Summer Mocktails

From Mark's Daily Apple.

If it’s Saturday night and you want to kick back and relax without alcohol, but want something more celebratory than sparkling water, a Primal Mocktail is what you need. Primal Mocktails are non-alcoholic, low in sugar, refreshing, and fun to drink, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out when a pitcher of margaritas is passed around.

The real challenge when crafting a mocktail is keeping the sugar content in check. Look up a few recipes for non-alcoholic beverages and you’ll find a lot of fruit juice, a lot of melons and tropical fruit, and sweeteners like simple syrup and agave nectar. The three recipes below don’t rely on sugar for flavor. Instead, these Primal mocktails are made with intriguing flavor combinations, like cucumber and chamomile, ginger, cloves & lime, and fresh berries with apple cider vinegar and mint.

Because these drinks are a whole lot more than just sparkling water with a twist of lemon, they do require a little prep time. Plan ahead, so when Saturday night rolls around your drink mixers will be chilling in the fridge waiting for the party to start.

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Cucumber Chamomile Cooler

Servings: 4

This mocktail is fantastic on a hot summer evening and with brunch on Sunday. The combination of cucumber and chamomile is super refreshing and sends your body into instant relaxation mode.

Ingredients:

  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled chamomile tea (350 ml)
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges (optional)

Instructions:

Fill a blender with the cucumbers and chamomile tea. Blend on high until the cucumber is pureed. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pushing down on the solids to release as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

Serve the cucumber juice very chilled, over ice (extra points if you make another batch of chamomile tea and freeze it into ice cubes). Add a squeeze of orange if you like.

Spiced Ginger Fizz

Servings: 8 drinks

A non-alcoholic, low sugar version of a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, this recipe uses a blend of spices to imitate the sweet, spiced flavor of dark rum. The ginger brew will keep for a week in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. ginger, peeled, chopped (113 g)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (15 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice (2.5 ml)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • Seltzer water

Instructions:

In a food processor, pulse ginger into a chunky paste. Bring ginger, honey, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick and 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes. Strain into a glass jar. Let cool.

For each drink, mix 2 tablespoons/30 ml ginger brew with with 1 tablespoon/15 ml lime juice Serve over ice and top with seltzer water.

Tart and Tangy Berry Mocktail

Servings: 6 drinks

A simplified, lower sugar version of a “shrub” – an old-fashioned drink with a sweet and tangy infusion of fruit, vinegar and sugar. This recipe uses strawberries, but you can experiment with other berries as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups/10 ounces very ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar (120 ml)
  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • Seltzer water

Instructions:

Combine the berries and vinegar in a shallow dish, so the berries are mostly covered with the vinegar. Squeeze and break up the berries with your hands, mashing them up and releasing juice. Cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring and mashing with a fork once or twice.

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to release the liquid. Discard the solids.

Put a couple mint leaves in the bottom of a glass. Add a few slices of strawberry and use a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon to press down gently on the berries and leaves, twisting the muddler to tear apart the leaves a little bit.

Add ice, 2 tablespoons/15 ml of the flavored vinegar and top with seltzer water.