Maureen Petrosky is a popular lifestyle and entertainment expert who has established an enviable career as an author, television personality, professional chef and food stylist. Her first 2 books, “The Wine Club” and “The Cocktail Club” were written to promote regular monthly gatherings with friends, highlighting a specific wine or cocktail tasting each month along with suggested food pairings. Both books inspired readers to start successful wine and cocktail clubs in the local area – some of which are still going strong after 10 years!
Now, Maureen is venturing into the trendy world of spirit-free beverages, with her latest book, Zero Proof Drinks & More. The book is a compilation of alcohol-free and low alcohol cocktail recipes for those who want to enjoy a night out with fewer headaches, fewer calories, and fewer regrets the next day. This the second book that Maureen has written from her Bucks County home, but in true pandemic fashion, it is the first to be completely photographed and edited from her home (yes, Maureen is one of those people who actually did write a book while in quarantine!).
Zero Proof includes 100 delicious and creative craft recipes for all seasons, organized by occasion. The recipes are clever, easy to follow, and made with alluring ingredients and flavors derived from fresh fruit, homemade syrups, juices, herbs and shrubs. Some are completely unique like her Sparkling Lychee Mint Smash and Yuzu Mar-Tea-Ni, while others are a twist on old favorites, like the Grilled Pineapple Mojito and Mango Mule. These are not the sugary sweet “mocktails” you might find at your local chain restaurant, but complex, flavorful drinks that are just as satisfying as a full proof cocktail. For those of us not willing to jump on the bandwagon completely (especially during a pandemic!), there is also a fantastic collection of Low-ABV (low alcohol by volume) cocktail recipes.
We asked Maureen to give us a sneak peek into Zero Proof Drinks & More which was recently released on Amazon and in bookstores across the country:
What was your inspiration for writing Zero Proof?
So many of my friends have completely given up alcohol in recent years. Whether it's for health reasons or they are working out more, or they just want a good night’s sleep. I love hosting and entertaining so I organically just began creating delicious and easy to make zero proof drinks for my guests.
What makes this book unique? This is the only book that has both no and low alcohol options (low ABV). In addition, my recipes are clean, not sugar laden mocktails people are used to. These are complex, nuanced sips that anyone can make using ingredients from their own kitchen. I’ve also included some surprises that even seasoned cocktail writers and bartenders will enjoy.
How did you curate your recipes? I thought about occasions first because I am a host at heart. What would I want to serve or sip at brunch, or at a picnic? Which pours are perfect for happy hour? I start by showing you how to build your Zero Proof bar, then move on to recipes for Syrups and Shrubs - which are great building blocks for any cocktails, not just Zero Proof pours. Then I organized the recipes by categories: Aperitifs and Spritzes, Day Drinks, Happy Hour, Punches and Pitcher Drinks, and finally, Low ABV (a.k.a. session) Cocktails.
What are some misconceptions about non-alcoholic beverages? That they’re all sweet and loaded with calories. Every recipe I put on these pages, is balanced. Some may be a tad sweeter than others, but they all are balanced and delicious.
How does one become an entertainment expert and more importantly, a cocktail guru?!
My mom taught me how to see and celebrate the special parts of every day. She made our home beautiful and welcoming and I just take after her. After graduating from Villanova, I attended The Culinary Institute of America. I went on to get my Sommelier Certification and worked on the line in restaurants and waited my fair share of tables. I eventually began to look for more creative outlets and found myself in TV at the Food Network. I've been on set or in a kitchen with every celebrity chef out there and I've spent decades in TV food production and editorial- both as a producer and as the featured talent. I like all the parts - the food, the drinks and the décor - you need all the know-how in all departments for it to work.
Zero Proof drinks were a natural organic venture (or adventure) for me. It's a culmination of every experience I've found or created. Being an "expert" is all about experience- so that title is not something I have, it's something I work to keep- every single waking moment. Lucky for me, I love what I do!
Makes 2 drinks
*2/3 cup (150 mL) orange seltzer water
*1/2 cup (125 mL) cranberry juice
*2 oz (60 mL) orange juice, without pulp
*2 oz (60 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
*2 lime wedges
1. In a freezer safe container, combine seltzer water, cranberry juice, orange juice and lime juice, stirring well. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour, until slushy but not fully frozen
2. Remove from freezer and stir with a fork
3. Using a spoon, scoop into glasses
4. Place 1 wedge of lime on the rim of each glass for garnish
(Recipe courtesy of ZERO PROOF drinks & more 100 Recipes for Mocktails & Low-Alcohol Cocktails by Maureen Petrosky. copyright 2021 www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with permission)
Maureen Petrosky appears regularly as an Entertaining & Lifestyle Expert on NBC’s TODAY show and is a host for Local Now. She is also a popular columnist for today.com and thekitchn.com. She lives in Bucks County with her husband Michael and twins Christopher and Elliot.