Fizz, Pop, Clink!
Congratulations you’re pregnant! Let’s celebrate, oh wait you can’t drink. Don’t worry momma, we won’t let you sit over there with your glass of water, we’ve got you covered. Let me introduce you to the Mocktail, a celebratory drink that has all the fizz and buzz, minus the alcohol. Mocktails were formulated specifically for those who can’t consume alcoholic beverages, or need to refrain from them. These days that doesn’t just mean some orange juice and Sprite. There are some many different varieties of mocktails that your friends will want to steal your mocktail for themselves (ok and maybe add some booze to it).
Hot – Cold – Fizzy – Creamy
Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about all the different varieties of mocktails. Honestly, it will depend on the season. During the winter months, it’s going to be nice to cozy up to a toasty delicious drink, and in the summer, you’ll want to cool off with a refreshing iced or frozen drink. But also think about the herbs and spices that go with the seasons. Herbs definitely will be more prominent in the summer drinks, because of the freshness, whereas spices can be added to the winter drinks.
Let’s start with the bases. Most recipes bases will start with a carbonated beverage (soda, tonic or seltzer water), juice, tea, water (coconut water) or cream. Make sure to read my tips below, on the difference between tonic and seltzer water. From here you will be adding flavor to your drink.
Fruit is usually the next ingredient. Sometimes it will be fresh and you will have to muddle it down, and other times just some fruit juice can be added. Always make sure to save some fruit for the garnish. Garnishes are always important, as they complete the drink. They are like the cherry on top!
Next you have your spices. Again, I think it depends on the season. If you are making a summer savory drink, you are going to want to use spices like celery salt, dill, or pepper. Whereas drinks made in the winter, are going to use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Spices can really boost your drink, so don’t be scared to try new ones, but definitely try a little at a time, so you don’t waste your whole drink.
Sugar is also a main ingredient that is often added to a mocktail. Sugar comes in many different forms, so it’s fun to think about the diverse ways you can use sugar in a mocktail. Each form can be used differently. Let’s start with your typical granulated sugar, that can easily be added to your drink to sweeten it up, or used along the rim of you glass (try mixing with cinnamon on those winter drinks!). Remember Rock Candy? Also, another form of sugar, but can also be used as a fun garnish, and then a stirrer while drinking. Finally, we have syrups. Honey, maple, and molasses are all syrups that can be used in a mocktail, but if you are feeling adventurous, try making your own simple syrup. We’ve already got you started here.
» Never be scared to take a recipe and change it to ingredients that you enjoy more. For instance, regular tonic water is sweetened like soda, and will have ingredients like high fructose corn syrup in it. Where seltzer water will still give you the carbonation, but is not sweetened. If you will be adding a lot of fruit or syrups to the drink, it may be worth buying just seltzer water. But, if you like super sweet, stick with the tonic water, don’t hold back on your cravings.
» Don’t have a muddler? Use a good utensil to smash your fruit, and then using a wooden spoon, strain through a mesh sieve.
» Get more juice out of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, etc.) by microwaving them for about 20-30 seconds, then firmly roll them against on a hard surface before slicing lengthwise and squeezing.
If you are a fan of fresh fruit then summer mocktails will be your jam. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Strawberry Coconut Water Lemonade
- Stir together water and sugar in a mason jar or glass bowl then microwave for 1
- 1/2 minutes. Carefully remove from microwave then stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Refrigerate until completely cool.
- Combine lemon juice and strawberries in a blender and blend until very smooth. Stir in coconut water then simple syrup to taste.
- Refrigerate lemonade until ready to serve.
- Pour into cups with ice and top with sparkling water (optional) just before serving.
Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the blackberries, honey, and mint until very well blended.
- Add the lemon juice and water, cover, and shake to mix.
- Strain the mixture into two glasses with ice.
- Top each glass with 1 cup of seltzer.
- Garnish with blackberries and mint leaves
Non-Alcoholic Winter Sangria
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- On a baking sheet, place sliced oranges, sliced grapefruit and cranberries. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cranberries burst and caramelize a bit.
- Meanwhile, boil pomegranate juice and orange juice. Once boiling, pour over chai tea bag. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.
- Add in caramelized fruit and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Fill a glass half full of the sangria mix and fill the rest of the glass with grapefruit sparkling water.
- Garnish with anise stars, cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries.
Homemade Pear Cider
- Combine the pears, sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, vanilla pod and allspice in a large stock pot and cover with water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cook for 1 hour uncovered. After 1 hour, you can mash some of the pears (they will just fall apart). Cover the pot and simmer for another 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, let the mixture cool slightly.
- Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids.
- Serve hot with cinnamon sticks
- Store in a sealed container or jar in the fridge.
Garnishes and Fancy Cups
Another way to step your mocktail up a notch, is to add some garnish to your drink or use a fancy glass. Again, seasons will play a huge roll with your garnishes. If it’s a fun summer pool party, break out those little umbrellas to add to your drink. They are inexpensive, and make you feel like shaking your hips.
Just like alcoholic drinks come in a certain type of glass, your mocktail should too. Don’t feel bad about making your drink look exciting, by finding a fun glass to drink out of. Even personalizing your glass will make it more fun to drink out of.
Mocktails may be fun to make at home, but more and more they are also showing up on Drink Menus at restaurants. There are usually about five seasonal mocktail drinks listed, but if you aren’t feeling any of them, feel free to ask your server if the bartender can put something together for you. Bartenders have a lot of experience and will often be able to suggest something for you. Some of my best drinks have come from bartender suggestions.
Now that we know mocktails are popular alternatives to alcoholic drinks and allow everyone to enjoy the spirit of a celebratory occasion in a responsible manner, I bet you will start to notice they are everywhere. And, possibly start thinking of your own concoctions to make at home. So, here’s to you, and your new journey with a mocktail in your hand.