We’ve had a request to talk about and create recipes for Mocktails from a friend in Denver. My initial thought was, well who the hell would want a beverage that’s supposed to have alcohol in it that doesn’t? Well, this girl, for one. During those delightfully wonderful 9 months when I can’t drink, am getting fat, am constantly uncomfortable, and extremely emotionally unstable. Yes, that was stated with sarcasm. And no, I’ve never been pregnant.
There are many reasons to have a few mocktail recipes packed away. While there are many good reasons, here are six I can think of off the top of my head:
1. You’re on a diet.
2. You need to stay sober. (You don’t want to make a fool of yourself at the company Christmas party like you did last year.)
3. You want to accommodate a family member or friend that doesn’t drink.
3. You’re pregnant, and want to trick your brain into thinking that you’re not being left out of the fun. (I hate being left out. It reminds me of middle school. And high school for that matter. What can I say? I have a complex. (Working on that.))
4. You have an alcohol allergy. (I’m deeply empathetic.)
5. You don’t drink alcohol.
6. Your husband has had too much to drink, so you (lovingly) trick him into thinking he’s drinking the full alcohol version. Ok, maybe don’t do that. Scratch that one.
So, now that we’ve lined those out, let’s talk about some recipes.
Building a mocktail is just like building a cocktail. Just about any drink recipe you have can be made into a mocktail by leaving out the alcohol. This doesn’t work with things like martinis though. A virgin martini is an olive in a glass. Be sure to serve the drinks as you would if they were alcoholic. That means the garnish of lime on the rim, and the straws and little umbrellas are a must.
Traditionally, this ought to be served in a copper cup, but any glass works just fine.
½ ounce lime juice (About half a lime)
6 ounces Ginger Beer (A high quality ginger ale works, also. You want something with a powerful ginger flavor, and not overly sweet)
2 drops bitters
Pour all the ingredients over ice and stir gently as not to destroy the carbonation. I really hate that. Serve with a garnish of lime.
3 Ounces Pomegranate Juice (Pom brand works best)
6 Ounces Seltzer Water or Club Soda
1 Lime Wedge
Pour the juice over ice in a glass. Squeeze the lime wedge and toss it in the glass as well. Top off with the soda water. Give a gentle stir. This drink is best enjoyed with a straw.
12 or so fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
Half a lime, quartered
Seltzer water or club soda
In a glass (I always use a pint glass) combine the mint leaves and sugar. Now we muddle. Using your muddler (You need one of these. You can pick them up at just about any liquor store.) crush the sugar and mint leaves. You are using the sugar as an abrasive to help grind up the mint. Once the mint is sufficiently muddled, add the four lime pieces. Use your muddler to squeeze the juice out, and get some of the oils from the skin. Now top the green mess with ice. Top the ice with soda water, and give a gentle stir. What? I like carbonation. It’s the best part. Serve with a straw, a lime wedge on the side, and a fun umbrella if you have one.
And there’s always the ever-popular “virgin cuba libre”.
I may just have to have a mocktail or two while Jeff and I decorate our Christmas tree tonight. ‘Tis the season to be festive, but you don’t need to add extra pounds to make it worthwhile. Til next week SPFers, stay healthy and happy!
Crystal is the founder of Simply Playful Fare. She has been in the kitchen for as long as she can remember. She has a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing.