Making a well-balanced, low-ABV cocktail involves the same bartending principles you’d use to concoct a boozier drink. You’re looking to match fresh citrus, herbs, or syrups against a bitter agent like an Amaro or Genepy or something complex such as a vermouth or a liqueur, says Beau Harris, a certified sommelier and master mixologist at Ziggy D’Amico’s Whiskey Bar & Diner in Naples, Florida.
“A word of caution though,” notes Harris. “The lower the ABV on a spirit, the higher the sugar levels tend to rise—so show restraint when it comes to sugary syrups, crèmes, and sweeter liqueurs or you could end up with too cloying of a cocktail.”
The following favorite cocktails from top bartenders around the country are light on booze but big on flavor. No hangovers here.