mix as a boozy slushy, which is really exciting. They’re not married to one flavor, either, and vary them throughout the month.”

“I’m sure a nonalcoholic Southside Alchemy sangria slushy would be awesome as well,” Grace owner Rick Lewis says.

Currently, the sangria mixes come in two flavors — Paradise Plum and Raspberry Mango A-Go-Go. Brutcher has other flavors in the works, including a strawberry-peach and a ginger-apple mix. Southside Alchemy blood Mary mixes and sangria mixes are available locally throughout the St. Louis region. His newly-revamped website features and interactive map where people can search for his products and for the bars and restaurants that offer drinks made from his well-loved mixes.

Make orange water - Prep School with Dan Neman, food writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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