Shift Drink


How to make this tart, warming non-alcoholic cocktail from NYC's The Noortwyck.

Shift Drink Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

Total Time:
30 mins

The first time I walked into The Noortwyck in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, I felt a general sense of calm. Maybe it had something to do with the caramel-colored velvet banquettes (my favorite kind of restaurant seating), or maybe it was just 5:30 PM on an especially chaotic work day, and I knew that I was mere minutes away from a plateful of oysters and a drink.

It's not often that I'll opt for a non-alcoholic cocktail on a whim, but I couldn't resist ordering the Shift Drink, a combination of freshly squeezed grapefruit and lemon juices, an intensely fragrant spiced honey syrup, ginger beer, and one of my favorite non-alcoholic spirits, Amass Riverine. If you're unfamiliar, Morgan McLachlan (one of Food & Wine's 2022 Drinks Innovators of the Year), is the master distiller of Amass and creates pure magic with botanicals like wildflowers, rose, and ginger. Riverine is inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and it's one of my favorite NA spirits to sip over ice with a twist.

The Shift Drink, from Noortwyck head bartender Ali Brailey, does call for a special syrup that you'll need to make in advance and cool for twenty minutes or so, but hear me out: This is a syrup worth making. I've added it to regular maple syrup for pancakes, drizzled it on top of cornbread and ice cream (don't knock it before you've tried it), and found it to be an especially versatile ingredient for other NA cocktails.


Spiced Honey Syrup

  • 14 ounces honey

  • 5 ounces water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cloves

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns

Shift Drink

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice

  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice

  • 1 cup honey syrup

  • 1 ounce Amass Riverine

  • 1 1/2 ounces ginger beer


Make the spiced honey syrup

  1. Heat cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cardamom in a small skillet over low, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add honey and water and bring the heat to medium-high until the syrup starts to simmer. Lower heat slightly and stir occasionally for about 15 to 20 minutes. 

  3. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool before straining out spices. 

Make the Shift Drink

  1. Combine lemon juice, grapefruit juice, spiced honey syrup, and Amass Riverine into a cocktail shaker.

  2. Add a few pieces of pebble ice and "whip shake" (a quick hard shake to completely dissolve ice solids) then dump the contents into a large glass

  3. Add ginger beer then top with pebble ice. Add a straw and garnish with two lemon wheels.

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