Friday, June 2, 2017

Elegant Mocktail Recipes

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I love experimenting with (and sharing) new cocktail recipes. But it can be surprisingly fun to come up with interesting and different non-alcoholic drinks. Mocktails can be just as elegant and fun and cocktails - with the added benefit that they're often much lower-calorie and you never have to worry about how to get home after the party OR having a hangover the next morning, no matter how many of them you enjoy. Here are a few that don't require lots of exotic ingredients but still leave you feeling pampered and refreshed.

French 75 Mocktail
A French 75 cocktail is gin, lemon juice, and sugar, topped with champagne. To make a French 75 mocktail, add about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and two dashes of orange bitters to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake until well chilled and pour into a champagne flute. Top with tonic water and garnish with a rock candy swizzle stick. If you don't want or don't have the swizzle stick, add a teaspoon of confectioners sugar to the shaker.

Moscow Mule Mocktail
A Moscow Mule is an easy choice for a mocktail, because its source of alcohol is vodka, which provides very little flavor. The taste comes from the ginger beer, lime juice, and sometimes mint leaves. For the non-alcoholic version, muddle a few mint leaves with some crushed ice and a splash of simple syrup in a tall glass (or even better, a traditional copper mug), then add a splash of apple juice (concentrate, if you have it, or just juice) and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a wedge of lime or a few mint leaves.

Mock Cosmopolitan
One of my favorite summer cocktails is a Cosmo - cranberry and lime with just a hint of sweetness. There are several easy ways to put together a mocktail version. If you want to get fancy (or if you plan to make this drink often), you can chop up some cranberries and boil them with water and sugar to make cranberry syrup. But it's just as easy to use plain cranberry juice and either simple syrup or confectioners sugar. Adding a little carbonation always makes a mocktail more festive, so I like to put the sweetened cranberry juice in a glass with ice and top it with either lime seltzer or plain seltzer and a squeeze of lime juice. Top with a few cranberries and/or a wedge of lime and you're good to go!

Mock Sangria
I'm not a big sangria fan, but it's such a go-to summer drink, especially at parties (since it's best mixed up ahead in a large batch) that I wanted to include a non-alcoholic version here. This recipe makes 10 servings. Combine 4 cups of white grape juice with 1/4 cup blueberries in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add one cup of orange juice and the juice of one lime. Fill a large jar or pitcher with ice and pour mixture into it, then add 3/4 cup blueberries and 2-3 cups of chopped fruit (oranges, apples, peaches, bananas, etc.). Let stand in refrigerator for several hours before drinking. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add some simple syrup or confectioners sugar.

Shirley Temple OR Roy Rogers
 
These classic kids' mocktails are simple and elegant: Rim a tall glass with colored sugar; add ice and 4 tablespoons grenadine, then top with ginger ale (for a Shirley Temple) or cola (for a Roy Rogers) and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Cranberry Shrub
When I was a kid, our family's "fancy" restaurant of choice served all diners a pre-dinner mocktail called a Cranberry Shrub. It was simply cranberry juice with a good splash of seltzer, topped with a small scoop of lime sherbet. It's still one of my favorite mocktails.

Mock Mojito
Fresh mint leaves are the key to both the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic version of the mojito. In a tall glass, muddle a couple of lime wedges and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Add crushed ice and top with Sprite (or club soda and a splash of simple syrup). Garnish with mint leaves and a wedge of lime.

Ginger Lime Fizz
Another ginger beer-based mocktail, this refreshing drink is simply ginger beer with a generous splash of seltzer and a tablespoon of lime juice added. Garnish with a lime wedge or a slice of ginger for extra zing.

Ginger Basil Limeade
This recipe is a bit more involved than most on this list, but it's worth it! Zest a lime until you have about 1 teaspoon of zest, then juice the lime and set juice aside. Peel a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger and cut into chunks. In a blender, combine the ginger, lime juice and zest, 1/4 cup water, 2 teaspoons of sugar (or simple syrup), and 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves. Blend until smooth. Dilute this concentrate with 8 cups of water and chill. Serve garnished with fresh basil and a salted rim.


Salud!


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