In the Field

Savoring Dry January with Rhonda Cammon

“I don’t like to call it ‘Dry January’—I call it ‘Juicy January,’” Rhonda Cammon says, which gives us even more faith in her ability to craft full-flavored beverages that rely on tropical fruits and global spices—not booze—for their taste. 

Cammon, a Nashville-based beverage professional, certainly appreciates the complexity that spirits add to drinks: She helped found the Nashville Bartenders Foundation and Barcart, which offers programs like private events and educational tastings. A demand, though, for better-for-you drinks motivated her to launch a line of naturally sweetened fruit syrups and mixers, Perfectly Cordial. 

These aren’t your college party drink mixers. Inspired by the tropical fruit trees of her childhood in Miami, Cammon crafts Perfectly Cordial syrups with elevated flavors, such as the wildly popular Pear, Rose, and Pink Peppercorn, wintry Cassis and Apple, or the playful Hibiscus and Honeycomb. These syrup are a sort of dealer’s choice in how they’re use used—while they pair well with alcohol, they don’t require spirits to taste delicious. 

Whether you observe Dry January, want a lighter beverage option, or simply need some winter cocktail inspiration, Cammon shared these ways to make January a little juicier. 

FOUR WAYS TO UPGRADE DRY JANUARY

Try tea

Tea and wine both have tannins—a compound that gives them their bitter, teeth-coating element. Teas bring that same bitterness when mixed into a nonalcoholic drink, and it can be as easy as infusing green, white, or black tea with an ounce of Perfectly Cordial’s Cardamom and Pear or Cassis and Apple simple syrup. 

Four-part formula

Four components build a balanced mocktail or cocktail: a base (like alcohol), sugar, bitters, and water. Cammon feels people are most afraid to add water, hesitant that it will dilute their drink. “You need balance, you need water,” she says. Whether you prefer to use water or soda, Cammon’s favorite is with ice: “Ice is your friend,” she urges. She’s declared 2022 her year of ice—we think we’ll join her.

Apple cider vinegar

Cammon’s been digging adding shrub to her drinks, loving the acidity and medicinal benefits they add. If she doesn’t want to commit to opening an entire bottle of a shrub, however, she reaches for apple cider vinegar. It adds the same warmth and acidity, and if you use an unpasteurized version, it provides even more health benefits. Try adding it to mocktails, tea, seltzer, or alcoholic drinks. 

Mock Mango Mojito

Ingredients

2 ounces Perfectly Cordial Mango Vanilla Chili Simple Syrup

½ ounce apple cider vinegar

2 ounces white rum, optional

5 sprigs mint 

Mineral water

Directions

  1. In a cocktail tin, combine the Mango Vanilla Chili Simple Syrup, apple cider vinegar, rum (if using), mint, and shake. Pour into a tall glass with ice and top with mineral water. 

Drink At Dusk

Ingredients

2 ounces Perfectly Cordial Hibiscus Honeycomb

6 ounces Jamaican ginger beer, such as Reed’s

1 lime wedge

Directions

  1. In a large glass filled with ice, add the Hibiscus Honeycomb syrup, top with ginger beer and squeeze the lime into the mixture. Stir to combine.

Find Perfectly Cordial Syrups and Mixers on the Local Palate Marketplace.

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