Tis the season for overindulgence, but whether you're the designated driver, a nondrinker or simply mindful of getting too tipsy at a work function, this custom virgin cocktail by bartender Turk Dietrich of Cure (4905 Freret St., 302-2357; www.curenola.com) keeps the celebratory spirit intact while foregoing the actual spirits. It also packs a nutritional punch, with an ounce of lemon juice delivering vitamins C and B and trace amounts of potassium. Sage infuses the cocktail with flavor and is high in vitamins C, E and K, and the ginger in ginger beer eases indigestion.


  Healthy cocktails are a natural fit for Cure, which co-owners Matthew Kohnke and Neal Bodenheimer originally envisioned as a "constructive space" fit for professional or social gatherings. The nonsmoking bar is situated underneath a yoga studio and regularly hosts community events like coat drives and blogger meet-ups. "We really wanted to make a positive change and do a very constructive space," Bodenheimer says. "How else could we put a yoga studio above our bar?"

The Fifth Column

Serves one

• 4 sage leaves

• 1 cucumber slice (about 1/4 inch thick)

• 1 oz. fresh lemon juice

• 1.5 oz. homemade simple syrup*

• 3 oz. soda water

• ginger beer (enough to top off the drink)

  Muddle the cucumber in a shaker tin. Add four sage leaves and very lightly muddle for just a few seconds. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake hard for five seconds. Double strain the ingredients into a Collins glass filled with ice. Add three ounces of soda and top with ginger beer. Garnish rim of glass with a cucumber slice.

• Homemade simple syrup

• 1 cup granulated cane sugar

• 1 cup water

Stir or shake ingredients until the sugar is completely diluted.

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