Reduced alcohol drinks #1 – Toy Scooper.

Toy Scooper.

Low booze booze.

It’s hard work being a cocktail blogger. A lot of experimentation and fine tuning is involved and while a true professional would cast his failures down the drain my inner Scotsman seems to deny me this option. The sacrifices I make for you guys… All of this leads to an alcohol consumption that is somewhat over the government sanctioned units-per-week line. The fact that neither my country of origin nor my country of residence actually possess a functional government would seem invalidate those limits for the time being. This lack of guidelines may have lead me to get a bit carried away recently so perhaps it’s time to explore the world of low proof cocktails.

As anyone who has tried to make an orange juice Old Fashioned will attest, it is a difficult task to make a satisfying sipping drink without the use of the spirit component. Perhaps there is a distant corner of our brain that realises that alcohol is a potentially dangerous substance to ingest and forces us to slow down and savour it in small doses. Or perhaps it is something to do with the physical properties of ethanol itself. If there are any biochemists reading this please feel free to chip in. At any rate there is little available to us to emulate the body, mouth-feel and sating properties of our usual base spirits. Some cocktailiens have attempted to reduce the potency of cocktails by using lower ABV ingredients such as wine, port and vermouth as base ingredients with, in my opinion, mixed success.

Always on the lookout for mixable liquids I’ve been messing with one of the latest raft of health fad products – coconut water. It’s peculiar stuff – kind of sweet and salty at the same time without really being either. And it has an interesting silky texture that you could almost call body. I wonder. So I tried replacing half of the rum in a classic Daiquiri (much of my experimentation starts with a Daiquiri). Now it’s not often this happens but the first experiment was bang on – the low-octane Daiquiri was great. You’d hardly know you were drinking a paltry 12ml* of ethanol and you even get some more complex notes from the coconut water as a bonus. While more experimentation is needed (can we use coconut water in place of other spirits?) I think this first one is good enough to present here.

So what will I call this? A loooooong time ago I worked with a guy who divided all of humanity into those who drank a lot (approved of) whom he called “top scoopers” and those who didn’t (looked down upon), the “toy scoopers”. Aha.

And, of course, all the top scoopers can now have twice as many…


Toy Scooper.

1oz white rum (such as Havana Club 3 Añjos or Plantation 3 Stars).

1oz coconut water (as close to 100% as possible, no added sugar or flavourings).

0.75oz fresh lime juice.

0.5oz sugar syrup (1:1) adjusted to taste.

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

Toast all the “toy scoopers” in the world.


Make teetotal guests a Nada Scooper by replacing all the rum with coconut water but don’t invite them back. Although, to be honest, even that is pretty damn tasty.

*less than half a pint of 5%ABV beer.

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