Psychedelic Backyard

Verjus plays a critical role in this pleasantly tart non-alcoholic cocktail from John deBary.

Psychedelic Backyard

Matt Taylor-Gross

Prep Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

If you aren't using verjus to upgrade your non-alcoholic cocktail game, you've been missing out. Made by pressing unripe wine grapes that are harvested early in the growing season, verjus is one of our favorite ingredients for marinades and deglazing, but it's also a delightfully acidic addition to mixed drinks. In the Psychedelic Backyard, a non-alcoholic cocktail recipe from mixologist and author John deBary, it plays an especially critical role in balancing the sweetness of a fresh banana slice and the spicy notes of jalapeño to create a well-rounded drink that feels just as appropriate for serving at brunch as it does for batching to bring along to a park day.

When making the raspberry syrup for this cocktail, be sure to use fresh raspberries instead of frozen, which will release extra, unwanted moisture and upset the balance of your syrup. While this recipe calls for a coarse salt rim, you can also experiment with creative additions like Margarita salt and flavored sugars. Just know that the garnish you choose will ultimately impact the overall flavor profile of the drink, as you'll get a little bit of it with every sip you take.


Raspberry Syrup

  • 4 ounces water

  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Psychedelic Backyard

  • 1 lime wedge

  • 1 (1-inch thick) jalapeño pepper slice

  • 1 (1-inch thick) banana slice

  • 1 1/2 ounce verjus

  • 1 ounce raspberry syrup

  • 1 ounce lime juice

  • 1 ounce ice

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (for garnish)


Make the raspberry syrup

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water with superfine sugar and raspberries. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, smashing the raspberries with a wooden spoon or spatula.

  2. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.

  3. Strain syrup into a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Make the Psychedelic Backyard

  1. To rim your coupe glass, moisten outer rim with a lime wedge and coat lightly with coarse salt.

  2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the jalapeño. Add banana, verjus, Raspberry Syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice.

  3. Fill cocktail shaker with ice and shake well, until frosted on the outside. Strain into the rimmed coupe glass.

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