Altar's Herbal Martinis - Drink Trends

A sophisticated catchall beverage

Altar, a new line of beverages, may not offer spiritual transcendence.

But it does bring depth to our liquid repertoire in a way we never would've expected from a product that categorizes itself as an "herbal martini."

Created by a tea expert who helped launch Yogi Tea, the beverages ($20 for 750 ml) are blends of tea, fruit and vegetable juices, spices and botanicals that are equally suited to the cocktail bar and the gym.

In one iteration, called Bliss, grape juice, chamomile, lemon balm and elderflower combine into an acidic elixir that is the mature cousin of an Arnold Palmer. Another version plays plum juice against the savory notes of fennel.

The most compelling of the bottlings is Chi, a cherry-juice-based liquid spiked with kola nut and green tea. It combines the tannic richness of red wine with a thin hint of Coca-Cola. At Post & Beam in Los Angeles, chef Govind Armstrong reduces the beverage to complement steak. But we've been going a simpler route by simply mixing the drink with rum.

Come summer, the line will expand with Restore, a mixture of clarified tomato juice, tomatillo juice, cucumber juice, white tea and white Worcestershire.

Healthful Bloody Marys, anyone?